Bird in landing gear causes flight to Fort Lauderdale to be canceled

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A Spirit Airlines flight from Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Latrobe to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was canceled today because of a bird strike.

Flight 727 was scheduled to take off from the airport at 12:30 p.m. but still hadn't left the airport early this evening. In an email, Spirit spokeswoman Misty Pinson said the flight was canceled "as a result of a bird strike" but could provide no other information.

She said Spirit would accommodate passengers by providing an alternate flight to Fort Lauderdale tomorrow morning. "While we understand that this is an inconvenience, the safety of our customers is our top priority," she said.

Ms. Pinson said passengers also have the option of rebooking on another flight or taking a future flight credit or refund.

Maureen Witting, who was booked on the flight, said that she was told that a sparrow had flown into the plane's landing gear. Ms. Witting said passengers boarded the flight briefly before being told about the incident. They were deplaned and left to wait in the terminal for a resolution.

Ms. Witting was upset because she said Spirit refused to provide passengers with food vouchers while they waited in the terminal. At one point, she said, the airline offered customers a $50 credit for a future flight. She was unimpressed.

"Who cares about a $50 voucher when you don't want to fly this airline again?" she said.

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