Corpulent Passenger Crushes Woman

October 23, 2009

in Portly Stories

I was flying from Los Angeles to Seattle in first class. My husband was on one side of the aisle and I was on the other so I asked the person sitting next to him if he’d switch with me so my husband and I could sit together. They agreed and we switched. A few minutes later an extremely obese man boarded the plane. He must have been almost 400 pounds. He, of course, sat in front of me and immediately broke the seat. He was literally in my lap. My legs were crushed and the back of his head was almost in my face. I asked him to please sit up. To at least try to not lean back on the seat and he completely ignored me. At this point the plane started to taxi for take off and the flight attendants ignored my calls for help. I was actually in pain.

When we were airborne the attendants approached me and told me to “shut up.” That there were no other seats available and that I couldn’t stand for the flight and would have to sit there. I pointed out that my legs were literally crushed and I needed to get up and that it was a safety hazard – me being literally trapped in my seat and they said, ” He paid for his seat just like you and can recline it if he wants to.”  The man who switched seats with me to begin with was laughing and said, “Boy you must feel pretty stupid for switching seats!” I tried to explain that the obese guy had broken the seat. They ignored me. I said I’d sit in a jump seat. They said it was against regulations.

I sat with my legs over the side of the seat, hanging in the aisle and the attendants told me that I was creating a safety hazard and needed to sit properly. When I objected they warned me, “If you don’t stop right now we are going to have the police meet us at the gate and arrest you for causing a disturbance.” So I sat with my legs crushed. Unable to eat or drink as there was no place for the table to extend. It was truly a flight from hell.

I made complaints with the airline afterwards and was given free upgrade vouchers and a free flight. I was also told the flight attendants had been reprimanded. It still makes me mad to think about it.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

TheBigM October 24, 2009 at 12:17 am

At last a true flight from hell. I can't believe that the attendants could be so callous.


debbie October 24, 2009 at 2:31 am

Funny, I don't believe this story at all!


ps October 24, 2009 at 4:54 am

I've heard alot of stories but this, if true, takes the cake. I would think, even with a behemoth in front, you would still have wiggle room. First class ain't what it used to be but you still have extra space. Sorry, I kind of find this hard to believe.


Aaron October 24, 2009 at 8:20 am

Yeah. I don't believe it. It's not even good fiction.


Elodie October 24, 2009 at 8:50 am

Why is it that, when someone submits a story that just has some small, mundane issue, people are all, "This is a flight from hell, how? Whiner!", yet when someone does submit a story that has a horrible problem, people call it fake? Makes no sense…


debbie October 24, 2009 at 10:47 am

It makes no sence that the seat would be broken to the point of crushing someone. As a rule, when the flight pushes back from the gate, all seat backs and tray tables have to be up and locked. If this seat was leaning back, the flight attendant is required to notify the capt. and the seat would either be fixed or blocked and unusable. Thats why this story is BS.


Bruce Weatherby October 25, 2009 at 11:18 pm

I think the poster is leaving some parts out? Only telling one side of the story? For one, I don't think the flight attendants would tell somebody to "shut up" or threaten to have them met by the police at the gate without things having escalated to that point from something else.

Also, if her legs were truly being crushed, than she wouldn't have been able to move and be able put her feet over the edge of the seat. I doubt it was anymore being "crushed" than what any regular flight in economy is like. Cramped, but not "crushed"

I could be wrong, but I think this story was exaggerated over something less than described. It just doesn't add up.


Tori November 4, 2015 at 10:58 am

I Agree Bruce I work on ground Ops at the airport and know ll the rules and regultions, there are definitly parts missing in the story


madachode October 26, 2009 at 12:47 pm

If I were on the plane I would have told that*lut to shut up for sure.


Grouper October 27, 2009 at 6:02 am

You exaggerate. I fly at least 50-70 flights a year, and have dealt with similar situations, but this is total BS.


jasminechichi October 28, 2009 at 2:40 pm

I believe this is made up. It is hard to "break a seat"…overflow into another seat maybe, but not break one to where the person is in the lap of the passenger behind them. Even the attendants did not see the problem.

If this happens to be true, I think this was exaggerated and you were the one who was causing the problems and should have been told to shut up because you were causing a scene. It sounds as if the flight attendants saw no problem with the position of the seat, but saw a problem in how you were acting. You weren't happy in where you were assigned, got somebody to change their seat and didn't like the seat either. Was refused the jumpseat. Did you forget to ask for a seat beside the pilot???

I bet you will be up for sainthood…..


Hawaiian October 30, 2009 at 11:20 am

Total exaggeration… I've been on enough flights to know that FA's don't ever tell a passenger to "shut up!"


Bob October 30, 2009 at 10:05 pm

Hawaiian – "FA’s don’t ever tell a passenger to shut up!” huh? What about what the FA said to the passenger in this story: FA Asks Flier If He’s “Mentally Retarded”. Let's be realistic – FAs, like everyone else, can let frustrations get the better of them.


gabrielle November 17, 2009 at 4:37 am

In instances like this I would take pictures (if you have a camera with you or camera phone) so that it's not just a 'he said/she said' argument. You have physical proof of the safety regulations the airline attendants were breaking.



SHAFEDA December 9, 2009 at 1:47 am

We were on a DL MD11 from Bangkok to Taipei years ago in F. I reclined and the seat snapped. (I am not small, but far short of 400 lbs.) Fortunately, there were other seats available. But the point is, this can happen.


Southerngal January 30, 2011 at 8:03 pm

I believe it because the exact same thing happend to my in-laws on a Lufthansa flight from Austria several years ago. My father in-law rode with a man in his lap all the way from Austria to Atlanta. The FAs wouldn't do anything about and and when they wrote a letter to the airline all the got was a letter opener!


Mackiepest August 9, 2011 at 1:03 pm

And as everything was going on, OP’s husband was doing…..?


Realist November 5, 2014 at 12:47 am

Another BS story


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