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Man Sues Etihad Over “Injuries” Sustained From Sitting Next to Obese Flyer

Etihad Airways faces allegations of injury after a flyer says he was injured by an overweight passenger.

An Australian flyer is accusing Etihad Airways of leaving him injured from being seated next to an overweight passenger on an overnight flight. CNN reports the flyer is suing the Middle East carrier for traveling costs and damages, claiming the airline was responsible for a back injury as a result of the seating arrangement.

According to court documents, flyer James Bassos flew on Etihad in 2011 from Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) to Sydney Airport (SYD). During the flight, Bassos claims he was seated next to a “grossly overweight person,” who was not only in the flyer’s personal space but also “frequently expelled fluid from his mouth.” As a result, Bassos claims that he was forced to “twist and contort his body” to avoid making contact with his row-mate. Five hours into the flight, Bassos told the court he requested a seat change, but was only able to use a crew seat for an hour before being reseated next to the flyer.

“[Bassos] alleges it is an unusual and unexpected event to be required to sit in a seat partly occupied by another person to the extent that he had to twist and contort his body to avoid contact with the other passenger,” the court papers show. “It is not accurate to dismiss the claim as one arising from cramped conditions which are usual and to be expected.”

In their defense, Etihad claims that flyers cough on regular basis and it is not unusual to be seated next to an overweight passenger. As a result, the carrier claims they are not responsible for the injuries alleged by Bassos.

The judge in the case has ordered Bassos to submit himself to medical testing by December. The lawsuit is still pending in Australian court.

[Photo: iStock]

Comments are Closed.
weero August 2, 2015

I really wished these lawsuits were successful and would halt once and for all 31" seat pitch and devolutions such as the 787 or 3-4-3 seating on the 777. But filing this in an Australian court? There will never be a verdict that makes sense or scares airlines in anyway ... if there will be a verdict at all. Only if China, the EU, or (most influential) the US could be coaxed into ruling decisively, this will go away silently.

MaxVO August 1, 2015

Etihad is ultimately responsible for having a whole seat available to the paying pax. So this plaintif would make a good case in any jurisdiction.

Indelaware August 1, 2015

Goof grief. If the passenger was that large, then Bassos would have known before the flight pushed back from the gate. He could have protested, he could have deplaned. He chose to fly knowing "his" space would be encroached upon by Mr. Large.

diburning August 1, 2015

He'd have a better case if he tried to sue United over their slimline seats.