In a highly unusual and undoubtedly humiliating incident on a British Airways flight, a plus-sized passenger found himself stuck in a first-class seat for nearly three hours after the plane landed in the UK from Nigeria.
No matter how well you might plan your next trip away, air travel can be beset with unexpected and sometimes embarrassing incidents — from a man urinating all over business class to a disgusting sock-stuffed seat, from a woman being publicly weighed in the airport to a hostess being beaten with an in-flight phone — we really have seen it all.
This week, however, a plus-sized British Airways passenger found themselves encountering a wholly unwanted obstacle, despite their best efforts to book a seat that could comfortably accommodate their ample size: the man found himself stuck in a first-class seat for nearly three hours after the plane landed in the UK from Nigeria and, perhaps unsurprisingly, quickly garnered the attention of several media outlets including The Sun and Business Insider.
WATCH: This isn’t the first shocking experience in British Airways’ illustrious history…
According to The Sun’s report, the passenger was wedged into seat 1A — a highly coveted seat at the very pointy end of the plane, typically reserved for Executive Club Gold cardholders. The flight, which had departed from Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, landed at London’s Heathrow Airport at 5.10 a.m., where the unusual and awkward debacle really began to take off.
Despite efforts from the cabin crew to calm the situation and assist the passenger, they were unable to shift him from the seat. This led to them calling the emergency services who began to devise a plan for his safe extraction. An engineering note, obtained and reviewed by The Sun, revealed the strategy to resolve the predicament, which read as follows:
“A volumetric passenger is stuck in seat 1A. The plan is to remove the suite door and use a hoist to eject [him] from the seat.”Anonymous Note From Emergency Srervices
Subsequently, the cabin crew executed the plan: the door was removed to enable a hoist access into the plane which was then used to lift the passenger from the seat and, thereafter, from the pane itself. While first-class seats in British Airways are renowned for their spaciousness — with Business Class Experts explaining that these seats are nearly two feet wide — it still managed to entrap the unfortunate passenger, raising questions about how well-equipped commercial planes are to handle larger passengers.
While British Airways is yet to issue comment on the incident, it follows hot on the heels of a controversial discussion about who should bear the cost of helping plus-sized passengers travel safely and comfortably. Back in April, we reported on a plus-sized passenger who called out US airlines for the shrinking width of aeroplane seats and her demands that airlines and taxpayers absorb the cost of additional seating.
While some outlets may choose to make light of an undeniably weighty issue, we think it prudent to remind them that as obesity levels continue to rise while airlines continue to seek space-saving measures for the sake of plumping-up profits, we’re likely to encounter stories of this kind again soon. Airlines can’t keep sawing off doors and craning passengers back to terminals, so what exactly will they do?