Passengers at Florida’s Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport were in for a rude surprise as a scuffle broke out after multiple Spirit Airlines flights were cancelled. Three travellers were arrested after a confrontation with the airline employees and sheriff’s deputies turned ugly.

According to the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, the arrests were only made after angry customers yelled and threatened airline employees, leading to chaos and unrest in a crowd of around 500 people at the airport.

Flight-tracking site Flight Aware indicated that as many as 11 flights were cancelled at the airport, and 30, delayed, on Monday.

This has added to Spirit Airline’s many woes. The airline has also filed a lawsuit against the Air Line Pilots Association International, which looks after Spirit’s pilots. The group has been accused of intentionally causing a slowdown and encouraging pilots to refuse last-minute shifts, leading to too many cancellations and messing up the travel plans of many passengers.

The union denied the allegations, calling the lawsuit “unwarranted and counterproductive.” A US federal judge issued a temporary restraining order in the case on Tuesday, forbidding the union from encouraging disruption of normal pilot operations. The union said it would follow the order, “which is completely in line with our overriding goal: the resumption of normal operations.”

Several people voiced their displeasure on Twitter, criticising both the passengers and the airline – which is not new to controversy – for the incident.