A man is suing an airline for €200,000 over claims he suffered “severe” back ache after sitting next to an obese man who coughed a lot.
James Andres Bassos (38) has taken Etihad Airways to court saying he injured his back because he was forced to contort his body for long periods on a flight from Sydney to Dubai in 2011.
A Brisbane district court heard that the “grossly overweight” passenger was spilling into Mr Bassos’ seat, coughing frequently and had fluid coming from his mouth
Five hours into the journey Mr Basso asked to be moved but airline staff allegedly refused his request.
Half an hour later, he complained again and he was moved to a crew seat but had to return to his seat for the final 90 minutes of the flight for security reasons.
He is seeking damages for personal injuries, saying that being forced to twist his body for such a long period of time to avoid contact with the other passenger exacerbated an existing back condition.
Mr Bassos claims it is unusual and unexpected to be required to sit in a seat partly occupied by another person.
Airline Etihad tried to have the claim thrown out, arguing it was not unusual to have overweight passengers taking up too much space, but Brisbane district court Judge Fleur Kingham refused the request on the grounds she was not convinced that the claim had no chance of winning.
She ordered Mr Bassos to undergo a medical examination in Brisbane in December.