Man sues after being injured by overweight man on British Airways flight

Economy class, the plebs of the sky. It’s nowhere near glamorous and after a long flight, you’ll probably be glad you’re away from it. However, one man flying between London and Bangkok back in 2016 was in a lot more discomfort than others. An overweight (above 136kg) man was, unfortunately for him his seatmate for the 12-hour jaunt between the English and Tahi capitals.

The man described was overweight with his weight apparently going onto the other man’s seat making him sit in an unnatural position for the duration of the flight. The man who had been sitting in an unnatural position requested to move however with zero free seats available on the Boeing 777 he was declined permission to move. The man claims he received nerve and pelvic damage due to the positions he sat in during the flight and had to see a chiropractor for two years and had to limit his work schedule to 3 months after the incident. He apparently now suffers from a back spasm that is ongoing.

However BA’s customer service chief onboard the 2016 flight claim there was no such issue. He was apparently asleep for most of the flight and didn’t seem in any discomfort while sitting in a normal position unlike the claimed “unnatural position” that has complained about. He also disembarked the Boeing 777 without any signs of injury the employee claims. British Airways have put out a statement saying "We welcome all passengers aboard our aircraft and our crew are trained to ensure passengers have a comfortable journey, we are pleased that our crew provided additional pillows and blankets to help Mr. Prosser have a more restful trip.” And according to sources, the airline is resisting the man’s claims. The case is expected to be heard in a Welsh court this week.

So who do you think is right? The airline or the passenger.

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British Airways 777 aircraft at London Heathrow full photo credit

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The costumer is usually always right I guess, but in this case the costumer is probably right as the airline can’t feel what he is experiencing

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Well wow ok then lol that’s what happens now a days

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I’m going to speak from the point of view of a business owner’s son. Nowadays, people simply don’t want to work. They want everything for free. They will buy something then sue the company to get there money back and then some. This passenger did not have all this happen to him. The most I could see is a blood clot which happens on long flights if you don’t move. And, even on the .000000000001% chance this actually happened, he can’t sue the airline for not moving him because every seat was full. My $0.02

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That’s sounds dreadful, especially on such a long haul. I dont agree with him suing though, like Daniel said, there is no other seat. What are they to do?

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People nowadays would like to be given a seat upgrade free of charge on the next flight

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My mom had some friends who would book flights on extremely crowded routes just to take the money/free miles when they announced that they were overbooked… So yes you are correct lol.

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No it’s a common phrase lol

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He is saying he put in his 2 cents lol

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Oh, thanks!
I thought I had just spent loads of $0.02s without knowing LOL.

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Let’s get back on topic now ;)

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Airlines need a maximum weight requirement, maybe something like a BMI calculation that also considers the height of the person.

My opinion is, you take up two seats, you should pay for those two seats. Maybe they should start charging people by weight/fuel consumption.

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I was flying from EIDW-CYYZ in 2017, Air Transat a310. There was a lady sitting beside this bigger guy, she started complaining about him having tha arm rest up and occupying both seats. She was quickly shut down when the flight attendant showed his ticket(s).

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This is dodgy…definitely very dodgy!

Airlines don’t ‘quiz’ passengers about their weight. If someone declares their weight as a ‘disability’ then it will flag up otherwise Airlines apply a generic weight to a male, a female and a child. Imagine the uproar if, when you booked your seat, you were forced to click the ‘I’m oversized’ button! It would be labeled discrimination at it’s finest!

The aircraft was completely full, no spare seats. What are the cabin crew supposed to do? In what way does the completely random allocation of the seat next to him to an obese passenger, that the airline did not know was obese as the passenger is under no obligation to declare the fact, have to do with the airline? Force some other passenger to swap seats? Why? He was just unfortunate.

I struggle to see even how the unscrupulous, no win no fee ambulance chasing lawyers that infest our country now can make a case out of this one? Where is blame? Is it with the airline? 250+ other passengers had no issue so it can’t be with any physical aspect of the aircraft or it’s seating. So it must be the ‘fault’ of the obese passenger squeezed into the seat next to him. Good luck getting that one to stick.

BA do advise people of greater than average weight to consider buying a discounted second seat but, in the current environment of ‘not body shaming’ people for their size, who’s going to do that?

The whole thing is a joke.

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I believe there was a similar case to this a while ago with a man on Etihad Airways - and I think he may have won his case. I appreciate the argument against the claimant but ultimately he’s been subject to injury through no fault of his own so that will be the line he’ll work off.

If you look in most airline’s t+cs, you’ll find that they list all the seat size limits, and that a passenger is required to purchase two steats or an upgrade if they are bigger than the seat dimensions. This is part of the contract a passenger agrees to when purchsing a ticket, so in my opinion the larger person was wholly wrong, and the cabin crew should have either made him purchase an upgrade, orremove him from the flight, as he was in breach of the t+cs. I know as fact that some airlines do enforce this policy, as I’ve been delayed twice (once in Beijing and once at Luton) due to an oversize passenger.

The issue becomes a problem for the Airline in both cases though.

If the person offloaded or moved for not fitting in the seat genuinely believes they ‘do’ fit in the seat then they sue the Airline for discrimination.

If the person who feels they have been pressurised by the overweight person into sitting in such a position that they are physically injured sues the Airline for not offloading or moving the overweight person (who might not consider themselves overweight etc…).

It’s a real catch 22 and one that I personally really sympathise with the Cabin crew for having to deal with day to day. We are all become a bit too precious.

I’m not sure what the problem is here. The cabin crew (who’s job is primarily the saftey of the passengers e.g. not having them squashed) could simply take a picture of the passenger’s spillover, then remove him from the flight for breach of contract.