Lawyer Sues Emirates Airline Over Obese Passenger (Photos)

| by Sheena Vasani
Passengers on an airplane.Passengers on an airplane.

An Italian lawyer is suing Emirates airline for making him sit next to an obese man while flying from Cape Town to Dubai.

The lawyer, Giorgio Destro, says the "spillover" caused by his large neighbor made for an uncomfortable nine-hour flight, the Daily Mail reports.

When Destro complained, the airline refused to let him change seats explaining the flight was fully booked.

"For nine hours, I had to stand in the aisle, sit on seats reserved for the cabin crew when they were free, and in the final phase of flight resign myself to suffer the "spillover" of the passenger at my side," said Destro, who also took a selfie to prove his story.

He was upset the airline did not apologize or compensate him for his experience, even though he is a gold member of the airline's frequent-flyer program.

Destro, who previously worked for the Italian Consulate in South Africa, is now asking for $3,000 in compensation as well as money to cover both the flight costs and "damages." The first hearing will be held in Padua, Italy, on Oct. 20.

For some obese people, moments like this often feel equally as uncomfortable.

In March, an anonymous blogger enlisted the sympathy of many after writing about how much effort she must put in and the shame she feels before, and while, boarding a plane.

The woman explains she often faces insults despite going out of her way before even booking the flight to make sure she won't be an inconvenience, The Telegraph reports.

"I practice how I will sit on the plane, pushing my body against the cabin wall, one arm holding the other firmly over my chest, so that I will make no physical contact with the person sitting next to me," she writes. "I bring mints, so I won’t need anything to drink, so that the flight attendant won’t have to reach across the row for the fat person."

Despite her efforts, she still faces rudeness and even watches people take photos of her.

"If I have to step past them, I will hear the familiar, belabored, disdainful sigh," she writes. "The throat cleared, the muffled groan. These are the sounds of my body being seen in public."

"I am watched  --  and judged harshly  --  as I try --  and fail  --  to fit into a space that was made for someone else," she adds. "I am always too big, always too much, always unacceptable."

Sources: Daily Mail, The Telegraph / Photo credit: Rene Ehrhardt/Wikipedia, Corriere del Veneto via Daily Mail, 7GoldTelePadova via Daily Mail

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