So, boiled down to essentials, what exactly happened? What was/continues to be the issue?
Having been in scheduling, and dealt with meltdowns before, I have an opinion….
Per the pilot forums and the Facebook groups, you could see signs of this building in the last few weeks.
Across the board employee shortages leading to delays and gate holds, for everything from caters to ramp, to gate, to hotel shuttle drivers and room cleaners. They butchered Headquarters last year and expected a much smaller staff to handle a much bigger summer load. At some point they realized how short they were, Spirit was advertising for schedulers just three weeks ago.
Now the bad summer thunderstorms come along, (Note these were just storms, NOT a tropical system yet.) Scheduling can’t handle the load because they are short staffed, and have brand spanking’ newbies with no experience, and no idea what they are in for. Delays start, it is taking longer to get issues resolved. Spirits contractors, dealing with angry pax, have no idea what is going on, because they can’t get through to scheduling or dispatch either. The phone system starts resetting because now it can’t handle the load.
Some of the newbies can’t handle it and stop showing up (Ask me how I know this) putting a further load on those who remain. After too much of this, they start calling out too. Phone waits for crew back up into hours, emails aren’t getting answered, and every ramp or hotel hotel issue just gets magnified even more. The crews have no idea of what any recovery plan might be, because no one is communicating anything.
Finally, facing angry mobs with no answers, the front-line contract staff finally says getting beaten by passengers isn’t worth $9 an hour, and walk off the job, first in SJU, and then other places as they hear about it.
Meltdown gets worse…. Now HQ has no idea of what it can and cannot run, at the very last minute, aggravating things even worse.
Other people who have dealt with this feel free to chime in, but I lay this one squarely at the feet of HQ and management. They knew they were short-handed across the board, and still tried to run a max schedule anyway. It’s not IT, it’s not weather, it’s a MANAGEMENT ISSUE , that was only aggravated by those things.