Published on Tuesday, May 9, 2017

American Airlines sued by flier 'squashed' by obese seatmates

An Australian passenger is seeking hefty compensation from American Airlines after being 'squashed between two 'grossly obese' fliers on a 14-hour flight from Sydney to Los Angeles.

Michael Anthony Taylor, 67, is seeking A$100,000 (about US$72,000) for the uncomfortable flight which exacerbated his pre-existing scoliosis, and caused back and neck injuries.

He said he spent most of the flight 'crouching, kneeling, bracing or standing.'

"I don't hold any malice towards the people in the seats next to me — they'd paid for a ticket too," he told the Daily Telegraph.

"The airline could have put me in a crew seat or moved people around, but they did nothing," he said, adding that he asked to be moved on numerous occasions.

Under U.S. federal regulations, passengers are not permitted to sit in crew jump seats.

The flight which took place in December 2015 was fully booked.

''This lawsuit could have been avoided in the first place onboard the flight by Michael being moved to a different seat or re-booked onto a later flight," said Taylor's legal rep Thomas Janson.

''Airline insurers will almost certainly force airlines to re-evaluate how and where they seat passengers and whether there needs to be a complete overhaul of the interiors of airline cabins in order to prevent similar claims,'' he said.

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  • Question for Future Travel agent

    You mention it's the agent's fault -- are you speaking of the TA who initially BOOKED Mr. Taylor's ticket (whether in person or phone), or the ticket agent at the airport when he checked in? (Do we even know how Mr. Taylor made his purchase, e.g., directly through AA's website / online?) How do YOU and your travel agency handle size issues when ticketing? Do you actually ASK people for weight and height? Your agency being in Vietnam, I have no idea how you accomplish this touchy subject. In many countries, this is a very personal and sensitive question evoking possible outrage and humiliation. IMO, whenever those 2 obese passengers checked in at the ticket counter as well as the gate, the AA staff, having access to the seating chart, should have realized the problem ahead of time and made an attempt at an equitable solution well before people were boarded. On the other hand I can see where if that were done, there would be many unhappy, upset people having been moved around (especially when they had the opportunity to choose their seat) rather than just one person. However, this "just one upset person" now has a large lawsuit against the airline. So it's a matter of what would AA rather have: More viral video footage with a firestorm of bad PR on social media and MSM with the possibility of several lawsuits (e.g. class action), or come to a settlement with one person. ~~ Also a Travel Agent (who does NOT book airfare for a multitude of reasons).

    By LeAnne Rigsby, Friday, June 2, 2017

  • And then there were three...

    It is the agents fault... Not really but... the travel agent will get blamed for the seating issue. They could have offered Michael a business class seat....when he made the booking. Now change the issue... 3 obese people in the same 3 seat section on a row, in a fully booked plane. What does the cabin/flight crew do when the 3 simply can not physically fit into the seats that have been allocated to them? We accomodate people of size at https://Future.Travel and assist them to book adjoining companion seats. Problem solved... by an Agent.

    By Future.Travel Asia, Wednesday, May 10, 2017

  • Obese Travellers

    I think its high time that airlines asked for passengers weight or job description as well as all the other 'personal' details they already demand- and if someone exceeds a certain weight one can safely assume these persons won't fit into the midget sized standard airline economyclass seats! And that goes for SUMO wrestlers as well- - and then they can be made to either pay for 2 economyclass seats, or else pay for a 'comfort' seat with more space for them. Its totally inhumane to squash a regular passenger between to hugely obese one's!

    By Inge Beadle, Tuesday, May 9, 2017

  • There is no later flight

    Only 1 a day

    By Michael Anderson, Tuesday, May 9, 2017

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