Airline strike leaves thousands stranded

By Mark Meredith - bio | email

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Thousands of passengers across the country are trying to make alternative travel reservations after discount carrier Spirit Airlines canceled all of its flights due to a pilots strike.

The strike took effect early Saturday morning, just as many travelers began heading to the airport.

"You try to find something funny in it right now, but I'm just trying to get home," Stephen Raickett said.

Raickett is a comedian to fly to Atlanta.

"There is nothing you can do, you just have to try and find another way out" Raickett said.

The airline is offering passengers full refund for the flights canceled and a $100 travel voucher for future Spirit flights. However, Spirit is not booking passengers on other carriers and that is forcing several passengers to look to other airlines, with higher fares.

"I wish they would have handled it a little bit better," Helene Hahn, a New York bound passenger said.  "We could have had a little more notification especially the poor people got canceled yesterday that knew nothing."

The pilots are asking for an increase in their pay and the airline said on their web site that both sides have been unable to come with an agreement.  Spirit Airlines has canceled all flights until at least Wednesday.

The strike comes at time a time when the Myrtle Beach International Airport had a record breaking May with 94,500 passengers.

Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce President Brad Dean says it is too early tell how big of an impact this will have on Myrtle Beach.

Dean says with the loss of an affordable flight, the question becomes will visitors use another airline or drive to the city?  If not, they may choose to vacation elsewhere.

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