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Delta, KLM sued for death of obese woman denied flight

The husband of an obese woman who was turned away from flying because of her weight is suing two airlines for causing her untimely death....tried to board a third flight from Frankfurt to New York, but she was not allowed on the flight when she didn't fit in a three seat gap. "We had 140 passengers on board, and they had connections and needed to travel. The question was never the seat belt. The question was the mobility of the passenger," Lufthansa spokesman Nils Haupt told Radar… ( Altro...

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honza nl 6
1) she could get the necessary medical treatment in Hungary, but she refused it, claiming she didn't trust the doctors there....
2) KLM offers obese people to buy a 2nd seat (as they use 2 seats), at a discount, so then the can fly; she did not take this chance
preacher1 6
It looks like all the extra seating thing and all was done. It seems they just flatly could not get her on the plane. At that point and time, I can't see where any of them had an obligation. The lawsuit now seems to be the American way.IMHO
No offense, but you have to read more carefully. The article said the woman would not fit in a three seat row.
I just read part of the other article and it says that they didn't have a seat belt extender at one location....She probably fit into the three seat gap but she wasn't going anywhere without a seatbelt.
Dee Lowry 1
No seatbelt extensions??? I find that hard to believe! That's a safety item. Depending what type of a/c you are on, there will be anywhere from 3 to 10+ extensions on board as emergency demo equipment plus spares for situations like this. I think they were using the seatbelt as an excuse for not wanting to deal with the situation!
Could be but that goes back to the point that they were in Hungary....No matter what location and what company you do business with is going to have all of the equipment that another location is going to have...One location may have to many of one paticular item while another location barely has enough to scrape by..Eventually their short comings come to the light.
The question was raised in the article and maybe should have been answered there too: what did she fly over on? It leaves a question in my mind whether it was because of the aircraft or the judgment of the flight crew. The decision over whether you fly or not is pretty subjective with no clear limits. Three seats are more than 52 inches wide. You take it from there. It's hard to believe that someone less than 500 pounds would have a beam of more than 52". She might have had a problem getting down the isle-way. My son is wheelchair bound and his chair won't fit in the isle and the airline transports him in a device from the terminal to his seat and vice-verse at the destination where they deliver him to his chair. As usual, there is more to this story than was written.
Maybe she couldn't get into the seat(s) from the aisle. No one could fill three seats across, could they?
Dee Lowry 3
I can't believe your posts! I knew people can be cruel but this is totally unacceptable! To be so degrading, insensative, inhumane and non-compassionate! Obviously, Mrs. Soltesz was very ill. Chronic Diabetes and obviously in Renal Failure. Did anyone, just once, think that maybe she wanted to go to see her homeland of Hungary for the last time before she passed. Well, if that was her wish...she got it. You people are looking at her weight and size...not who she was as a person. So quick to judge! In my day of being a Flight Crew Member, we had several situations like this. My Carrier accommodated the passenger without encroaching on the space or saftety of the other passengers. As far as safety is concerned with disabled passengers, they are well briefed as to the concequences in the event of an emergency. For those of you who are concerned about that...don't be afraid!! They will go down with the ship! I question the Primary Physician in this case. In my opinion, he/she should have put Mrs. Soltesz on a "DNF" (do not fly) restriction. And this woman has a name! She's not Cargo!
jet4ang 1
She and her husband flat out refused medical care in Hungary because they didn't trust the MD'S. Where was her husband who found her deceased two days afterwards?? Local bar with an attorney maybe???
Nope..Fedex has a 150 lbs weight limit for express..She'd have to go freight!!
pa38dave 3
why didn't she just get on a transat cruise ship? Those things are the size of a small country nowadays and can probably tow a continent without breaking a sweat!
Anna Loh 1
Have you seen the aisles/hallways on a cruise ship and the doorways to the staterooms are pretty narrow. She wouldn't be able to get through any of them to get to a state room! She'd have to sleep on deck!
There are plenty of questions surrounding this, at least to me. One is if this woman was so ill, why was she traveling to Hungary in the first place? If you are missing limbs that make it difficult to move while you are that large and need assistance to get to the plane and board it, then you should not be getting on a plane, period.

Delta and KLM are in a no win situation here from the sounds of things. While they did try to accommodate her, her husband sees it as they are responsible, but they are not completely responsible. They are just as responsible for not getting medical help when needed, especially since it was known before they first went to Hungary that she would need or be needing medical attention while on the trip. They didn't make arrangements to ensure that she tended to medically while on their trip.

I hope the judge in the case does what is right and assigns some of the blame to the husband as being her caregiver, he is ultimately responsible for her well being and as he didn't talk her out of making said trip, is just as responsible as the airlines are for allowing her to fly to Europe to begin with.
preacher1 2
You are entirely correct. Unfortunately in today's world, the Airlines have deep pockets. You have a lawyer trying to make some easy money, probably not costing the husband a thing, and the Airlines legal may settle it out of court just to make it go away.
Bruce Boaze 2
Helping the husband get a new wife, for which he will find Viagra unnecessary. 8-)
kvh1775 3
The UK Dailymail had a lot more on this story than the CBS link. The woman could not walk and they tried to have the fire deparment get her to the plane from her car and they could not lift her.
Funny you say that, after having read a few articles about it this morning, I'm finding the CBS article a bit lacking in detail.
Joe Vincent 2
" I'm finding the CBS article a bit lacking in detail."

Is that a surprise?
Aside from the whole 'blame the airline' line of argument, seriously some blame needs to placed for refusing to even attempt medical treatment in Hungary. If it's such a horrible place with primitive 'Communist era healthcare', why did they maintain a residence there? Especially knowing her condition and that it was annual trip, you'd think they'd at least have to entertain the notion of needing local medical care.
sorry, cbs article fails to mention the Hungary residence... other news sources talk about it more...
Rob Warren 8
Where is the blame for over eating? No no it wasn't the onset of diaboties or heart dease.. The cause must of been delta. What has happened to America why do we have more and more people tring to transfer blame?
Pileits 19
@ Rob
Sadly lawyers have taught Americans to avoid responsibility or blame for anything they do.

Being responsible, respectable, or having personal integrity is no longer something American citizens see any value in having.

Now days it is all about being "slick" or slippery, being on the edge of breaking the law. Integrity and honesty as a virtue is sadly gone worldwide.
Toby Sharp 1
Rob Warren 0
Couldn't of said it better.
pnschi 0
Corporations can do no wrong. Only people can.
Pileits 10
Should have tried FedEx or UPS, they are happy to carry over sized loads!
damn! fat joke
kvh1775 0
I was thinking Volga and one of their An-124's.
Or the AN-225!
Karla Smith 4
The bottom line is she could not either get on the plane or be put on the plane if they could not lift her, fit her through the doorway, down the aisle or between seats on the particular aircraft available. What does the family expect, strap her on the top of the fuselage like the space shuttle?
pnschi 2
I guess she must have been strapped to the fuselage on her outbound flight.
linbb 6
And they blame the airline? What were they supposed to do take the arm rests out between the three seats? Seems she should have taken a ship but cannot figure out how she was supposed to get thru the door and down the isle. Take the blame for your wife being so fat.
Zach Katona 3
I understand the personal responsibilities of this woman however I do have to agree with the lawyer that if the airlines brought her there, why could they not bring her back? If she is really that much of a hazard, then they shouldn't have let her fly to Hungary in the first place.
Toby Sharp 5
Think about all the other passengers who would have been in trouble during an emergency if she was let on that airplane....hell if i was a passenger on the flight she DID get on going over the pond I would have protested her being on the plane as a safety hazard to others on that particular flight. May seem cruel.....sometimes reality sucks
If she was sitting next to an exit door over the wing, there would be no way to get out.
SootBox 2
No way they'd assign her an exit door seat anyway, wouldn't happen.
chrisjames 2
That's because they wouldn't assign her a seat, period.
pdixonj 2
This article mentions that she may have put on weight during her holiday time in Hungary, which may explain why she couldn't fit onto an airplane for her return trip...
Toby Smith 2
I don't understand why people are talking about seats here. They couldn't get her through the door. They tried to get her through the door of a plane in Budapest and then they sent her to Prague (which is several hours' drive away) and they couldn't get her on the plane there either.
The husband is suing the airlines because they didn't manage to get her on the plane, even after an hour of trying. For that the suit will not succeed, because the airlines made reasonable accommodation, including delaying the flight for many of their passengers.
And furthermore, she didn't have to fly home to the US in the first place. I live in Hungary, and the healthcare here is not "communist-era", though some of the buildings are. It wasn't an emergency, because she could have accepted treatment in Hungary.
jet4ang 2
She died and was found in her house in Hungary by her husband two days after her death. Where was he??If she was that sick and refused to see doctors there because of mistrust, then what the hell does the airline have to do with this??
canuck44 2
No win situation for Delta....if they had gotten her on board and she croaked halfway across the Atlantic or they had to divert because she was stuck in a washroom and couldn't find the loo beneath the rolls and couldn't turn around to get out or became a public health problem voiding in her Depends Xtras they would still get sued by her enabler...the husband. The livestock cargo carrier option was the only alternative although the horses might complain.
preacher1 1
Where you been? I haven't seen you on here in 6months or so.
canuck44 2
Been here keeping an eye on you and working on healthcare policy. Glad to see you are getting a few hours in. I got tired of some of the airheads commenting from their mother's basements. I bought a farm two miles from RSW so have lots of physical work but am still practicing full time...did 11 surgeries today which doesn't seem quite as easy as thirty years ago. Too tired most nights to comment...I just crawl into the hot tub and soak away the pain before falling asleep and starting over the next day. Guess it beats the alternative and if I quit I know my longevity would be measured on a watch not a calendar. Actually it is more fun in some ways...I am operating on kids whose parents I carried back to the OR twenty years ago or looked after in the ICU. It is like having an extended family. ObamaCare will end it though hence the farm.
preacher1 1
Well, I remember your advice a few months back about hanging it up and what would I do. After all the blowup with DAL and the AMR br, I just did some fill in around and started to do a little teaching then things changed where I had retired from. Bottom line, they bought a CRJ 200 and we just got it from the mod center last Friday. It's a late 08 and now like new. They are bringing me back for 2 years on a 1099 to train 2 guys on it that are currently on a king air they have.By paying on a 1099, it will leave my retirement intact. I just turned 63 yesterday; 2 years will be about right.We sold our truckline in April, and I lasted til July. I kinda enjoyed these last few months slowing down and now that you have bought that farm, you will consider slowing down as I figure you will start liking that outside more than doctoring. Good to hear from you. Be careful
canuck44 3
I saw you were flying CRJ2's...your type rating list must now be three digits. You were probably smart to sell the trucking gig before that industry is destroyed by the price of diesel, taxes and regulations. All new trucks will require solar panels, windmills and conversion to run on non-global warming bovine flatus. I am in the same process selling my practice to the health system at age 68+ and will work for 2 years as well. After almost 40 years of looking after sick kids it will be hard to give up that part to harvest politically correct energy sources on the farm, but made easier by the 30,000 pages of regulations from ObamaCare and the cesspool of bureaucrats running it. Enjoy your last two years and pity those that follow you.
tlblosser 2
I know we're off track here but I have to say, you're the first medical professional that I've seen who has personally commented on the new insurance. Thanks for the insight!
ken young 1
Not to get sidetracked on politics....I wish I could provide you with me email address so thet you could educate me on the the medical professional's view of the ACA.
I am on the fence with it. I do not understand it.
Anyway, good luck with the farm. From the description of the location (Near RSW) it's not far from where my Brother's house is off US 41
UPS, Atlas, or Kalitta would be preferred carriers. The nose loading door on their 747F/SCD's may just be wide enough! To be serious, if she was in that bad of shape, an airplane is the last place she needs to be. She should have sought treatment in Hungary regardless of the cost. Better yet, stay home, or sell the vacation home and spend it on time in the fat farm getting healthier.
kevin swiss 1
I wonder if business class would have accommodated her better. At least the pitch is wider but there would not be a couple of seats that she could have used unlike coach.
Assuming Delta flies 767s on that route, the biz class seats wouldn't be wide enough, and they wouldn't be able to go 'two-wide' like they could in coach.
Too much information is lacking in this story. I don't care how fat you are, three seats accross is large enough to accommodate Andre the Giant. The problem is the pitch, or the distance between the rows. If you're too fat, you may not be able to fit between the rows, or even walk down the aisle. The only answer is the bulkhead row and most airlines now charge a premium for those seats. Obviously, this woman could never fit in the bathroom either, so where does IT go when she has to go. I believe this woman weighed far more than 425 lbs. and was not medically fit to fly. Anyhow, I live in Ecuador and if I need medical attention I will gladly put my trust into the hands of Ecuadorian MDs. Or, Hungarian doctors, if necessary. That's utter nonsense bouncing from Budapest to Prague to Frankfurt to get to New York. It's all too convoluted. Extradite the caregiver husband to wherever this lady died and expect that country to file neglect or manslaughter charges on him.
preacher1 1
In the daily mail link below, it also has some picture which give further explanation to this whole mess. To top things off, I really can't see where DAL has any involvement in this other than trying to accomodate her and couldn't, as they could not get her on the pane. If the story is correct they were just trying to do a favor for KLM.
Dee Lowry 1
Hey Toby...I think you should educate yourself on Commercial Airline Safety!
Why are you so bent out of shape? Like I said in my 1st post...she's not going to get in the way of your saving your ass! I bet you are the kind of passenger that will jump over a wheelchair, plow down the elderly and children, just to find your damn seat!!!
She should have called Mitt Romneny. When his dog couldn't fit in the car, he strapped him on the roof. When Ann's horse needed to get to London for the Olympics, she sent him there FedEx. I'm sure he'd have found a solution.
smoki 1
She should never have been allowed on a flight that took her far away from the medical attention she obviously required. If she was too large to be seated safely for the return flight then she should never have been seated for the outbound leg. Therein lies the responsibility factor that will no doubt be exploited by the legal team as strongly hinted by the lawyer.
Personal responsibility, people. Personal responsibility. Seems to have gone the way of the dodo.....
Presumably the passenger was approximately the same size and state of health when she tried to return home as when she flew to Europe. If the airlines could get her to Hungary, it seems that they should have been able to get her home. Perhaps the airline should have denied boarding in the USA to begin with if they would later be unable to return her to her home country.
preacher1 2
According to the story, if I read it right, she gained a massive amount of weight and/or size while in Hungary. My guess is a combination of the diabetes and needing dialysis.
ken young 1
Of course the guy is suing. I think his case has no merit.
There are so many questions. One, why did this woman not have an adequate supply of her medication? Why was said medication not available where she was located?
Why did they not take precautions in case their travel plans did not work out?
Why did she gain weight knowing full well it could jeopardize her ability to fly?
Quite frankly I am sick and tired of aggrieved people attempting to use the civil courts as their a personal lottery terminal.
"Loser Pays" would put a stop to this nonsense.
euronorb 1
Should have booked with Atlas Air, she could have been loaded Into one of their 747 freighter's
Peter Mast 1
I have to think that Delta's going to paying something here. The problem will be that they weren't able to clearly identify when/if she met qualifications to fly. They had her on the first flight before deciding she couldn't stay on it, and then sent her to another airport that didn't have a way to meet her needs. That will get them. Plus, their travel agent alerted Delta to her condition when buying the ticket.
On the flip side, the UK article shows she only had one leg as well. So not only did they have to get her on the plane, they had to do it with a wheel chair and figure out how to get her from the wheelchair to the seat. Not fun. Delta should have turned her away from the start, if they couldn't figure out how to accomindate her.
Several years back my wife and I were seated with such a woman on a four hour flight from BOS to IAH. The lady occupied the window and, due to her girth, half the middle seat. Naturally, the arm rest could not be lowered. Rather than balking, my wife, who tops the scales at just over a hundred, helped accommodate her, including allowing her to use her tray table during meal service. (I said it was a long time ago.) The plane in use was a Continental Airlines B737. Not long ago, in response to a complaint about restrictions on carry-on luggage, I recall Continental telling the press that Continental was not Allied Van Lines. I agree! So who flew her to Budapest in the first place? That/those airlines are caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place, because she should not have been accommodated to begin with. Her husband, no doubt, enabled her obesity, and he should get no more than a one dollar judgement. (The shyster taking the case is entitled to 30 cents.)
A few assumptions for which the only convictions will occur in the court of opinion. The husband didn't eat anything she did. I don't know what her medical issues were or how they might affect her obesity. The lawyer probably has the job on contingency at 35%. The question of how did she get there to begin with was mentioned in the article but went unanswered. Seems to me if you fit going over you'd fit coming back. By my estimates three seats would span over 52". A person with a beam that size would not easily fit in the isle to get to their seat, so it fits that she could not be boarded, but then how did they know she would not fit in a 3 seat combination if they could not board her. Too many inconsistencies and too much missing information. They just don't write like they used to.
im 6'5" and 460 pounds,and no..i dont shovel foods into my gapping yaw...i have a medical problem thats causing uncontroled wieght gain,plus im disabled and cannot exercise at all..BUT..i can fit in a not 3 seats wide..WTH? narrow ARE the seats on planes?that maybe the issue here,are the seats on airplane so narrow that they are fit for people like twiggy only?...has the need for bulimia and anorxia come back? if you dont wiegh under 120pounds and are 5'2" inches tall. you cant fly now cause yer too BIG?
its a mute point for me anyway,even if i did wiegh only 200,or 195 again,i would NOT fly commercail anyway...the TSA has ruined that for me..ill take a charter flight from an uncontroled airport,with a private carrierbefore ill ever pass through those criminals hands,and if im in the states..ill just use a train or my car...
bigbill3111 1
WHAT medical problem is there that causes "uncontrolled" weight gain ?
preacher1 2
Well, they alluded to her diabetes and kidney problems. Kidneys could have done it if she needed but didn't have dialysis, but it just seems to me that there is a whole lot more to this story than is being told. I guess it will all come out at the trial if it goes that far.
"if you dont wiegh under 120pounds and are 5'2" inches tall. you cant fly now cause yer too BIG?"

Honestly, 180-250 you're fine. Nobody is asking you to be a 120lb grown man, so why be defensive about it?
Anna Loh 4
I'm not a big person, but I can understand why someone who is large because of a medical condition would take offense to many of the remarks posted here and I feel for them. Even though there is a lot of truth to many of these remarks. The point is this woman had other options, such as not leave the country for a vacation, or get medical attention in Hungary. It's sad that she died because of her condition, but it is illogical to try and blame the airlines for it.
Maybe the government should force the airlines to have 3 foot wide moving sidewalk with 4 foot wide seats. A 747 should be able to carry at least 50 people in this configuration. I guess they would have to charge 10 times as much for a ticket, or maybe the government would pay the difference. It is not this poor woman's fault for being overweight, or her husband, it is all the greedy corporations that force us to eat the unhealthy fast food. Sue everyone and make the government pay for our health insurance. And that's all I have to say about that. I'm going to McDonald's.
The airline is entitled to set limitations on size of occupants, weight, and restrictions on use of and for the prevention of damage to its equipment subject to federal law and protections, and linked also to subsidy payments so we call all fly for a reasonable amount of money, taking all risks and factors into account. I wonder how this would apply to a foreigner on an airline owned in whole or in part by a U.S. company? But I can tell you as a lawyer of 23 years practice: when somebody dies, somebody is getting sued. Period.
jet4ang 1
Of course, how else would anyone make free cash over someone that is morbidly obese and half dead anyway???
Yeah - those damn fat people - we can make fun of them still. I mean its not okay to make fun of people of color or gender or nationality... because we don't want to offend anyone. I mean, its a hate crime to use the "N" word...

But make fun of fat people... HELL YEAH BABY - its the one last ditch place to make fun of people. Hell, sure- they might be sick or have a problem that made them fat, or maybe just an eating problem - but hey They are easy targets - after all, its not like they can chase you down and hit you back

Isn't it nice when mankind can be cruel and there is no way for a person to defend themselves? :)
Oh, and we know it doesn't hurt them, right, because they are so fat they probably cant feel anything anyway!!!!


Isn't it funny to watch fat people!!!

when is society going to finally disallow making fun of people with a weight problem?
Jimmy Reagan -2
Lot's of really mean comments on this one.
She should have flown first class, at least the meals have some nutritional value and she could probably fit into the seat unlike the plastic served in coach. I think it would be interesting to see how she fit onto the plane going if she couldn't fit into a row of seats 3 across. My proposal to the airlines is to have an exercise room in the back of the plane for pax and for the crew because both are in desoperate need. Thats one way to solve the issue.
preacher1 2
Though the rest of the comment makes no sense, FCP does ask a very legitimate question here though: "I think it would be interesting to see how she fit onto the plane going if she couldn't fit into a row of seats 3 across." That is the unanswered and one I am sure that will be asked or come out in court somewhere.
preacher1 2
And there is some liability, I would think, if there was a round trip ticket issued. It may not be anywhere near right but I'll bet that's what it will base on.
That could have very well been a service agent issue...No matter which company you go to or choose to do business conducts business the exact same way system wide...One location may be more than happy to assist you while another may say piss off...Maybe going out she was FIT for flight but knowing the fact that she was sick trying to get back home maybe she was just to far gone...Lots of people go on trips and get sick however whenever you are that big and become immobile you really don't have any options...I really don't see how this is Delta's fault because no one wants the liability of having a critically ill person on there flight; that is why they have air ambulances....Regardless of the cost her husband should have tried to get her help where they were or called home and seeked help for the situation.
I'm not criticizing, rather observing. There are a lot of definite maybe's in your comment. That screams to me that there is a lot of this story unwritten. As I said above 3 seats are 52 inches plus. The isle is not at least in coach. It doesn't sat if she was flying 1st class or not. It leaves a lot of things out, more questions than come to my mind. I can say with authority and certainty that a lot of the decision is up to the flight crew.
jet4ang 1
If you're a pilot, then go back to school and learn how to spell.
Toby Sharp -2
your comment makes zero sense


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