A man is suing British Airways, claiming he suffered personal injury and loss of earnings after being forced to sit next to an “extremely large” passenger aboard a 12-hour flight from Bangkok to London back in January 2016.
According to The Press Association, 51-year-old Stephen Prosser is seeking £10,000 ($12,825). He said the incident left him with a continual back spasm, caused an injury to his sacroiliac joint and aggravated a 12-year-old spine injury.
He claims the back pain has resulted in a lack of energy affecting his relationship with his partner and forcing him to give up mountain biking.
The 5-foot-3-inch Prosser compared his seatmate to the late New Zealand rugby player Jonah Lomu, describing him as being 6’4″ and over 300 pounds.
“He was that large that he had to force his buttocks between the armrests of the seats,” said Prosser. “He sat with his knees wedged against the seat in front and the rest of his body was overspilling into my seat by some inches.”
“I was immediately aware that this was going to be problematic for me and I could feel the weight of his pure bulk putting lateral pressure on my upper body. This forced me into a position of unnatural posture,” he added. “Due to the size of him when he placed his arm down at times it would rest on my armrest and he would accidentally turn the volume of my audio up to an extremely loud volume each time.”
Prosser claims he complained to cabin crew but was allegedly told there were no other seats available because the flight was fully booked.
However, the flight’s customer service manager, Chris McLindon told a different story in a witness statement, saying that Prosser did not appear to be in any discomfort and “at times he was asleep.”
British Airways representative Timothy Salisbury also called the comparison to Lomu an “exaggeration.”
This isn’t the first time a passenger has sued an airline over an uncomfortable flight. Last year, an Australian man sued American Airlines for $100,000 after claiming he was crushed by an obese passenger on a flight from Sydney to Los Angeles.
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