Are the airlines at fault?
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    Posting Addict boilermaker's Avatar
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    Default Are the airlines at fault?

    407-Pound Woman Denied Flights Home, Dies Abroad - Yahoo!

    The death of a 407-pound woman after being denied boarding on three flights was "preventable," according to an attorney for the woman's husband, who plans to pursue legal action against three airlines.

    Vilma Soltesz, 56, died of kidney failure on Oct. 24 in Hungary, where she and her husband, Janos Soltesz, took an annual vacation to a home they owned in their native country, said Soltesz' attorney, Holly Ostrov-Ronai.

    Soltesz, who had health problems, had been trying to get back to the United States, where she could see her doctors, Ostrov-Ronai said.

    The couple flew from New York City to Budapest by way of Amsterdam on KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. Soltesz, who had one leg, got on the flight with the help of an airlift, and used a seatbelt extender when seated, Ostrov-Ronai said, adding that the couple had "no issues at all."

    "KLM asked them when they would be flying home so that they could make proper arrangements," Ostrov-Ronai wrote in an email to ABCNews.com.

    When the couple went to the airport on Oct. 15 to board a KLM night flight home to New York, they were able to board. However, Ostrov-Ronai said the captain asked Vilma Soltesz to disembark because she could not be secured in her seat due to an issue with a seat back.

    "There was simply no legitimate reason in this instance for denying her boarding or forcing her to disembark," Ostrov-Ronai said. "Their failure to make simple accommodations, that had been made prior, led to Vilma's death. This is not best efforts in any regard."

    In a statement, KLM said "every effort" was made to help Soltesz.

    The couple waited at the airport for five hours while the airline made calls to find an alternative to accommodate Vilma Soltesz.

    They were advised to drive to Prague, where they could catch a "bigger plane" operated by Delta Airlines. When they arrived, Ostrov-Ronai said, the couple was told that Delta only had a plastic wheelchair that could not handle Vilma's weight and that there was no sky lift available to get her onto the plane.

    Delta spokesman Russel Cason offered the airline's "sincere condolences" for the passing of Vilma Soltesz.

    "Despite a determined good-faith effort by Delta in Prague, we were also physically unable to board her on our aircraft on Oct. 16. For this reason there was never an issue with the use of seat belt extenders," he said.

    The couple drove back to their home in Hungary and made another effort, this time through Lufthansa, to get back to the United States. When they boarded, they were forced to disembark by the captain, Ostrov-Ronai said, because Vilma was unable to fasten her seatbelt properly.

    The airline said it worked with local partners, the fire brigade and technical experts to accommodate Soltesz, but to no avail.

    "After several time-consuming attempts it was decided that for the safety of this passenger and the over 140 fellow passengers, Lufthansa had to deny transportation of the passenger," said a statement issued by the airline. "In order to avoid further delays which would have resulted in missed connections and severe inconvenience for other customers on board, this decision was unavoidable."

    Two days later, Vilma Soltesz died.

    "They passed these people around from airline to airline and treated them with no dignity whatsoever, simply because they didn't want to deal with the situation," Ostrov-Ronai said.

    She said Janos Soltesz plans to pursue a lawsuit against the three airlines that denied his wife passage home, where she desperately needed medical treatment.

    "Janos is heartbroken," Ostrov-Ronai said. "The only thing that keeps him going day to day is that he wants justice for what was done to Vilma and to try to make sure this doesn't happen to anyone else in the future."
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    Posting Addict GloriaInTX's Avatar
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    Nope. According to this article she gained weight during the month while she was there and the same accomodations that they made for the flight over no longer were enough. That is not the airlines fault.

    Vilma, who weighed about 425 pounds, had only one leg and used a wheelchair. She traveled with her husband of 33 years to Hungary on Delta and KLM airlines on Sept. 17.

    They spent several relaxing weeks at a vacation home they owned in the Hungarian countryside. It was a trip they took almost every year.

    Before the journey, their travel agent informed Delta of Vilma’s condition and bought two tickets for her and one for Janos.

    They planned to come home Oct. 15 so Vilma could resume treatment with the doctors she had been seeing for years.

    But the couple, both natives of Hungary, were told Vilma couldn’t be accommodated by KLM after they boarded the jet home, Janos said.

    “They tried to fit her into the back of the plane, but they didn’t have an extension to secure her,” Janos, 56, said.

    Her illness, a combination of kidney disease and diabetes, caused her to gain water weight, and the airline said it didn’t have a seat-belt extender for her, Janos said.

    He was also told the seat back couldn’t handle his wife’s weight.

    “It appeared on the passenger’s return that it was not physically possible for her to board the aircraft, despite every effort made by KLM to this end. A seat or belt extender did not offer a solution, either,” said KLM spokeswoman Ellen van Ginkel.
    EXCLUSIVE: Ailing, obese Bronx woman dies after three airlines refuse to fly her back home from Hungary - NYPOST.com
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    Community Host wlillie's Avatar
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    100% their fault; the passengers. If you are in Kidney failure and decide to take a trip knowing you need all sorts of special accomodations and said trip is to a country that can't help you with your kidney failure, then we are finally letting Darwinism work. At 407lbs, I don't think her doctor could have helped her if she'd gotten to them. At least it'll be the airlines having to deal with this man's stupidity and not
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    It seems like the airline knew what was needed to fly them out there - they should have ensured that they were able to do the same on the way back or else not sold them the tickets.

    How sad.
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    I don't see how they are at fault. She was a 407-pound woman with existing health concerns and only one leg. I'm surprised she was allowed on the first flight. Maybe she had been cleared by her doctor. They should have stayed in Hungary and waited for another KLM airplane the next day. And why did she not see a doctor in Hungary when she got sicker?
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    Wait, I am unclear from Gloria's article - were her needs different on the way back than on the way there? If so, then I change my answer.
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    Posting Addict GloriaInTX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spacers View Post
    And why did she not see a doctor in Hungary when she got sicker?
    Exactly. Why is it the airlines fault that they didn't trust the doctors? If she was that sick she should have went anyway.

    So they again went back to the vacation home to make other arrangements as Vilma became sicker and sicker.

    Neither trusted the doctors in Hungary, especially because they wouldn’t be familiar with her lengthy medical history, Janos said.

    “She was very ill and did not trust that the hospitals in former communist Hungary could attend to her needs,” Ronai said.

    Janos found Vilma dead two days later and buried her in Hungary.
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    Posting Addict GloriaInTX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alissa_Sal View Post
    Wait, I am unclear from Gloria's article - were her needs different on the way back than on the way there? If so, then I change my answer.
    That's what I got from it. It said that she gained weight and the extender no longer fit her.

    “It appeared on the passenger’s return that it was not physically possible for her to board the aircraft, despite every effort made by KLM to this end. A seat or belt extender did not offer a solution, either,” said KLM spokeswoman Ellen van Ginkel.
    Last edited by GloriaInTX; 11-28-2012 at 04:10 PM.
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    Community Host Alissa_Sal's Avatar
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    Assuming she had the same needs on the way there and back, I do think that the airline is partially at fault.

    Let's say that I am wheelchair bound, and I make it clear to the airline when I buy a round trip that I need special accomodations for my wheelchair. The airline agrees to this, and sells me a round trip ticket. They get me to my destination just fine, but then on the way back they suddenly can't because they don't have any wheelchair accessible planes. Is this my fault or the airline's fault? I think it is the airlines fault, since they knew my needs and agreed to them when they sold me the ticket.

    Now, if her needs changed due to her gaining weight (how much weight could she have gained in a month?) to something that the airline didn't originally plan for, and that's why they couldn't fly her back, then I agree the airline is not responsible.

    ETA: Clarification - I don't think that the airline is at fault that she died, but I do think they are at fault for not being able to fly her back. Assuming her needs weren't different on the way back than they were on the way there.
    Last edited by Alissa_Sal; 11-28-2012 at 04:15 PM.
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    Community Host Alissa_Sal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GloriaInTX View Post
    That's what I got from it. It said that she gained weight and the extender no longer fit her.
    It didn't say that an extender no longer fit her, it said:

    “They tried to fit her into the back of the plane, but they didn’t have an extension to secure her,” Janos, 56, said.
    That could mean that they didn't have any extenders, not that the one they used before no longer fit. I mean, how much weight could she have gained in a month that an extender would fit on the flight out, but not on the flight back?
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