Spirit Airlines crew were asked to change out of their uniforms for their safety to avoid angry passengers, report says

Spirit Airlines
Passengers wait in line at the Spirit Airlines check-in counter at Orlando International Airport on the sixth day the airline has cancelled hundreds of flights, on August 6, 2021.
  • A Spirit Airlines crew had to be escorted to safety after facing angry travelers earlier this month, The New York Times reported.
  • An unnamed crew member said they were asked to change their uniforms to conceal who they worked for.
  • Spirit Airlines caused an uproar earlier this month after canceling hundreds of flights.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

More than 30 Spirit Airlines employees were asked to change out of their uniforms for safety reasons after travelers became infuriated by flight cancellations earlier this month, according to a report by The New York Times.

An unnamed 28-year-old flight attendant told the Times that police officers at San Juan Airport in Puerto Rico rounded up at least 35 crew members to hide them after travelers started banging on a gate door and yelling at staff.

The crew member said they were rushed behind a secure metal door and ushered to an office on the tarmac, where a manager reportedly asked everyone to change out of their uniforms for their own safety.

Read more: I flew on 6 US airlines during the pandemic from the largest to the cheapest and found paying more doesn't guarantee a better, safer flight

"We were scared," the attendant told the Times. "I've seen some crazy stuff, but this moved into number one."

Insider has reached out to Spirit Airlines for further comment.

The low-cost airlines caused an uproar earlier this month after canceling thousands of flights due to a combination of staffing shortages, bad weather, and technology problems.

The melt-down left thousands of angry passengers stranded at airports in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Houston, and San Juan in Puerto Rico.

Ted Christie, Spirit's CEO, previously apologized for the cancellations on CNBC and promised to fix the airline's staffing and scheduling issues. Spirit canceled nearly 2,500 flights between August 1 and 15, according to the Times.

"There's definitely some angry people," Christie told CNBC. "Right now, all I can say is we're very sorry for what happened."

Flight attendants across the country are grappling with the rise in passenger aggression and violence over the last few months.

Since January 2021, the Federal Aviation Administration has received 2,500 reports of unruly behavior by passengers, most of which involve travelers refusing to comply with the federal mask mandate.

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