Too Tall To Fly? Passenger Forced to Stand for Entire Flight

PHOTO This undated photo shows Brooks Anderson with his grandparents. Brooks Anderson was forced to stand on a Spirit Airlines flight because he was too tall to fit into the coach seats.
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When Brooks Anderson boarded a Spirit Airlines flight from Chicago to Ft. Myer's, Fla., to spend Christmas with his family, he said he didn't expect to be standing for the next two-and-a-half hours.

"I was in an aisle seat and I clearly didn't fit into the seat at all," he said. "I couldn't even stuff myself in there."

The 25-year-old is 6'7" and as he tried to squeeze his knees under his chin, his tall frame proved to be too big to fit into Spirit's tiny coach seat.

"This is the most crammed I've been by far," Anderson said.

Even though he was in the last row of the plane, Anderson said the flight attendants wouldn't let him stick his knees out into the aisle, so he was forced to sit with them jammed into the metal tray table on the seat in front of him.

"It's incredibly painful," he said.

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Anderson said he asked to be moved to an exit row seat, which typically has more legroom.

"The stewardess and I talked before the takeoff," he said. "She asked if anyone in the emergency row would switch spots with me [but] came back and said, 'You're stuck'."

Brooks Anderson stands at 6'7" and is shown here with his grandparents.

When none of the other passengers offered to help, Anderson said he decided to take matters into his own hands and asked if he could stand for the flight.

"I said, 'I need to do something about this, is it O.K. if I stand after the seatbelt sign is turned off?,'" he said. "She said it was O.K."

It got to the point where if the attendent wouldn't let him stand, Anderson said he seriously considered getting off the plane and missing the flight altogether.

"Like Being on a Subway"

"If I had to sit in my seat the whole time, I would have been in physical pain, with metal jamming into my knee caps for the whole flight," Anderson explained.

He then spent the remainder of the flight "dodging people going to and from the bathroom."

"It's like being in a subway car for two-and-a-half hours, which is awful," he said, adding that there was luckily no turbulence during the flight.

"It's bizarre," said Anderson's mother, Katie Anderson. "This was the first time he's been treated like this."

"Spirit Airlines Is out of Their Mind"

The space between economy class seats on a Spirit Airlines Airbus A321 is about 28 inches, which is below the typical 31 inches.

Katie Anderson said it was the first time anyone in their family had flown Spirit Airlines, and that the attendant at the counter who checked in her son said they couldn't accommodate his tall stature. There were no exit row seats available.

"He arrived at O'Hare in plenty of time, and asked for a seat," she said. "He got there, he asked for a bulkhead or exit row. He knows to ask, and usually the airlines are pretty willing."

"They want me to pay money to reserve an exit row in advance," Brooks said. "It's something other people don't have to do at all."

Travel expert John DiScala, aka JohnnyJet, said having someone stand during a flight can be incredibly dangerous because of unexpected turbulence.

"That's the craziest thing I've ever heard," he said. "Spirit Airlines is out of their minds to tell someone to stand during the flight.

"It's got to be a safety hazard sitting in such tight quarters when you're so tall," he added.

DiScala added that Anderson was also at fault for not properly doing his research on Spirit Airlines and their notoriously small seats.

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