An airline passenger who booked two seats for himself due to his size says the carrier humiliated him when they gave away one of his seats without asking on an overbooked flight.
According to FOX-8, Jose Cordova of Westminster, Colorado, says he purchased two neighboring seats on each of his Spirit Airlines flights to and from Las Vegas for a getaway trip with friends. He purchased the extra seat because he knew he wouldn't be comfortable in one.
"I am a big person and I knew one seat wouldn't fit for me, and to be comfortable, I wanted to have two seats," Cordova said.
His friend, Scott Tenorio says he also called ahead to ask for a seat belt extender for his friend in an attempt to be proactive. During the group's flight to Las Vegas, the three occupied four seats without any issue. However, on the way back home, the airline took back one of Cordova's seats without asking due to an overbooked flight.
Though they offered a voucher and later flight to Cordova, he refused and the airline forced him to move out of the second seat.
"I told them I had bought two seats. [They said] 'Well, talk to them when you get off the plane,'" he said.
He says the whole situation was "embarrassing" and he felt "humiliated."
"People were just watching him, and it's almost like they look at, 'Oh my God, I've got to sit next to that,'" Tenorio said. "I could see in his face. He was sweating. I was asking him how his trip was, and he was just, you could tell, humiliated."
In a statement to ABC Denver-7, Director of Corporate Communications, Paul Berry of Spirit Airlines said, "This is not the type of experience we want for our customers. We are looking into the circumstances that led to this situation to ensure it doesn't happen again. We have refunded Mr. Cordova for his flights and will work directly with him on making this right."
But for Cordova and his friends, the damage is already done.
Tenorio explained, "Those that are thinking of weight, we tried to alleviate him from infringing on anyone's space, and then he's forced (to do so). I could barely sit in these seats they're so tiny."
Cordova has not yet been compensated, but Spirit Airlines promises the refund is coming soon.
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