Passenger's airline obesity lawsuit: Kiwis react

Italian lawyer Giorgio Destro (left), captured his predicament on the Emirates flight from Cape Town to Dubai by taking a selfie of his overweight seat neighbour as evidence. Photo / Supplied
Italian lawyer Giorgio Destro (left), captured his predicament on the Emirates flight from Cape Town to Dubai by taking a selfie of his overweight seat neighbour as evidence. Photo / Supplied

A disgruntled passenger is suing an airline, claiming his flight was "ruined" by an obese flyer seated next to his window seat.

Giorgio Destro, a lawyer from Padua in northern Italy, claimed the "spillover" caused by the person next to him on an Emirates flight caused an uncomfortable journey from Cape Town to Dubai.

Destro is "gold member" flyer, but said the airline wouldn't let him change seats and refused to apologise or offer compensation, the Daily Mail reported.

The Herald asked for tales from passengers who had sat next to obese passengers in or around New Zealand. Here is what they said:

Dael Haynes

I too have had to sit overnight next to an obese traveller - could not move my shoulder from [Johannesburg] to Auckland and some four years later still trying to get the stiffness out of my shoulder. It is not good.

Margo Trowling

[On a flight from Nelson to Auckland] not only did the obese passenger insist on sitting in my window seat but was so large the armrest would not go down.

He spread his legs under the seat in front of me. So I spent the entire trip virtually in the aisle with no space under the seat in front of me for my feet let alone my handbag. The hostess ignored the situation.

I had had to pay extra for a bag that was 1kg overweight - $60.

I weigh 70kg, this passenger according to my GP would've weighed at least 150kg ... Over double my weight and no extra cost for taking up the seat I had paid for.

Rosalene Bradbury

I had a very similar experience on a ... bus trip overnight Auckland-Wellington. I am a slight woman, was in the window seat and an ENORMOUS young man (think David Lange at his worst) took the aisle seat beside me.

I can only think he deliberately took that seat because he would be able to take up half of mine as well.

The experience of being trapped by another human being, a stranger to boot, was terrible. I rapidly discovered that every other seat in the bus was taken, and so suggested to him that we exchange seats. This he agreed to, unwedged himself from the aisle seat, released me, and subsequently wedged himself into my window seat. I do mean WEDGED.

But that left me perched sideways in the isle trying unsuccessfully for 11 hours not to lean with my back on his side. I had about 10cm.

The driver was unsympathetic and my letter of protest subsequently was not met with a reply.

In my letter, I had suggested that passengers above a certain weight be made to buy two seats, or, even better, the bus company have a number of larger seats for larger people.

- NZ Herald

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