Black Ex-Spirit Airlines Flight Attendant Sues After She Was Fired for Being Too Fat to Fit Into Jumpseat
James Gordon, Daily Mail, December 12, 2022
A former flight attendant for Spirit Airlines is suing the company, claiming she was discriminated against and wrongfully fired because she was too overweight to strap herself into a crew jumpseat.
Chelsia Blackmon, who is African-American, claims to be the victim of racial discrimination after a white colleague, who she stated could also not ‘fit’ into the jumpseat and buckle their belt, was still able to keep their job after being given the chance to lose weight.
Although there is no set weight limit for flight attendants with the budget airline, they are required to be able to fit inside and buckle the jumpseat for safety.
On social media, some have suggested that women up to at least a size 18, with about a 40 inch waist, would easily be able to fit into the jumpseat of most commercial aircraft.
Blackmon’s complaint, filed last month in Florida where Spirit is based, notes that she had completed and passed all training and compliance protocols, including being strapped into a jumpseat using a four-point harness.
Blackmon, who comes from Houston, Texas, says she successfully proved she could buckle into the various jumpseats and harnesses used across Spirit’s Airbus A320 series aircraft and had flown multiple trips without any issues.
It was only after she was working a flight on September 3, 2021 on the Airbus A319 aircraft she found she was unable to strap herself into the jumpseat due to her size.
She was not allowed to use an extender belt and was asked to leave the plane.
Blackmon was immediately placed on administrative leave before a meeting was held to discuss her future.
According to the complaint, at the meeting she was asked to show that she was able to buckle herself properly into a jumpseat.
The following month, in October 2021, Blackmon was required once again to strap into a jumpseat in order to work on board a flight, but found that once again it was too small for her.
She was barred from service shortly after, and fired in November for being unable to fit in the seat.
In court documents, Blackmon directly accuses Spirit of racial discrimination, noting how a white flight attendant who had just started with the airline was also too big to fit in the jumpseat, but was given several months before she was asked to prove it.
Because of ‘discriminatory and illegal differential treatment based upon her race,’ Blackmon has suffered ‘lost wages, compensatory damages, mental anguish and suffering,’ the complaint details.
She said that the actions of the airline ‘were in willful and malicious and in reckless disregard of her civil rights.’
The lawsuit does not explain whether Blackmon put on additional weight after completing her training course, or whether she believes some jumpseat harnesses were smaller than designed.
Blackmon is seeking back pay, damages, damages and legal costs in a trial by jury.