Obese Woman Booted From 3 Flights Didn't Need to Die (VIDEO)

Heartbreaking 20

vilma janos solteszA 56-year-old woman from the Bronx named Vilma Soltesz didn't have to die. If only she had been able to board a flight from Hungary to New York, where she could get medical treatment for her kidney disease and diabetes, she may not have died. But because she and her husband were turned away from three different flights, Vilma was unable to get the medical treatment she required and passed away. SO horrible.

What makes absolutely no sense to me is that Vilma -- who was considered obese at over 400 pounds, had one leg, and used a wheelchair -- was able to somehow fly from New York to Hungary in September. And although her travel agent had purchased two plane seats for her, which were both required in order for her to fly, when she and husband Janos boarded a flight home, they were told the airline could not accommodate the ill woman because of her size, according to The New York Post.

Janos says KLM Royal Dutch Airlines attributed the problem to the fact that the airline didn't have a seatbelt extender. So the couple drove five hours to Prague to take a Delta flight. Once they arrived, the airline told them its plastic wheelchair couldn't carry her weight and she couldn't ride on the sky-lift elevator, because apparently the elevator couldn't handle her weight. Ultimately, Delta said in a statement that they were "physically unable to board" her.

So, then, a week later, the couple was supposed to fly Lufthansa to New York via Frankfurt, but once again, Vilma couldn't be moved from her wheelchair to her assigned seats, and once again, they weren't able to fly. A Lufthansa spokesperson said, "The question was never the seat belt. The question was the mobility of the passenger." Wow.

And because Vilma didn't trust Hungary hospitals and doctors to treat her, she ended up dying two days later and was buried in Hungary. What an all-around, totally heartbreaking way for this to all go down ... And no wonder her husband is now taking legal action against the airlines.

In the end, I just hope that no one attempts to turn this into some kind of fearmonger-y, finger-waggy cautionary tale about obesity. To use Vilma's tragedy as an illustrated example of how out of control our obesity epidemic is. It sounds like the woman had many personal, unique health challenges and was perpetually, actively seeking health care to address her issues. We don't know how or why she ended up at 425 pounds, and it shouldn't matter. All that matters, especially now, is that the way her life ended was truly unfortunate.

Here, more details on the story from NBC ...


What's your take on this sad turn of events?


Image via http://nbcnewyork.com

general health, obesity


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silve... silverdawn99

obviously there was some issues that she couldnt fly. and honestly if she was in bad health she should have stayed in America. and it was her fault because there was hospitals there to treat her but she refused to go to them

Pinst... Pinstripes4

She was in Hungary for a month and longer, and to my understanding, she gained more weight. I understand the frustration they must have felt trying three times to board. However,the airlines did their best and they didn't want to accommodate her if she couldn't be safely strapped in according to regulations which are there for a reason. At one point, they tried to do so for over an hour to no avail. The fire department was called because she got stuck. This a tragedy but I hope the husband doesn't plan to sue like he said he would because it was truly not the fault of the airlines.

sweet... sweetcherry_59

No she didn't need to die but the family needs to accept some accountability. With her health so fragile she should have not traveled so far away from her primary care doctors. If she had never left in the first place and she would be alive today. The airlines couldn't accomidate her on the flights due to their concerns for the safety of ALL passengers, not just her. They have a duty to protect everyone on those planes, not just her. While it's tragic that she died, and I'm sorry her family is grieving her loss they don't have a place to sue the airlines.

missusmc missusmc

You're right; she didn't have to die.  She could have chosen to not refuse medical help while in Hungary.  The family should not sue- instead, this should be a lesson to everyone as to what happens when you mistreat and neglect your body for years- you simply do not live long, and your quality of life is less than those who do take care of themselves.  Also, if she was in that bad of shape(needing dialysis, an amputee, diabetic), and still able to travel at all, she was lucky.  Most aren't able to get out much, lt alone travel to another country.  

nonmember avatar Skinnyminny

From my understanding, the airlines did their best to try and accommodate the woman. That being said, her husband has no right to try and sue. Her weight was her choice. There may be very rare cases where medical problems cause weight gain, but very few illnesses cause somebody to weigh over 400 pounds. She chose to travel thousands of miles away, she chose to refuse medical care abroad, and she chose to weigh over 400 pounds. It's a harsh reality, but lawsuits aren't always the answer.

nonmember avatar Lexi jordan

After reading the story in the link I have 2 comments. 1) She should never have decided to travel. Clearly her health was terrible! What were they thinking? 2) None of the airlines are at fault. In the other article it clearly states that they all tried to help her! How is it their fault that she was too heavy for the lift or that she couldn't fit through the opening to get to the seats?

She also should have accepted medical treatment when she realized she wasn't going to make it back in time for her dialysis- that's sheer stupidity. B/C of that and the fact that it wasn't the airlines faults, this case will be thrown out. My condolences to the family though.

lulou lulou

Im torn on this one.  Agree with the not travelling in the first place, if you are that ill.  But it sounds like the first airline did drop the ball based on  2 tickets were purchased (guessing this was not cheap) and working witha travel agent, that they would have pre-informed the airline of the condition of the passenger/requirement of the extender, and simply provided it for the next available KLM flight.

Karlys Koens

What on earth was she doing traveling in the first place if she was in such bad health? And if she didn't want any medical care in Hungary, why didn't they pursue medical transportation back to the states? A person shouldn't be flying on a commercial plane if their health is that precarious!

nonmember avatar Jennifer

I disagree with the opinion of this piece and agree with all of the above comments. Absolutely ridiculous that the husband would try to sue the airlines when the woman DECLINED perfectly acceptable medical attention (Its central Europe for Pete's sake, not a third world country) and shouldn't have been traveling so far in the first place. The airlines have every right to decline a passenger entry if they feel it is not in the best interest for ALL of the other passengers on board. If she was too heavy / too large / an obstruction or prevention in case of emergency exit, that's her own fault. Just because one pilot agreed to it, doesn't mean they all have to. And they CLEARLY tried.


I'm also wondering if her size could have caused other passengers to be bumped because her weight could have put the plane over the capacity limit. Airlines aren't going to lose that much money for one person. She was the one responsible for her health not others. Remember the trying to sue MacDonald for making him fat? It was up to her to be responsible for her health not the airline.

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