Spirit Airlines Passenger Bullied Out Of Seat Over Race

A passenger onboard a Spirit Airlines flight has been forced to move seats as to accommodate an apparent racist request. Their fellow passenger refused to be seated next to them because of their skin color and demanded the airline move the original passenger elsewhere, to which the airline compiled.

Spirit Airlines has been accused of siding with a racist rather than the victim on a recent flight. Photo: TDelCoro via Flickr

Simple Flying has reached out to Spirit Airlines and you can read their statement below.

What are the details?

Tiarra Down was boarding her Spirit Airlines flight NK446 from Las Vegas to Chicago on June 25th, finding her seat next to an older Russian lady.

This lady refused to allow Ms. Dow to sit by her and requested that she be moved or swapped with another passenger. The Russian lady was belligerent and demanding, and only by another white passenger swapping with Ms. Dow was the lady satisfied.

Ms. Dow had to continue on her four-hour journey (and suffer a 12-hour delay but that’s not the focus of this story) feeling “so embarrassed and heartbroken” and “it lasted like a lifetime”.

You can read her Facebook post below:


According to coverage by BoardingArea.com, Ms. Dow was thanked multiple times by the flight attendants for ‘being a team player’ and allowing the flight to continue unhindered.

What should have happened?

Whilst we try to be impartial here at Simple Flying, it does seem a bit strange that Spirit Airlines sided with the angry passenger over Ms. Dow and compiled with her request to move her seatmate.

This situation will give future travelers pause when they are choosing airlines to fly with. Photo: Prayitno via Flickr

In these sorts of scenarios in the past, flight attendants have either asked the angry racist to stop harassing their fellow passenger or kicked them off the flight. In this case they instead chose to humiliate the victim and then condescendingly tell her that she was a ‘team player’.

BoardingArea.com rightly points out that the situation should have gone like this anti-racism advert from Portugal:

What did Spirit Airlines say about the incident?

Simple Flying reached out to Spirit Airlines for comment and received this reply.

“We have launched an investigation into this incident and have reached out directly to the Guest to get more information. As of this email, we have received no response. Spirit Airlines has zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind on our flights and we pride ourselves on providing an inclusive and safe environment for our Guests.”

As of the time of publishing, we have not been able to determine if there has been any remediation or if the passenger has been satisfied. We hope that it will be resolved as quickly as possible.

What do you think? If you were the flight attendant or the captain, what would you have done in this scenario? Let us know in the comments.