Spirit Airlines Screws Over Fat Passenger

WTFPreparing for a trip from Las Vegas to Denver on Spirit Airlines and knowing how terribly most airlines treat fat people, Joey Cordova went to the trouble and expense of purchasing two seats and calling ahead to make sure that they would have a seatbelt extender for him.

Unfortunately, Spirit oversold Mr. Cordova’s flight and, apparently to accommodate one more thin person, they kicked him off the flight.

Let’s look at all the ways that this is screwed up:

First, he should never have had to purchase two seats.  The airline is in the business of transporting people from one destination to another, and that should include a seat that accommodates them. Plane manufacturers knew that fat people existed when they built those planes, and airlines knew that fat people existed when they bought them. To blatantly exclude fat people and then try to make that our problem — asking us to pay twice as much as thin people for the exact same service — is simply indefensible.

And don’t buy into the BS that it’s not financially feasible. Canada has had a “one person, one fare” rule since 2008, and the airline industry is doing fine. In the U.S., Southwest Airlines offers a free second (and third) seat to those who need one, and they are making record profits.

Second, he should never have been thrown off the plane so that two thin people could fly. When a person needs two seats, then those two seats should be treated as one seat — which means that they should be kept together. (Harrowing stories of fat people who had to fight the airlines to put the two seats they purchased next to each other abound.) And they should not be viewed as an opportunity to seat an additional thin person should one materialize.

So if the airlines find that their choice to sell more seats than they actually have is blowing up in their face, then the proper course is to use a volunteer system offering greater amounts of money and perks to passengers who are willing to take a later flight. It is not to throw the nearest fat person off the plane and call it a day.

Read my full piece about this here!


When this was originally reported, the article cited said that Mr. Cordova was kicked off the flight. The article appears to have been updated to say that he was forced to give up his extra seat and fly in a single seat.  Some sources are still reporting that he was kicked off the plane (http://fox17online.com/2017/06/25/colorado-man-says-he-was-kicked-off-flight-for-being-overweight/, others are reporting that he was forced  to fly in one seat. Apologies for the confusion.  In either event, this should never have happened and the airlines should not get to decide that it’s ok for a fat person to have no option to be accommodated. Thanks to blog reader Lisa for this correction!

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10 thoughts on “Spirit Airlines Screws Over Fat Passenger

  1. The practice of overbooking needs to fucking STOP IMMEDIATELY. No other industry gets to deliberately sell more of a product than they have in the hopes they’ll be able to literally STEAL someone’s purchase. That’s why they do it – hoping against hope that someone won’t show up and they’ll get to sell the seat again.

    “Overbooking” is just a legalized form of theft, done for no other reason than “we can, so fuck you.”

    1. It’s not just airlines. When I was a teenager, I was on a train trip in Italy, and because they had overbooked, we were literally forced to stand in the aisle. Now, there WERE some seats available in third class, but because we had first class (FIRST CLASS!!!) tickets, we were not allowed to sit in third class. The conductor actually forced us to stand up in the aisle, the whole way! Moreover, we were not allowed to eat, because the first class carriage, with the first class food was full, the second class carriage was full, and the third class carriage, with a cart that bumped us all up and down the aisle was off-limits to anyone who did not have a third class ticket.

      Also, we had to drag our un-checked luggage with us the whole time. Pro-tip: IF you’re traveling on an overbooked train, use hard case luggage that can be sat upon, rather than soft-case or duffle bags or the like.

      Another pro-tip: If you are traveling on an overbooked Italian train, dress as a nun, because no matter what tickets they had, the nuns on the train were allowed to kick lay-people out of their seats and take them. We saw it, and were gob-smacked. I mean, I respect people who devote their lives to God, but these nuns were just rude, and yelled at the people about the seats. Seemed kind of anti-WWJD, to me.

      Yeah, overbooking totally sucks beach balls, and should be eliminated.

  2. While I can definitely appreciate your argument (fat people should be able to fly just like thin people), I’m afraid your email is a bit misleading. It says the passenger was kicked off the Spirit flight but when I clicked on the link to the news article, it said he was downsized to one seat which made for a very uncomfortable flight. It did not state he was kicked off. Does this make it right? No, it doesn’t, but you can get your point across without changing the facts.

      1. Thank you Ragen for letting me know. I did not realize there were articles out there telling two different stories. I had only clicked on the one included with your email. Again, I completely agree with what you are saying and what you are trying to accomplish. I am a fat person and I am afraid/stressed every time I have to fly somewhere because of stories like this. I hope I didn’t sound like too much of a bitch with my previous statement, that was not my intention.

        1. Hi Lisa,

          I’m really sorry that you are having to deal with the crappy combination of fat phobia and the airline industry. If you haven’t already, you might check out the Facebook group “Flying While Fat” they have a lot of great discussions and resources. I really appreciate you letting me know about the change to the original article (and as a blogger I’ve definitely gotten used to not being given the benefit of the doubt, so don’t worry about that!)

          Thanks for your help!


          1. A tip for Flying While Fat – if possible, choose your seat before you fly, and make sure that you are flying with someone awesome. Then, choose two seats next to each other, preferably, in a two-seat section of the row (mid-size planes often have two-seat sections next to windows), and then you won’t have to worry about a thin person next to you complaining that you are in their space.

            Sometimes, it is actually worth it to choose a different flight, just so you can get that two-seat section to yourselves.

      2. Why do I read the comments? On that article you just now linked:
        “When you book a flight you agree to the airline rules. Quit complaining, accept the money and take a later flight.”

        Yeah, and when they sell you a ticket, they agree to put you in the seat, not insist that you give it up, disrupt your schedule, possibly miss your deadline, just so that they can re-sell the seat they already sold to you. And how did they decide who got to get the voucher for a different flight (and schedule!!), anyway? And you’re blaming the CUSTOMER for this screw-up?!

        Seriously, why do I read the comments?!

  3. WOW! that so incredibly malicious, that it hard to believe that human being can act in such way!

    such things should happend only in horror books, not in real life.

  4. That is awful. What assholes. These airlines are getting worse and worse. It also seems like they’re making more and more room for first and business class, so economy seats keep shrinking. I’m not tall, and my knees were touching the seat in front of me on an American Airlines international flight.

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