An overweight Spirit passenger says he feels spurned and humiliated after the airline gave away one of the two seats he reserved on a recent flight.
Jose Cordova — a self-described “big person” from Westminster, Colo. — had originally purchased two adjacent seats for himself when booking his trips to and from Las Vegas, reports Denver7 News.
"You don't want to overhang on someone else's lap, so you want to make sure you have that extra seat without bothering anybody," he told Denver7.
Cordova’s first flight to Las Vegas went off without a hitch; he utilized his two seats, while his two friends sat nearby in their assigned seats. But on the way back to Colorado on Wednesday, Cordova claims that Spirit overbooked the flight. So, in order to accommodate the passengers, he says the crew took back one of the seats he had reserved, much to his chagrin.
In a statement obtained by Fox News, a Spirit spokesman said this is not part of Spirit's protocol.
“It is not our policy to ask people to give up tickets they purchase," the spokesman tells Fox News. "We immediately refunded Mr. Cordova for the seat he gave up, and have since refunded his entire roundtrip.”
But according to Cordova and friend Scott Tenorio, the airline did not follow the policy. After boarding the plane, the men say Spirit crewmembers asked if anyone would be willing to give up their seats for a voucher. Tenorio said he and Cordova declined to volunteer, but Spirit gave away Cordova’s extra seat anyway.
Cordova says he told the crew that he had paid for both seats, but he said they passed the buck, telling him to “take it up” with a Spirit agent when the plane got to Denver.
Tenorio also told Denver7 that other passengers looked upset at the prospect of being seated next to Cordova, and that his friend was humiliated by the ordeal.
“I could see in his face, he was sweating. I was asking him how his trip was, and he was just, you could tell [he was] humiliated,” Tenorio said.
“I’m embarrassed, you know? Actually embarrassed,” said Cordova.
In a separate statement to Denver7, a representative for Spirit said the airline was “looking into the circumstances” of the situation, and added that Spirt is working directly with Cordova on “making this right.”
Cordova himself was not immediately available for comment.