Man sues airlines for making him sit next to obese person

An Australian resident claims that he got a back injury as he was forced to twist and contort his body for long periods on a 2011 flight from Sydney to Dubai

Sydney: An Australian man sued Etihad Airways on Thursday, claiming that he got a back injury after being forced to sit next to an obese individual.

James Andres Bassos told a Brisbane court in a statement that he was forced to twist and contort his body for long periods on a 2011 flight from Sydney to Dubai.

Bassos’ claim states the “grossly overweight” passenger was spilling into his seat, coughed frequently and was dripping fluid from his mouth.

In his court claim, he also added that he asked to be moved after five hours but the airline staff refused.

Half an hour later, Bassos complained again and he was moved to a crew seat. However, he was forced to return to his original seat before arriving in Dubai.

Bassos claimed damages for personal injuries, saying that being forced to twist his body for such a long time to avoid contact with the other passenger gave him a back injury and made an existing back condition worse.

Etihad tried to have the claim thrown out and argued it was not unusual to have overweight passengers taking up too much space, or coughing passengers.

However Brisbane district court Judge Fleur Kingham refused to strike out the claim on Wednesday. Kingham said she wasn’t convinced Bassos had no chance of winning.

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