SANFORD (FOX 13) - Passengers flying from Orlando-Sanford International Airport to Grand Rapids, Michigan were delayed nearly 15 hours after three unsuccessful attempts to put them on a plane without mechanical problems.
Allegiant Airlines says Flight 682 took off from the airport at 3:21 p.m. Wednesday, but returned to the airport 30 minutes into the flight due to a sensor issue.
The passengers were put on second plane about an hour later, only to be sent back to the gate due to a mechanical issue on that plane. The third try of the night had a similar result, forcing passengers to deplane and return to the gate, this time due to an issue with the aircraft's cabin lights.
The airline says passengers were put up in a hotel for the night and a new flight was scheduled for Thursday. That flight made it to Grand Rapids without issue Thursday morning just before 11 a.m.
According to Allegiant, passengers were offered $200 vouchers, food and drinks and the option for a full refund.
FOX 13 News has reported on dozens of mechanical issues plaguing Allegiant's fleet since last summer. The pilot's union has called the airline's operation unsafe, harshly criticizing its maintenance program. Allegiant has maintained it is a safe airline, saying the union is exaggerating to gain an edge in contract negotiations.
Allegiant is responsible for enormous growth in the Bay Area because of its link to St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport, of which it represents 95-percent of the airport's passenger flights.