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Quarter-tonne man fits on Virgin but not Eurostar or QM2

November 22, 2013 Aviation, Headline News 1 Comment Email Email

egtmedia59The ponderous journey of Kevin Chenais – a 22-year-old man who weighs 226.8 kilograms, or about a quarter of a tonne – has reached a new stage. He has left America and is now on the other side of the Atlantic close to his native France.

He may even return to France today, despite having been refused carriage by British Airways, by the cruise ship Queen Mary 2 and by the Eurostar train.

Screen shot of Chenais shown-on-TV-in-Chicago

Screen shot of Chenais shown on TV in Chicago

Chenais was left stranded at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport a couple of weeks ago after British Airways refused to carry him. So how did he cross the ocean to reach Europe? Answer: Virgin Atlantic.

Chenais’ parents brought him from France to the US to spend 18 months at the Mayo Clinic, the world’s largest not-for-profit medical group practice, for treatment of the hormone disorder which apparently contributes to his obesity. At the end of his treatment, however, he couldn’t return home because airlines and ships refused to carry him.

Kevin Chenais weighs about the same as 10 suitcases packed to the economy-class limit. British Airways felt it would be unsafe to carry him, although it was BA which brought him to Chicago in the first place.

Chenais requires constant oxygen and full-time care and he rides a mobility scooter.

The saga has continued. After BA’s refusal, Chenais and his parents planned to travel by train to New York to board the Queen Mary 2 cruise ship to England, and then travel by Eurostar train to France. That plan was scuppered when the QM2 denied Chenais passage for “security reasons,” according to French news site France24.

The Chenais family were “devastated” by the QM2 decision – but then Virgin Atlantic stepped in, in superhero mould. Virgin flew the family to Britain.

In Britain, however, problems returned. Eurostar refused to let Chenais take the train “due to safety concerns”.

The family spent Tuesday night in a hotel near the Eurostar terminal at London’s St. Pancras station, paid for by the train company.

Finally, P&O Ferries said they would take Chenais across the English Channel to France. An ambulance took him to the port of Dover, where P&O spokesman Chris Laming told the Dover Express that P&O was happy to help with the “unusual occurrence”.

“Mr Chenais will be travelling on one of our super ferries today – either the Spirit of Britain or the Spirit of France,” Laming said.

“They are probably the only ferries that could do it.”

Written by : Peter Needham

Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. Martin says:

    Don’t the trans Atlantic carriers operate WIDE-BODIED jets anymore?

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