Man Who's 'Too Fat to Fly' Stranded When Airline Won't Fly Him Home

Say What!? 12

airplane interiorA 22-year-old was left stranded in the Chicago airport this week when British Airways decided he was too fat to fly home. Kevin Chenais is 500 pounds, and he was only in the Midwest to visit a clinic for his hormone disorder. But why he's there doesn't really matter, does it? It's how he got there.

Because here's the thing: Kevin Chenais flew to the United States from France. On a British Airways flight.

And according to his parents, he was just as big on the trip here.

Only now the airline says they can't send him home, releasing the follow statement to the media:

The British Airways team worked tirelessly to try and find a solution for the family but unfortunately we cannot safely accommodate the customer on any of our aircraft.

Funny, it seems they could safely accommodate him the first time around. The airline won't comment on whether they offered Chenais the chance to buy a second seat to accommodate his girth, but this case once again brings up the biggest problem with airlines and the folks who are being deemed "too fat to fly."

The rules are few and far between, and they're applied willy nilly.

Remember Kevin Smith, the movie director kicked off a Southwest flight because he couldn't comfortably fit in a seat? As he was being thrown off, he mentioned noting a "fellow fatty" (his words) who was bigger than him and allowed to stay on the flight.

Then there was Kenlie Tiggeman, the overweight passenger told she was too big for a Southwest flight who was given travel vouchers by the airline. Ahem, she's too big for your supposed airline restrictions, so the answer is to tell her she can take a later flight ... on your airline? Talk about your mixed messages!

That's what Kevin Chenais has gotten too. He wasn't too big when he flew in, but he's too big now? At around the same weight, and with the same health restrictions (he requires oxygen)?

Whether you think folks who are on the larger side should be required to buy two seats or grounded permanently or whatever it is you really feel about the obese, the fact remains that airlines need to make up their minds about how they want to deal with them, and then stick to their darn story. No more back and forth!

Have you ever had trouble getting on a flight? What happened?


Image via angeloangelo/Flickr



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cmjaz cmjaz

Airlines weight requirements are very strict. Meaning luggage, passengers, crew and fuel have a max limit. If there are far less passengers on another flight, a large persons weight is okay on that particular flight. I can't imagine they wouldnt fly them out AT ALL though. I figured just a different flight. That's crazy

work4... work4mickey

Because it's medical (hormone disorder and requires oxigen) I believe the airline is in for quite a lawsuit.

I admit, I was about to get all judgey when I read 500 pounds. But he apparently has a hormone dissorder. This means that even charging him for an extra seat could be deemed discrimanatory.

I can see saying "This flight is already too close to capacity." But there is no reason they can't get him onto another flight.

As a general rule though, IF they are going to add restrictions to the obese, the limits need to be concrete, so they can be anticipated. For instance, all passengers over 250 must purchase an extra ticket, pay extra cargo fees, ect.

youth... youthfulsoul

When will they realize they need to make large enough seats to accommodate heavier people and charge accordingly. Instead of prohibiting or embarrassing people when half of America is overweight. 

nonmember avatar Jess

Airlines want over weight people to buy two seats but then they can't even garantee that you will get two seats or get two seats together. Flying is just horrible now a days.

BeccaLS BeccaLS

I think it would have been perfectly reasonable to make him pay for a second seat, because being 500 pounds he would obviously need one to be comfortable. But to say that he can't fly at all? That's just wrong. Even if they were at the weight capacity then they should have gotten him on a later flight.

lulou lulou

If he's making the trip all the way here to see specialized docs, perhaps they found something detrimental to the safety of his flying home.

Cynthia Bennett

OMG how is he going to get home?

nonmember avatar J

I believe if you can't fit in one seat with the arm rest down, then you need to purchase a 2nd seat. Period. How is it fair that I paid just as much as you did but I get 1/2 a seat and have to hug the bar on the other side? I don't care if you are big and fly but pay for the room you are taking up. It's not fair to others.

BeccaLS BeccaLS

J, I agree with you but that wasn't the problem in this case - they wouldn't let him pay for a second seat.

Robin Hilliker

they didn't tell him he couldn't fly just because he was 500lbs it was that coupled with the fact that he needs to be on oxygen24/7 along with having other medical issues that make it so he needs 24/7 access to  medical care and even if he did fly to the u.s. on the same airline that was a year and a half ago we don't know how much weight he has gained in that time or if his medical issues were the same then 

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