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


"That would be the last airline I would book if I were 6'7"," DiScala said. "This guy was asking for it. JetBlue would have been better for this."

JetBlue offers 34 to 38 inches of legroom, and those extra inches add up. While JetBlue hosts 150 seats on its jets, Spirit is able to squeeze in 178 seats. The result is cheaper air fare but less legroom.

Andersons Say They're Still Waiting to Hear Back from Spirit Airlines

When asked if he had looked into Spirit's seat size before booking the flight, Anderson said, "that's not something I thought about."

"I always ask for exit rows when I get there, and they didn't have one," he added.

After his ordeal on his flight down to Florida, Anderson's mother said she tried to change her son's flight when he was heading back to Chicago. When she called Spirit, Anderson said she inquired what they could do for her son's height and then their policy for disabled passengers.

"It's first come, first serve," she said she was told.

Kindness From a Fellow Passenger

When it came time to fly back to Chicago, Anderson and his mother went to the counter together to see if the airline would accommodate him. This time, a passenger offered to help.

"There was a guy who was 5-foot, maybe 5'2" at the most, checking in at the same time," Katie Anderson explained. "He turned to my son and said, 'I have a first class ticket and I'll give you my seat.'"

But when Spirit offered him an exit row seat, waiving the extra fee after hearing his story, he gladly took it.

"I didn't want to inconvience that guy," Anderson said. "As long as I found the solution [where] I could sit, that was fine with me."

Anderson said both he and his mother have written several emails to Spirit, but are still waiting to hear back.

"It blows my mind," Katie Anderson said.

Spirit spokesperson Misty Pinson issued a statement to ABC News via email regarding the incident, writing, "We do offer the option of exit row seating and our Big Front Seats for customers who prefer more legroom. We do not require customers to stand during flight."

While Spirit's Big Front Seats do offer at least 36 inches of legroom, each costs an additional fee, starting at $25, and there are only four of them on their jets, according to their website.

The FAA's website said it's not illegal to stand during a flight, but passengers must be seated with their seat belts fastened for takeoff and landing. The agency also strongly recommends passengers remain seated with their seat belts fastened during the entire flight in case of turbulence.

Every year, approximately 58 people in the U.S. are injured by turbulence while not wearing their seat belts during a flight, according to the FAA. From 1980 through 2008, U.S. air carriers had 234 turbulence accidents, resulting in 298 serious injuries and three fatalities.

FAA Says They're Investigating the Incident

FAA spokesperson Les Dorr said they are "aware of the incident and are investigating," but that a investigation like this would take several days.

He added that "the provision in the regulation is that if the seat belt sign is lit, everyone has to have their seatbelt on."

Dorr also acknowledged that fines are "typically against an individual" who fail to wear a seatbelt when required to, but if it was the airline that told the young man to stand, as it seems to be in this case, then the airline is at fault.

Anderson said his next step is to possibly speak with the FAA about what happened to him.

"I think that's something that we need to bring up because...other people out there are as tall as me," he said. "There's gotta be a way to curb the shrinking of seats...and make it reasonable for me to fly."

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