A sickly, 425-pound woman reportedly deemed "too fat to fly" died after being denied a spot on three separate flights from Hungary.
In October, Vilma Soltesz, 56, was attempting to travel home to the Bronx in New York City after spending several weeks on vacation with her husband in Hungary. According to The New York Post Soltesz was told she couldn't board KLM, Delta and Lufthansa flights. The 425-pound woman, who suffered from both kidney disease and diabetes and used a wheelchair because she had only one leg, died nine days after allegedly being kicked off the first of the three New York-bound jets.
Vilma's husband, Janos, has filed a $6 million lawsuit against KLM and Delta, claiming that his wife was forced off the flights because of her weight, CBS New York reports.
Attorney Peter Ronai explained Soltesz's saga to CBS NY.
“She was first waiting in the airport for five hours, they then told her they wouldn’t accept her on the plane but that she should drive to Prague," he said. "She drove to Prague and they put her on the seat and they couldn’t belt her in so the captain came out of the cockpit and made her get off." When the couple finally found a flight, it was too late. “They finally found a flight in Vienna. Her husband went in to get her but she had already passed away in the bedroom.”
As the Daily Mail notes, the airlines involved issued statements about rejecting Soltesz as "too fat to fly" before her death.
“Delta and KLM did everything possible to assist the family,” read a statement from Delta. ”When KLM was unable to safely board Mrs. Soltesz in Budapest, it was determined she might be able to fly on the larger Delta aircraft out of Prague, but unfortunately that was not the case. Our records indicate Delta staff in Prague made repeated attempts for nearly an hour to board the customer, but they were unable to get her onboard the aircraft.”
Soltesz is not the only passenger reportedly deemed too fat for air travel.
Director Kevin Smith famously went on a Twitter rant after being kicked off a Southwest Airlines flight for being too fat in 2010. A New Orleans woman claimed that a Southwest Airlines attendant deemed her too fat to fly last Easter.
Some airlines consider obesity a medical condition and offer a free seat with an accompanying doctor's note, while others require the passenger to purchase a second ticket.