LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Michael Hawkins walked through Harry Reid International Airport Tuesday recording the throngs of weary travelers waiting for the flight that should have carried them and him to Nashville Tennessee hours earlier.
That Tuesday flight with Spirit was his second attempt to leave Las Vegas after Spirit canceled his Sunday flight out after several delays.
"We at least got our flight rebooked to what should be today," Hawkins said. "I should be actually not even talking to you. I should be in the air ready to land in Nashville in some warmer weather."
Hours later, Spirit canceled his second flight as well.
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Hawkins said he decided to give up on flying with Spirit and, instead, spent an extra $760 on a flight home through Southwest after paying out of pocket for extra hotel stays.
"It's frustrating because I speak highly of the airline," he said, "and I haven't had any issues with them at this point."
Airlines across the country have been having issues with delays and cancellations over the holiday season with more potentially on the horizon as roughly 300,000 people are expected to visit Las Vegas to celebrate New Year's Eve.
Robert Bridel, the owner of Fanda Travel, said COVID-19's rapid spread has been stressing already short-staffed airline crews leading to delays, and people should expect to have disruptions when they travel in the near future.
"In this day and age you need to be a little adventurous, and you have to be very patient," Bridel said.
To minimize time and cash loss, he said people should download the app for every airline they use, even if it's just once, request another flight from airport staff immediately after being canceled, and he stressed that people should get travel insurance.
"We recommend that everyone buy travel protection, travel insurance, on any kind of travel today," he said, "whether it's airlines, or whether it's a cruise, or it's a tour."
Bridel said many insurers have begun offering special COVID-19 coverage helping travelers pay for a space to stay if they fall ill and need a place to quarantine.
KTNV reached out to Spirit Airlines for an explanation of cancellations and delays, but didn't receive a response.