Passengers aboard a Spirit Airlines flight from Montego Bay to Fort Lauderdale May 26 were told to “prepare for a water landing,” but the plane landed safely back in Montego Bay. The airline said in a statement to various media the captain made the announcement “out of an abundance of caution” after the crew got an indication of an unspecified mechanical fault as the plane climbed out. Passengers were told to put on their life vests and of course shot phone video of the experience.

A video obtained by Storyful and used by numerous TV stations and publications shows the woman with the phone with an inflatable life vest on and shows a sea of discarded vests left on seats and the floor of the plane. Spirit says it’s inspecting the plane to see what caused the alarm.

The airline had this to say about the whole thing: “Spirit Airlines flight 270 (MBJ-FLL) returned to Montego Bay (MBJ) on May 26 out of an abundance of caution following a suspected mechanical issue. The plane landed safely at MBJ and taxied to the terminal where Guests deplaned under normal procedures. Safety is our top priority, and the aircraft will be thoroughly evaluated by our maintenance team.”

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.


    • I had the misfortune of being booked on Spirit from Boise to Savanna. I call it the “ala Carte” airline. Nothing is included in the ticket price – no food, no water. I expect they would charge for a seat belt if they could.

  1. I hope there is some follow-up to this incident. What type of indication did they receive that caused them to take such precautions?

  2. It would be interesting to know the frequency of airline RTL’s. To me, this looks like it is newsworthy solely because of the life-vest donning. Like an emergency landing in the Alleganies would have been safer than tropical water.

  3. “…but the plane landed safely back IN Montego Bay.” I know Montego Bay is a city as well as an aquatic location, but considering that the article concerned a possible water landing, perhaps a clearer way to put it would have been: “…but the plane landed safely back AT THE Montego Bay AIRPORT.”

  4. For you folks making fun of Spirit’s lack of amenities I for one could care less about their sparse accommodation. Im used to flying in my RV. As long as the aircraft are maintained and there is a competent crew I welcome there cheap fares. $150 from Detroit to Cancun? Lol.