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Thread: Are the airlines at fault?

  1. #11
    Community Host wlillie's Avatar
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    If her condition was so serious that she died in less than a week, she shouldn't have been flying in the first place, right?

    And Alissa,
    A seat or belt extender did not offer a solution, either,”

  2. #12
    Mega Poster mom3girls's Avatar
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    I do not believe that the airline has any culpability.
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    Posting Addict Spacers's Avatar
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    I have a coworker who is severely obese. She used to carry her own seat belt extender with her when she flew, but most airlines don't allow that anymore. Now she would have to purchase two seats, which our employer won't pay for, so now she just doesn't travel anywhere she can't drive.
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  4. #14
    Community Host Alissa_Sal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wlillie View Post
    If her condition was so serious that she died in less than a week, she shouldn't have been flying in the first place, right?

    And Alissa,
    A seat or belt extender did not offer a solution, either,”
    I'm sorry, I'm totally confused. I thought the time line of the story (from reading the first article) went that with the first flight (the one that they arranged for when they made the round trip arrangements) - there was a problem with the seat back.

    With the next flight (on a different airline) they could not physically get her on the plane, which is why that time there was no issue with the seat belt.

    From the OP:

    First flight (on KLM):
    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.
    2nd flight (on Delta)
    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.
    3rd flight (on Lufthansa)

    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.
    (Unclear as to whether they had extenders for her to use or not.)

    Am I overthinking things? I thought that the problem with flight that she originally booked the round trip for was about the seat back, and then the problem with Delta was getting her on the plane, and then the problem with Lufthansa was belts? I don't blame Delta and Lufthansa, by the way, only KLM since that was who orginally sold her the round trip ticket and then couldn't come through.
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  5. #15
    Posting Addict GloriaInTX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alissa_Sal View Post
    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?
    It also said (I edited at the same time you posted) that the belt extender did not offer a solution. Which would make me think it no longer fit her, and they didn't have a larger one. One article said 407 lbs and the other says 425 lbs but it isn't really clear if that is how much she gained. If it barely fit I think 20 lbs could make a difference.

    “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.
    Also on the other flight, the seat was able to accomodate her but they couldn't get her from her wheelchair into the seat. Not the airlines fault.

    Finally, the agent said they could get on an Oct. 22 Lufthansa flight to New York via Frankfurt, which would be able to accommodate her size.

    Then trouble struck again.

    On the plane, the crew, with help from the local fire department, was unable to move her from her wheelchair to the three seats assigned to her.

    The captain ordered them off after 30 minutes of no success.

    “We had 140 passengers on board, and they had connections and needed to travel,” said Lufthansa spokesman Nils Haupt. “The question was never the seat belt. The question was the mobility of the passenger.”
    Last edited by GloriaInTX; 11-28-2012 at 04:29 PM.
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  6. #16
    Community Host Alissa_Sal's Avatar
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    Haha, I'm still confused about the time line and different reasons of the events, but if the problem was that the same seat belt (with extender) that fit on the way there no longer fit on the way back, I agree that KLM is not at fault.

    I also do not think that Delta or Lufthansa are at fault, since they did not sell her the orginal round trip ticket.
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  7. #17
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    I do not really have an opinion on who's fault it is, but I do feel bad for her (before she died) and others like her.

    ~Bonita~

  8. #18
    Posting Addict ClairesMommy's Avatar
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    I am uncertain, based on the conflicting statements in the article, whether or not an extender was available. In any event, Hungary is hardly a 3rd world country and any skilled ER would have easily determined kidney failure especially when informed by the husband that she was diabetic and undergoing treatment (I'm assuming dialysis for her failing kidneys). Their choice to try to return to the US instead of seeking immediate medical help when her condition worsened is the reason why she died when she did (although she likely didn't have much time left to begin with). If her treatment in the US was part of ongoing care, as the article Gloria cited said she'd been treated by those doctors for years, then I think their lawyer is doing a good job of spinning her routine care into some kind of live-saving, last ditch emergency procedure. I'm sure there are plenty of obese, diabetic Hungarians undergoing dialysis.

  9. #19
    Posting Addict GloriaInTX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alissa_Sal View Post
    Haha, I'm still confused about the time line and different reasons of the events, but if the problem was that the same seat belt (with extender) that fit on the way there no longer fit on the way back, I agree that KLM is not at fault.
    I really think that is what happened. It says she was in the airport for 5 hours after, so if it was just a matter of not having an extender on that particular plane I think they could have found one by then. I think the ones they had no longer were big enough. She must have gained enough weight to go over the limits on the seat also, since I'm sure the seats were the same. It says it was water weight, when my sister was pregnant she gained 40 lbs in a week once in water weight and went from 160-200 lbs. They had to put her on some kind of diuretic pills and it went back down. If she was 400 lbs and at the upper limits already even 40-50 lbs could make a big difference.

    They tried to fit her into the back of the plane, but they didn’t have an extension to secure her,' he said.

    She had gained weight due to her illness and the airline said it did not have a seat-belt extender for her, Mr Soltesz said.

    He was also told the seat back could not take his wife’s weight.

    Read more: Sick US woman died in Hungary after 'airline booted her off three New York flights because she was too fat to fly' | Mail Online
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  10. #20
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    The last 2 airlines I'm not placing any fault. They never promised accommodations and they tried their best.

    If first airline promised to return her home AND she had not changed size since she left the US. They are partially at fault. She paid for a ticket and they brought her there...they should be able to return her home.

    However, if it is true that she gained weight then what they promised is void. She was not in the same state as when she left.

    They are not 100% at fault as she could have sought care.

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