UK-based airline British Airways (BA) has escaped a payout after a passenger filed a court claim for £10,000, claiming that he had suffered injuries after being ‘forced’ to sit next to an obese man for a 12-hour flight from Bangkok to London.
Stephen Prosser claimed that having to sit next to the 23-stone man meant that he had to adopt an ‘unnatural pose’, and that he was ‘pinned against the side of the cabin’ for the duration of the flight.
“I could feel the weight of his bulk putting lateral pressure on my upper body,” he said. “This forced me to sit in a position of unnatural posture.”
The judge presiding over the case, however, ruled against Prosser, deciding that whatever the alleged injuries, the airline was not at fault. He dismissed the idea that there had been any ‘physical encroachment’, and said: “Having heard his evidence, I have formed the impression that Mr Prosser had expectations of his flight experience that were unrealistic, given the class of cabin that he chose.”
British Airways, which came under fire recently after the personal data of 382,000 customers was breached in a cyberattack, will no doubt be relieved at this result. Additionally, it could be argued that the dismissal of the case is positive from a consumer perspective; after all, those of advanced weight are as entitled as anybody else to go on holiday, and had the claimant won in this instance, it could have set a precedent that might have made life much more difficult for this demographic.