American Airlines has been served by an Aussie man who claims he was “squashed” sitting next to two “grossly obese” people on a flight from Sydney to Los Angeles.
The Wollongong man, Michael Anthony Taylor, is seeking in excess of $100,000 from the airline after he claims flight attendants refused his repeated requests to move seats, per News Corp.
Taylor also insists the seat – where he claimed the passenger next to him “spilt over and encroached” onto him – aggravated his scoliosis condition, which is an abnormal curvature of the spine.
Per News Corp, in documents lodged to the courts, Taylor was seated in a window seat in economy on a flight in December 2015, and the size of the passenger next to him forced him to “contort his body into a series of positions including standing up, crouching, kneeling and leaning forward”.
Taylor’s lawyer, Thomas Jansen of Shine Lawyers, told News Corp, “Mr Taylor asked the cabin crew on numerous occasions if he could sit in another passenger’s seat, or sit on one of the crew seats, or sit in the aisle or even to sit on the toilet seat to alleviate the pain and discomfort that he was suffering from.
“One each occasion, he was refused and rebuffed.
“As a result of the fact that American Airlines failed to reseat him or even offer a viable alternative, he suffered bodily injuries by contorting his body within the cramped space caused by the intrusion of the grossly obese passenger sitting next to him.”
Interestingly, it comes in the same week as American Airlines announced it would shrink the seat pitch in economy on its new Boeing Max jetliners by up to five centimetres on three rows.
This would create 172 extra seats for the carrier.
Jansen added that cases similar to Taylor’s would become more commonplace if airlines continued to shrink seats in such a fierce manner, per News Corp.
“This will definitely become a more persistent issue,” he said.
“American Airlines has recently announced that they are removing up to two inches of leg room in some passenger seats in the Economy class cabin in their new passenger aircraft.
“If Michael is successful, there will likely be many more lawsuits around the world concerning this issue.”