Thursday 22 February 2018

Passenger sues Emirates over nine-hour flight sat next to obese man

Passenger 'Spillover'

Emirates plane. Photo: Deposit
Emirates plane. Photo: Deposit

Chris Graham

An Italian passenger is suing Emirates after having to "suffer" sitting next to an obese man for a nine-hour flight.

Giorgio Destro, a lawyer from Padua in northern Italy, asked if he could change seats a few hours into the Cape Town to Dubai flight because the overweight passenger next to him was taking up some of his seat space.

The UAE airline told him the plane was fully booked and did not offer compensation or an apology, according to an Italian newspaper.

READ MORE: 'I don't want someone's lack of willpower spilling into my space' - readers on whether obese passengers should pay for extra plane seat 

"For nine hours, I had to stand in the aisle, sit on seats reserved for the cabin crew when they were free, and in the final phase of flight resign myself to suffer the 'spillover' of the passenger at my side," he told Mattino Padova.

The "gold member" flyer is reportedly asking for €2,759.51 in compensation - €759.51 as a refund for the flight, and a further €2,000 in damages.

L'avvocato Giorgio Destro ha fatto causa ad Emirates per il suo ultimo viaggio in aereo, particolarmente scomodo.

Posted by La Zanzara - Radio 24 on Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Mr Destro, who has previously worked for the Italian Consulate in South Africa, took a selfie at the time which showed the arm of the passenger apparently encroaching on his space (below, from Facebook).

An Emirates spokesperson told MailOnline the airline was unable to comment as it was an ongoing legal matter.

The case hearing, scheduled for October 20th in Padua, rekindles the debate about how airlines should deal with oversized passengers.

In 2013, a passenger who weighed about 24 stone was reportedly asked to step off the flight from Chicago to Denver after being told it was overbooked.

The traveller alleged a cabin crew member asked whether the 34-year-old was aware of the company’s “customer of size” policy, which encourages passengers who "encroach upon any part of the neighbouring seats" to purchase a second seat prior to travel.

In 2009, an image of an obese passenger squeezed into an economy airline seat was reportedly taken by a flight attendant to illustrate to airline managers the difficulty of dealing with passengers who cannot fit into seats.

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