Passenger alleges ‘fat shame’ on Qantas flight despite exit-row rules

Published on : Thursday, May 23, 2019

A flier on Australian airline Qantas has alleged that the airline has “fat shamed” him after asking him to move from an exit row due to his size.


A Qantas crew member “belittled” Darren Beales in front of his fellow passengers, according to Beales’ account of the incident.


She said that if passengers are “disabled” or “require an extended seat belt,” airline regulations wouldn’t allow them to sit in an exit row.


The situation embarrassed him. “I was just seeing everyone around me looking to find out what was going on,” he recounted to the media.


Beales didn’t know that those who needed seat-belt extensions couldn’t sit in exit rows. However, Qantas lists this rule on its website.


According to the site, “In order to sit in an exit row seat, you must not require the use of an infant/extension seat belt.”


“What I paid for was the extra leg room, which I never received,” Beales said. “I could have helped in an emergency,” he added.


A Qantas spokesperson said in a statement: “(Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority) provides guidance to airlines on the criteria for appropriate passengers to be seated in exit rows. Customers seated in an exit row may be called upon to assist crew members in the event of an emergency. If passengers are unable to meet this criteria, airlines, including Qantas, will ask passengers to change seats. Customers who purchase an exit row seat are told they must satisfy the requirements during the booking process.”

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