STUART, Fla. — A business owner contacted WPTV after he said it took him 19 hours to get to Las Vegas on a Spirit Airlines flight after multiple delays and an unplanned stop in Phoenix.
Fred Simon has been running his business, International Industrial Development Associates, for decades.
"We sell a lot of products throughout the United States to most retailers," Simon told Contact 5.
His business requires a lot of traveling and Simon told Contact 5 that one of his latest trips was a nightmare.
"A lot of this could have been avoided by just doing the right thing for the customer," he said.
Simon was traveling from Fort Lauderdale to Las Vegas on Spirit Airlines in late January.
"It took us 19 hours. It should have taken us six or seven hours, at the most eight hours, figuring connections," Simon said. "When we got to Houston, the plane was delayed and then when we finally took off and got to Las Vegas. We had to circle Las Vegas because they said it was ground traffic. Then, he had to take the plane and fly to Phoenix, Arizona, to refuel, and then he lets people off the plane."
Simon said they arrived in Las Vegas seven hours late, and then on the way back to Florida, they missed their connecting flight because of delays and an early departure. He said they were stuck in Houston for nine hours.
"They don't wait for us. Instead, they leave early," Simon said. "Then, they say they're going to give us a $50 credit for the next flight, but we have to use it by March."
WPTV contacted Spirit Airlines on Monday and again on Tuesday. So far, they have not responded to our requests for comment.
This comes shortly after Southwest Airlines canceled thousands of flights in December, leaving some passengers stranded for days with unplanned expenses.
This prompted travel experts, like Megan Walsh with InsureMyTrip.com, to encourage frequent flyers to purchase travel insurance.
"That covers you from, you know, when you're leaving to when you return home and, you know, all the stuff in between," Walsh said in December.
According to data from FamilyDestinationsGuide.com, within the first six months of 2022, 24% of U.S. flights were delayed. Because of this, 53% of Floridians said they're more likely to travel to their destinations on the road instead of in the sky.
On top of that, 65% said they don't believe the U.S. Department of Transportation is doing enough to help travelers.
"This was, of all the years of flying, probably one of the worst trips," Simon said.
According to DOT, currently, there are no federal laws requiring airlines to compensate travelers when their flight is delayed.
"Right now, I recommend nobody fly Spirit, especially if you're going to go to Las Vegas," Simon said.