James Andres Bassos said that during an Etihad Airways flight from
Sydney to Dubai, he was forced to contort his body for long periods
because of the “grossly overweight” person in the next seat.
told a court in Brisbane, Australia, that the man was spilling into his
seat, coughing frequently and had fluid coming from his mouth, according
to a report by the Australian Associated Press.
Bassos asked if
he could move seats five hours into the journey, but airline staff
allegedly refused his request. Half an hour later, Bassos complained
again and he was moved to a crew seat.
Some carriers insist obese fliers buy an extra seat (note, the passenger
above is not the passenger referred to in this case) Photo /
Unfortunately, the court
heard that he had to return to his actual seat later for security
reasons, once for another hour and then again for the final 90 minutes
of the flight.
Bassos alleges that the flight gave him a back
injury and exacerbated a pre-existing back condition and is seeking
damages for personal injuries.
Etihad’s defence argued that it is not an unusual occurrence
to have overweight passengers taking up extra space on a plane, or to
have coughing passengers onboard but district court Judge Fleur Kingham
said that this was no reason to strike out the claim.
Her reasoning, which was published, stated that she wasn’t convinced that Bassos had no chance of winning the case.
Judge Kingham has ordered him to take a medical exam in Brisbane in December, the report said.
An Etihad Airways spokesman told Telegraph Travel today: “It would be inappropriate to comment in detail on this case as legal proceedings are underway.
Airways will continue to oppose the action and now that Mr Bassos will
finally face a medical assessment in December 2015, as directed by
court, we believe that the matter will proceed to an early conclusion.”