Traveller 'too large' to fly on plane

A 32-stone Black Country man told today how he was thrown off a transatlantic flight for being too big.

Traveller 'too large' to fly on plane

A 32-stone Black Country man told today how he was thrown off a transatlantic flight for being too big.

Sandy Russell, who is registered disabled, burst into tears after being ordered off the packed jet by a stewardess minutes before take-off because he was taking up too much room.

The decision denied the 32-year-old from Wolverhampton of an opportunity to say goodbye to his dying aunt Judy, who lived in Canada and was suffering from cancer. She died two days later.

Mr Russell, who was removed from the Air Transat flight to Toronto at Gatwick on June 12, was told he could only get on another plane to make the journey if he bought two seats — but he could not afford the £928 bill.

He said: "I went through the normal check-in procedure and was allowed to board the plane.

"The stewardess told me to keep the arm rest up as I sat down and remarked 'That does not look very comfortable for you. Let me see if I can get you another seat'.

"She returned and said 'Follow me.' I thought she was going to take me to another seat but she walked off the plane.

"As soon as we got outside she said 'I am sorry but you can't fly with us because there are no other seats available and you can't sit in the one you have been given because the arm rest does not come down'."

He was then handed back to the original boarding staff.

"They marched me back through passport control as everybody else stared," he said. "I was humiliated."

Air Transat have refunded the cost of his ticket. A spokesman said: "The arm rest would not go down and separate Mr Russell from the lady beside him. He was taking up more than a third of her seat."

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