James Bassos, a 38-year-old airline passenger from Brisbane, Australia, has brought a lawsuit against Abu Dhabi-based Etihad for an unusual reason.
It seems as though Bassos experienced some unusual injuries as a result of being sat next to an unnamed obese person on a 2011 flight from Dubai to Sydney.
The obese person reportedly hacked, coughed, and “expelled fluid from his mouth,” making the ride extremely uncomfortable for the Australian.
In an effort to escape the man’s germs, James had to “contort and twist” his body in an unnatural way due to the man’s weight, and as a result, he ended up sustaining back injuries.
“After repeated requests to the 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,” the suit reads, according to Opposing Views.
In comments to the Daily Mail, the attorney for James Bassos, Peter Carter, wanted to emphasize that the issue was between his client and Etihad, and that the obese person was not named in the paperwork.
“James Bassos has no complaint against the unidentified passenger whose enormous body mass invaded his seat space,” Carter said, adding that the airline should have allowed him to find another seat.
Carter also expressed his frustration with Etihad for withholding key information in the case, noting that “the extent of seat invasion [Etihad] insisted Mr. Bassos endure for the 14-hour flight plain” would make his lawsuit more understandable.
For the airline’s part, they won’t necessarily face any liability as an outcome of the case. James Bassos must still undergo medical checks in December 2015 to determine the extent of his health issues. A judge in Brisbane has refused Etihad’s move to have the case dismissed.
The company also released a statement showing they have no intention of backing down.
“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. The safety and comfort of Etihad Airways’ passengers and crew is of paramount importance and the airline has a zero tolerance policy towards unruly behavior.”
This isn’t the first time that Etihad has been in the news, with a union representing flight attendants accusing the company of firing women for becoming pregnant in April 2015.
Etihad fought back against those allegations. According to Aubrey Tiedt, the company’s vice president of guest services, Etihad allows pregnant crew members to continue working on their flights for the first three months of pregnancy, but after three months, they must “either voluntarily resign or move to a ground job.” The company also provides paid maternity leave, Tiedt said.
So what do you think about the lawsuit of James Bassos, readers — frivolous or justified? Sound off in the comment section.
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