Spirit Airlines grounded by pilot strike – UPDATED

Spirit Airlines has found itself grounded this weekend, after contract negotiations with their pilots failed to result in an agreement.

The pilots have been negotiating for four years – and Spirit claims they have offered a 30% pay increase over the next five years, along with several other perks.

Sean Creed is the head of the Spirit Airlines pilot group within the union, and had the following to say:

“No one wanted this strike-certainly not this pilot group. We have sacrificed so much to see this company prosper. Now we are sacrificing our paychecks until we get a contract that reflects our contributions to this airline,”.

As of right now, the strike should end this evening, and all flights will resume as normal tomorrow.

UPDATE: The strike has been extended through Tuesday June 15 2010.

Passengers on canceled flights will be issued flight credits along with an additional $100 Spirit Airlines credit. More information on the strike can be found here.

It has been five years since the last strike at a major US carrier when mechanics and cleaners went on strike at Northwest Airlines. The last major pilot strike was back in 1998 – once again at Northwest Airlines. Of course, it could always be worse – British Airways just got out of their third batch of strikes in under a year.