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Passenger evicted from seat claims Qantas ‘fat-shamed’ him

May 24, 2019 Headline News 1 Comment Email Email

A large Qantas passenger has accused the airline of “fat-shaming” him, after a flight attendant had him shifted from the exit row seat he had booked, because he was allegedly too big to meet airline regulations.

Darren Beales told Channel Nine’s Today Show he had booked a seat in the emergency exit row on his Melbourne to Brisbane Qantas flight, so he could have extra legroom.

Once on the flight, Beales says a flight attendant told him he would have to move because regulations stipulated that anyone requiring an extended seat belt could not sit in an exit row.

Beales alleges that when he questioned the flight attendant, she told him that next time he should buy a second seat.

Beales described the flight attendant as a “bully” who had “fat-shamed” him.

“She (the flight attendant) says, ‘well, look, again airway regulations, you cannot sit in an exit seat, if you’re disabled or, you know – or if you require an extended seatbelt’,” Beales told Today.

Beales earlier told the Geelong Advertiser he could “fit into the seat fine – I didn’t need a second seat”. He says the flight attendant was “rude” and “it was fat-shaming.”

The Qantas website states clearly that passengers who need an infant or extension belt should not be seated in the exit row, which is consistent with other Australian airlines.

The Qantas site adds: “If the passenger does not meet the requirements, they will be assigned a different seat.”

Darren Beales tells The Today Show about his predicament

It’s the second fuss over an exit row seat to make the news this month. A couple of weeks ago, Air New Zealand evicted a “wealthy looking” couple sitting in the exit row, including a woman toting a Louis Vuitton bag, because they wouldn’t pay attention to an airline safety briefing. See: Air NZ gives couple the boot for not watching safety briefing

The difference is that Air New Zealand acted over the couple’s behaviour, whereas no one is suggesting Beales was behaving badly.

Exit rows give extra legroom, and some airlines sell them at a premium – but the occupants must be willing and able to assist in an emergency.

Written by Peter Needham

Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. bruce weston says:

    so whats the big deal – that’s why the guy booked that seat – no secret that the seat comes with some restrictions which he maybe felt he could bluff his way – yes ! – it is a problem for big people , no doubt , but legroom is the premium everyone wants and like the unicorn doesn’t exist

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