Man sues Etihad Airways over 'injury' from sitting next to obese passenger
A man is suing Etihad Airways over claims he suffered a back injury after being seated next to an overweight passenger in economy class.
James Bassos was on a flight from Sydney to Dubai in 2011 when he was forced to "contort and twist" his body to avoid contact with a "very large" passenger who had encroached upon his seat, according to papers filed with the District Court of Queensland, Australia on July 29.
The court papers also alleged that Mr Bassos' fellow passenger "frequently coughed and expelled fluid from his mouth".
It added: "After repeated requests of cabin crew, Mr Bassos was given limited access to a crew seat, but was still required to spend long stretches of time in a position which he claims caused a back injury and aggravation of an existing back condition."
Mr Bassos is claiming damages for personal injuries.
Etihad has tried to have the case dismissed and argued that it is not unusual to be seated next to obese or coughing passengers.
However Judge Fleur Kingham refused to strike out the claim, adding that she was "not satisfied Mr Bassos had no real prospects of success and that there is no need for a trial of the claim. Accordingly, Etihad's application must fail."
Judge Kingham has ordered Mr Bassos to undergo a medical examination in Brisbane in December.
An Etihad Airways spokesman said: "It would be inappropriate to comment in detail on this case as legal proceedings are under way.
"Etihad Airways will continue to oppose the action and now that Mr Bassos will finally face a medical assessment in December 2015, as directed by court, we believe that the matter will proceed to an early conclusion.
"The safety and comfort of Etihad Airways' passengers and crew is of paramount importance and the airline has a zero tolerance policy towards unruly behavior."