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Spirit Airlines email glitch sends false flight delay message to some customers

Some Spirit Airlines customers woke up to emails saying their flights had been canceled or were experiencing long delays, but those emails were sent in error, the airline said Wednesday. 

Passengers, including Danielle McGee, complained online. McGee said she was on the way to the airport for a 9:10 a.m. flight from Nashville to New Orleans to surprise her mother and grandmother, when she received a message her flight time had changed to 3 p.m. She tweeted that she told her Uber driver to turn around, only to learn too late that her earlier flight time had never changed.

"I'm so upset and disappointed right now," she posted.

Other passengers complained of long hold times when they called customer service after seeing their flights had been canceled or delayed as long as 18 hours.

Around noon on Wednesday, Spirit acknowledged emails with incorrect cancellation or delay information had been sent to some passengers. The airline told customers on social media that "a system error is affecting check in for some flights. If you are having trouble, please try again shortly. Also, if you received a communication stating that your flight time has changed or has been canceled, please confirm your FLIGHT STATUS here: http://spirit.com"

"The system issue affected online check-in for guests traveling within the next 24 hours, showing a delay for some flights," airline spokesman Erik Hofmeyer explained to CBS News. "Our flights were on time, and guests were able to check in at the airport. We have since resolved the issue. We posted updates on our website and social channels, and we're in contact with our guests."

Frontier Airlines had a similar "technical problem" in the evening of Thursday, November 21, just as the Thanksgiving travel season was ramping up.  Some flyers who took to Twitter to express their frustration said they had received emails announcing delays as long as 13 hours.

"I received an email saying flight was changed, to call 801-401-9005, I can't through just busy signal," one traveler wrote on Twitter. "When I look in the Frontier app flight has not changed? Can someone help me."

"We apologize to our customers for a technical issue in our reservations system that caused an email to be sent Thursday to some customers with reservations on Frontier Airlines erroneously indicating their flight had been changed," spokesman Zach Kramer said in a statement at the time. "We are investigating the cause and are communicating this error with our customers who can confirm their trip by entering their confirmation number on our website."

On Wednesday several airlines, including American, Delta and United, also experienced brief website issues.

"Earlier today, Google had a brief technical issue that impacted multiple carriers, including American. This technical issue has been resolved," American Airlines spokeswoman Andrea Koos said in a statement. "We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience. There was no impact to flight operations."

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