An Australian man is suing American Airlines for $100,000 after being forced to sit next to two “grossly obese” passengers on a 14-hour flight from Sydney to LA, alleging that he suffered “bodily injuries”.
Michael Anthony Taylor claims that the airline would not switch his seats during his flight to LA in December f 2015, forcing him to sit in a row with two obese neighbors. He claims that he spent an entire flight contorting his body, which aggravated his back problem and made his scoliosis worse.
According to the court documents, Taylor says that the bodies of the passengers next to him “spilt over and encroached” into his seat and had to “stand up, crouch, kneel, and lean forward” during his 14 hour flight. He says he has since suffered back injuries, neck pain and an ongoing discomfort. He is suing American Airlines for his seating situation and is seeking $100,000 in damages.
Taylor’s lawsuit states that he was seated in the window seat, but complains about “two” obese passengers squeezing the plaintiff. Perhaps one obese passengers was crushing into the other, thereby pushing Taylor’s neighbor more forcefully into his personal space.
Taylor’s lawyer Thomas Jansen claims that his client repeatedly asked to change seats and suggests that the crew could have given him a crew seat or asked someone to move, but did nothing instead.
“As a result of the fact that American Airlines failed to reseat him or even offer a viable alternative, he suffered bodily injuries by contorting his body within the cramped space caused by the intrusion of the grossly obese passenger sitting next to him,” Jensen said.
It is unclear why Taylor has filed the lawsuit only now. In recent years, two other passengers have sued different airlines over being forced to sit next to obese passengers — neither suit has been resolved.
Furthermore, obese passengers have also sued different airlines, alleging that their rights were violated when they were not allowed to board the plan due to being fat.
The lawsuit coincides with American Airline’s announcement earlier this week that new Boeing 737 jetliners will be cutting the legroom to make space for more seats.