Suit Claims Man Injured by 14-Hour Flight Next to 'Obese' Passengers

An Australian man is suing American Airlines for more than $100K
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted May 6, 2017 9:56 AM CDT

(Newser) – A 67-year-old Australian man is suing American Airlines, claiming his seat assignment next to two "grossly obese" passengers during a 14-hour flight to Los Angeles left him with permanent injuries, News.com.au reports. Michael Taylor claims the body of the passenger seated next to him "spilt over and encroached" into his window seat during the December 2015 flight. According to the Telegraph, the lawsuit claims Taylor spent most of the long flight "crouching, kneeling, bracing, or standing" in an effort to get comfortable. Taylor, who was already dealing with painful scoliosis, says he asked numerous times to sit in a different seat, a crew seat, the aisle, or even the bathroom. He says he was told no by the flight crew.

Taylor's lawyers say the flight left him with back injuries and a bruised neck. Taylor is seeking more than $100,000 in damages, the Daily Telegraph reports. “The airline could have put me in a crew seat or moved people around, but they did nothing," he says. While American Airlines hasn't officially responded to the lawsuit, Taylor's flight was reportedly full and US regulations don't allow passengers to sit in jump seats meant for the crew. One of Taylor's lawyers says the lawsuit could force airlines to make their economy class cabins more comfortable. (In related news, American Airlines announced this week it will be shrinking legroom in economy cabins by up to 2 inches.)

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