The Battle for a Leg Room Refund

PHOTO: New Jersey man Raymond Pental wrote to The ABC News Fixer about an issue with a popular airline.PlayABC News
WATCH Airline Passenger Didn't Get Leg Room He Paid for

Raymond Pental of New Jersey wanted a little extra room to stretch his legs on a recent flight, so he paid a premium to get in the exit row. But when the airline switched the flight to a smaller aircraft, Ray’s paid-for legroom disappeared -- and no one would refund his money.

Read Ray’s original letter to the ABC News Fixer below, and see how The Fixer helped get this resolved. Also, check out The Fixer’s tips for getting extra legroom the next time you fly. Do YOU have a consumer problem? Maybe The Fixer can help! Submit your problems at

Dear ABC News Fixer: My wife and I flew on Spirit Airlines out of Philadelphia. We booked two round-trip tickets and paid a little more for the exit row so we could get extra legroom. Each way was an extra $50, for a total of $100.

On the way home, Spirit Airlines downgraded the aircraft. The new plane had a different seat configuration and our extra legroom disappeared. I asked the attendant if we would be getting a refund for that and she said yes. She took a portion of our tickets and left.

After we got home, I didn’t hear anything, so I called the customer service number and got lost in recorded message hell. Finally, I reached someone who said he couldn’t help. I even explained that I was a retired police officer and that what happened here could be considered theft. I paid for certain seats and did not receive them.

I realize the amount of money was small, but $50 is $50.

- Raymond Pental, Lawrenceville, N.J.

Did you catch The ABC News Fixer this morning on "Good Morning America"? See other "GMA" fixer stories at her website, and if you have a consumer problem, The ABC News Fixer may be able to help. Click here to submit your problem online. Letters are edited for length and clarity.

Dear Raymond: You’re absolutely right that 50 bucks is 50 bucks! From where the ABC News Fixer stands, when you pay for something you’re entitled to that something -- or you should get a refund.

We got in touch with Spirit Airlines and asked them to fix this. To their credit, they jumped on it immediately, issuing a full refund (it was actually $52). They apologized for your inconvenience and said this never should have happened.

You were smart to document this, including saving the recorded announcement that the airplane was being downgraded. When arguing for a refund, it’s helpful to have all those pieces in place. Your letter also got us thinking about legroom. If you’ve got long legs or if you’re traveling for four or more hours, it can be worth paying extra.

You can also check out which seats on various airplanes have the best legroom before you book by going to and entering your flight number.

Travel experts say that even if you have a regular economy seat, it can’t hurt to (nicely) ask the gate agent to switch to a better row. Sometimes they’ll allow you to move for free to a bulkhead or exit row seat if one is open, especially if you have elite frequent flyer status.

- The ABC News Fixer

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