A man claims he was asked to disembark a Southwest Airlines aircraft for being overweight.
Matthew Harper, who weighs about 24 stone (154 kg), was reportedly asked to step off the flight from Chicago to Denver after being told it was overbooked.
He alleged a cabin crew member asked whether the 34-year-old was aware of the company’s “customer of size” policy, which encourages passengers who “encroach upon any part of the neighbouring seats” and cannot fit in the 17-inch space between the armrests, to purchase a second seat prior to travel.
Mr Harper told the official he was aware of the policy, but pointed out there was still an empty seat remaining between his brother and himself. He was eventually allowed to board the plane again following further discussion.
The Texas resident, who was addressed publicly in front of other passengers, said he had “never been humiliated like this in my life,” and that he “felt like a criminal” when asked to leave the flight, according to Denver-based local TV station KDVR.
“I mean, when I got back on the plane, the only thing I could do was put my head down,’ he added.
I – Word Understanding
Claims – to demand by or as by virtue of a right
Disembark – leave an aircraft or other vehicle
Overweight – excessive or extra weight
Step off – drop off
Alleged – make an allegation in an action or other legal proceeding
Encroach – to advance beyond proper
Neighbouring – be situated next to or very near
Eventually – in the end
Humiliated – make (someone) feel ashamed and foolish by injuring their dignity and self-respect, esp. publicly
II – Have your say
Facts about Being Obese
1.Obesity can cut your life short by up to 20 years.
2.Discrimination exists. Fat people can be perceived as: lazy, unpleasant, unhygienic, less qualified job applicants.
3.Healthcare facilities do not always have adequate supplies for obese people: wheelchairs, gowns, blood pressure cuffs, beds, MRI machines.