A Qantas passenger has accused the airline of “fat-shaming” and bullying him after being removed from an exit row seat for being too large.
In an interview on the Today show, Darren Beales said he booked an emergency exit row seat on a Qantas flight from Melbourne to Brisbane for extra legroom.
However, he was told by a flight attendant just before take-off that it was against airline regulations for passengers to sit in an exit row seat if they were disabled or required an extended seat belt, and was forced to move to a normal seat.
Beales said he questioned the rule, to which the flight attendant suggested he purchase two seats next time he flies.
“It made me feel really belittled. I could have helped in an emergency… there was no problems about assisting anyone else,” he told Today.
“All that I was paying for is the extra legroom that I never received.”
Speaking to the Geelong Advertiser, Beales described the flight attendant’s actions as “fat-shaming” and “rude”.
The Civil Aviation Safety Authority’s guidelines recommend passengers seated in emergency exit row seats are “able-bodied” and capable of helping in an emergency.
Qantas issued a statement to Today maintaining that customers seated in exit rows may be called upon to assist crew members in case of an emergency, and that those who don’t meet the criteria could be asked to move seats.
Travel Weekly has contacted Qantas for further comment.
In February, Qantas-owned airline Jetstar was outed by an angry passenger who claimed she was slut-shamed and then given a $50 voucher as an apology.