The passengers said they spent at least an hour on the tarmac of Bush Intercontinental Airport Sunday and about 10 more hours in the terminal without food or an opportunity to find out what was happening, KHOU-TV, Houston reported.
The flight was bound for Fort Lauderdale, Fla., from Los Angeles when a passenger disruption prompted the pilot to make an emergency landing in Houston.
The airline didn't explain what the disruption was but passengers said an older disabled man was involved, KHOU-TV said.
The plane was carrying more than 100 passengers.
A Spirit representative said the airline realizes the passengers were inconvenienced and plans to give a refund everyone who was on the plane, KHOU-TV said.
Passengers were told Spirit wanted to bus them 5 hours to Dallas because the airline doesn't fly from Houston to Fort Lauderdale, KABC-TV, Los Angeles said.
"It was painful. It was unprofessional. Spirit was not around to help us whatsoever," one passenger said.
Passengers eventually were boarded on a Delta flight and arrived in Fort Lauderdale late Sunday night, KABC said. They were originally scheduled to arrive in the morning.