A Spirit Airlines passenger is outraged after being forced to find a new seat when a white woman refused to sit next to her — an objection she claims was made because she is black.
“I had to ask someone to switch seats with me because she didn’t want to sit by a black woman in 2019!” Tiarra wrote in a series of Facebook posts detailing her experience.
Tiarra unexpectedly boarded a flight from Vegas to Chicago with Spirit Airlines after her flight from Detroit was delayed for 12 hours. When she tried to sit down, Tiarra claims an unidentified woman sitting next to the open seat assigned to her “refused to let me sit by her.”
“[She] refuses it to the point that she is arguing with the flight attendant about how she is not going to let me sit by her,” Tiarra wrote in a Facebook post.
“This 4 hour flight is about to feel like a lifetime. I’m am so embarrassed and heartbroken.”
According to Tiarra’s account, she was forced to ask other passengers to switch seats with her instead. The woman allegedly later claimed she took issue with Tiarra sitting next to her because “she thought the seat was going to be empty.” However, she points out that the woman “allowed the young white college student to sit next to her with no issue.”
Although flight attendants thanked her later for being a “team player,” Tiarra was outraged that she was the one who was forced to move, instead of the passenger she claims was being racist.
“I shouldn’t have needed to switch seats to accommodate her choice of what race she wanted next to her and her husband,” she wrote.
She went on to criticize Spirit Airlines for not escorting the woman off the plane after blocking her seat, and allowing the unidentified woman’s comfort to take precedence over her own.
“Why do I have to be a team player to someone who is obviously putting her racist cards on the table,” Tiarra wrote on Facebook.
According to a statement obtained by Yahoo Lifestyle, Spirit Airlines says it has “zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind on our flights,” and has taken action to remedy the incident.
“[Spirit Airlines has] launched an investigation into this incident and we have reached out directly to the Guest to address her concerns,” reads a statement from Spirit Airlines media relation manager, Derek Dombrowski.
“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.”
Although Tiarra sarcastically thanked Spirit Airlines for “the worst experience ever,” she said the one upside of the experience were the passengers who rallied around her. While one fellow passenger held her hand and prayed with her, other passengers were “booing her and calling her a racist.”
Tiarra detailed her experience with a series of posts on her personal Facebook on June 25. Since then, one of the posts has garnered over 8,300 shares with users online calling the incident “unacceptable,” and suggesting she file a formal complaint. Others online, however, allegedly told Tiarra she should have taken more serious, violent retaliation to the unidentified woman. However, Tiarra wrote that she was glad she took the moral high ground instead.
“At the end of the day, I was able to come home to my kid to share my experience with you all,” Tiarra explained on Facebook. “This was my experience I handled it the best way that I could.”