Etihad to fight ‘fat passenger’ law suit

James Bassos, of Brisbane, is suing the Abu Dhabi-based airline in the Queensland state District Court over a permanent back injury he says he suffered while trying to avoid his fellow passenger on the 2011 flight.


After five hours of pain and discomfort, he asked to be moved, but was told the flight was full, he said.

Etihad… refuses to release the identity of the adjoining passenger – which if revealed – will make the extent of seat invasion it insisted Mr Bassos endure for the 14 hour flight, plain for all to see. The 38-year-old interior designer is claiming $227,000 Australian dollars ($166,000) for medical expenses and lost earnings.

The papers added: “After repeated requests of cabin crew, Mr Bassos was given limited access to a crew seat, but was still required to spend long stretches of time in a position which he claims caused a back injury and aggravation of an existing back condition”.

Mr Bassos is claiming damages for personal injuries.

AFP A 2014 picture shows Economy Smart Seat of the new A380 aircraft of the UAE airline carrier Etihad Airlines.

Etihad say the safety and comfort of passengers is of “paramount importance”.

Etihad tried to have the case thrown out, arguing that it was not unusual to have overweight passengers taking up too much space, or passengers who coughed during a flight.

Judge Kingham has ordered him to take a medical exam as part of the case.

“Etihad Airways will continue to oppose the action and now that Mr Bassos will finally face a medical assessment in December 2015, as directed by court, we believe that the matter will proceed to an early conclusion”, an Etihad Airways spokeswoman said on Friday.

In published reasons, Kingham said she was not convinced Bassos had no chance of winning.


Mr Bassos claims he still suffers back pain and his sleep and concentration have been adversely affected.

Man sues Etihad Airways over 'injury' from sitting next to obese passenger