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Unruly flier creates 'unreal' 19-hour trip from L.A. to Florida

July 9, 2012 |  8:44 am

Spirit Airlines
Passengers on a flight out of Los Angeles bound for Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., were diverted to Houston after a man became "disruptive" during the flight.

Spirit Airlines spokeswoman Misty Pinson confirmed that Flight 310, which left Los Angeles International Airport on Saturday night, was diverted "due to a disruptive customer," but she did not provide additional details.

"We apologize for the inconvenience this caused our customers on board the flight," she said in a statement. "However, the safety of our customers is always the top priority."

Florida television station Local 10 said the passenger in question was an 81-year-old blind man who was "kicking and screaming." He was reportedly removed from the plane in Houston but later released by authorities.

No charges were filed.

Passengers told the television station they sat on the tarmac for several hours until they were allowed off. Once inside the terminal, passengers said they were told they would be shuttled to Dallas to catch another flight, as Spirit Airlines does not fly from Houston to Ft. Lauderdale.

The airline eventually brought in another plane but passengers did not arrive in Ft. Lauderdale until about 8 p.m. on Sunday. They left Los Angeles just before 10 p.m. the day before.

"It was terrible. It was unreal. It was painful," passenger Theresa Shaviano said. "Nineteen hours we were in this mess."

Pinson told the television station customers would be offered refunds.

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— Kate Mather

twitter.com/katemather

File photo: An unruly passenger on Spirit Airlines forced an emergency landing over the weekend. Credit: Lynne Sladky / Associated Press

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