Overweight man says Spirit Airlines 'embarrassed' him on overbooked flight

Posted at 7:00 AM, Jun 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-25 07:00:52-04

DENVER (KMGH/CNN) – A Spirit Airlines passenger who booked two seats on a flight due to his size says he felt humiliated when the airline gave away one of the seats without asking on an overbooked flight.

Jose Cordova of Westminster, CO, says he purchased two neighboring seats on each of his flights to and from Las Vegas for a getaway trip with his two friends.

He purchased the extra seat because he knew he wouldn’t be comfortable in one seat, he says.

"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.

Cordova’s friend Scott Tenorio says he also called ahead to ask for a seat belt extender for his friend in an attempt to be proactive.

On the group’s flight to Las Vegas, the three passengers occupied four seats without issue, but on the way home Wednesday, they say Spirit Airlines took back one of Cordova’s seats without asking due to an overbooked flight.

Unwilling to take a voucher and later flight, Cordova says the airline forced him to move.

"I told them I had bought two seats. [They said] ‘Well, talk to them when you get off the plane,’” he said.

Cordova says the 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.

Spirit Airlines said in a statement it’s “looking into the circumstances” and has refunded Cordova for his flights. The airline says it will work with Cordova "on making this right.”

But for Cordova and his friends, the damage is already done.

"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,” Tenorio said.

Copyright 2017 KMGH, Spirit Airlines via CNN. All rights reserved.