Spirit Airlines continues to take a nosedive as it cancels most of its flights nationwide; 22 flights were canceled from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport alone since Sunday.
The Florida-based carrier stumbled through the beginning of the week, canceling half of its schedule on Tuesday due to glitches in staff scheduling technology and infrastructure issues spurred on by weather-related concerns. Cancellation woes continued into Wednesday, with 418 flights (60%) of their schedule canceled by 1 p.m.
Hard to see how #spiritairlines survives after this weekend. My boyfriend and I only got a small taste of the chaos in Orlando and Houston. I feel for the thousands of other passengers who are having a worse experience. pic.twitter.com/QKrOGsuULD
— Alicia Pryor (@PryorAlicia) August 2, 2021
Only one flight out of the six arrivals and six departures scheduled at ABIA will still arrive according to plan on Wednesday, ABIA Public Information Officer Bryce Dubee told Austonia.
"Spirit has had some ongoing operational issues and has seen a significant number of cancellations," Dubee said. "For them, it is significant."
The airline was joined by American Airlines with high cancellations rates. AA scrapped 300 flights by early afternoon Tuesday, but the high number only accounts for 9% of its schedule. By Wednesday afternoon, only 3% of flights were taken off the schedule.
Dubee said that American Airlines had only canceled one arrival to ABIA since Sunday and that the issues "don't seem to be ongoing." American Airlines said that at least three-fourths of cancellations were due, at least in part, to a lack of pilots, while others, namely at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, were weather-related.
Meanwhile, Spirit said in a statement that they would see cancellations start dropping on Thursday.
The airline, which saw 20% of its schedule canceled Sunday and 42% Monday, said that "overlapping operational challenges including weather, system outages and staffing shortages" caused issues in crew scheduling. Some of the cancellations were made proactively as they fought to reset the sinking ship.
The issue was exacerbated by peak summer travel crowds. While airports are seeing 80% of pre-pandemic peak travel levels, many airline and airport companies have significantly fewer on staff. Spirit's pilot union said in a tweet that staffing strikes were not the cause for the week's cancellations.
Spirit Airlines has recently been experiencing a series of operational struggles. These issues are not due to a pilot strike. Any such rumor or report is completely false. (1/2)
— Spirit ALPA MEC (@SpiritMEC_ALPA) August 2, 2021
Unlike other standard airlines, the "ultra-low-cost-carrier" doesn't have agreements when cancellations occur, meaning travelers can be left stranded. While Dubee said the cancellations have not caused anything more than general frustration for customers at ABIA, unconfirmed reports of riots in Puerto Rico and Florida rose to the surface in the wake of the cancellations.
When #spiritairlines leaves you stranded in Puerto Rico with no employees in sight and holds your luggage and money hostage.
We were stuck overnight with no clothes or essentials for our 3 or 1 year olds and are still without answers and searching for flights #Spirit #useless pic.twitter.com/jzKqf9Yuhn
— Tito Arias (@2touchTito) August 2, 2021
Spirit said that lines have already begun to decrease substantially as they work to make amends—including providing refunds and helping process meal and hotel vouchers—and reboot the network. The carrier also pointed out that they held the lowest percentage of cancellations in 2020 and would soon be able to bounce back from the meltdown.
In the meantime, Dubee said its best for Spirit customers traveling through ABIA to check with the airline itself for more assistance, refunds and cancellation information.
- signs of normalcy slowly returning to Austin airport - austonia ›
- Austin airport traffic is still way down from last year - austonia ›
- Lines stretch across airport after bomb threat clears - austonia ›
- Allegiant announces $75M Austin airport base - austonia ›
- Austin Bergstrom brings live music back to its terminal - austonia ›
- Austin-Bergstrom International Airport sees high traffic - austonia ›
- Austin airport sees busiest travel week since the pandemic - austonia ›
- Austin airport sees 1M passengers for first time since COVID - austonia ›
- Austin airport will close South Terminal as part of expansion - austonia ›
- Southwest Airlines adds 9 nonstop flights to Austin airport - austonia ›
After months of speculation, a new report says political personality Beto O'Rourke is mulling a run for Texas governor that he will announce later this year.
Sources tell Axios the former congressman is preparing his campaign for the 2022 election, where he will likely vie for the position against incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott. The only other candidate that has announced he will take on Abbott for governor is former Texas GOP Chairman Allen West—no Democrats have announced they are running as of yet.
"No decision has been made," Axios reports David Wysong, O'Rourke's former House chief of staff and a longtime adviser, said. "He has been making and receiving calls with people from all over the state."
A new poll from The Dallas Morning News and University of Texas at Tyler shows O'Rourke is narrowing the gap between himself and Abbott's prospects for governor. In the poll, 37% said they'd vote for O'Rourke over Abbott, while 42% said they'd vote for Abbott.
Abbott has been in the hot seat due to his handling of COVID-19 and the signing of landmark legislation into law, including new abortion and voting rights laws; 54% of poll respondents voted they think the state is headed in the "wrong direction." Still, Texas hasn't had a Democrat as governor since the 90s.
O'Rourke's people-focused approach to the 2018 Senator race, which he lost to Sen. Ted Cruz, gave him a widespread following and many hoped he'd throw his hat into the ring since he said he was considering it earlier this year.
"We hope that he's going to run," Gilberto Hinojosa, the state chair of the Democratic Party, told Axios. "We think he'll be our strongest candidate. We think he can beat Abbott because he's vulnerable."
Austin rapper Jordi Esparza may not have won the 2021 Red Bull Batalla, the world's largest Spanish freestyle rap competition, but for a spirited two rounds, the 22-year old Mexican native looked like he had every right to.
On Saturday evening in Los Angeles, the event itself looked like Cobra Kai meets Star Search with graphics adding a very Batman Beyond aesthetic. Over a dozen rappers hoping to represent the U.S. in the international round of the competition took to the stage with in-your-face jabs at accents, sexual orientation and odors, among other things.
This was Esparza's second rodeo; he had placed third at the 2020 National Finals, automatically securing him a spot this year.
However, things were different this year. He was not nervous about the contest. Unlike in 2020, when he made his Red Bull Batalla debut, the anxiety of the event led him to "feeling so bad."
Affecting a casual calm, the locally-based landscaper said he just felt "so relaxed, so happy" and primarily wanted to "enjoy everything."
Choosing his first-round opponent, Esparza, whose stage name is Jordi, elected to go against LA-based Boss.
Esparza freestyled an attack on his opponent's weight and cholo style of dress.
Boss—bracketing his Latin freestyle with English appeals to the crowd—mocked Jordi's lack of education, made fun of how clean Jordi's shoes looked and suggested that Jordi just came back from a Footlocker.
That first round went to Jordi.
But his next opponent Eckonn would prove to be his undoing.
Eckonn compared Jordi to Hannah Montana, while Jordi soulfully explained that he had learned from the best.
Esparza's verbal dexterity is matched by a rattling rhythm and a game face that is as mawkish as it is mockish. The overall effect is that of an underdog with bite.
Eckonn beat Esparza in that round with the overall championship going to Palm Beach-based rapper Reverse.
However, Esparza was just happy to be there. He recently told Austonia going to the finals again was a dream come true—a pinnacle that he said he won't know how to top.
With his nimble jabs and sneaky prowess, honed from pop culture and the swagger of a young working man hungry to be more, Jordi Esparza is just getting started.