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US Airways Flier Stands for 7 Hours

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DET63

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It has emerged that a passenger was forced to stand during a seven-hour flight in July due to the very obese man sitting next to him. 57-year-old Arthur Berkowitz says that it was impossible to sit in his seat during the US Airways flight from Anchorage to Philadelphia due to the 400lb passenger in the seat next to him. He explains that the obese man was so big that he impeded his personal space.
Berkowitz says he couldn’t move to a different seat because the plane was so full, so he had to stand the entire way. The obese man was very sorry, and the first thing he did was apologise that he was a flier’s worst nightmare. The unfortunate passenger added that the ordeal presented a safety risk, as he couldn’t use his seatbelt during takeoff or landing.
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Anderson

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Why didn't he just go to the cafe?

Edit:

...wait, right, wrong travel method there. Go me.
 
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Devil's Advocate

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I couldn't find any legitimate (i.e. non-tabloid) source for this incident. Considering that the fines for this sort of thing are likely to be steep and that this sort of disruption would have been noticed long before departure I sincerely doubt this happened as written if at all.
 

PRR 60

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I couldn't find any legitimate (i.e. non-tabloid) source for this incident. Considering that the fines for this sort of thing are likely to be steep and that this sort of disruption would have been noticed long before departure I sincerely doubt this happened as written if at all.
I tend to agree with you. The alleged incident occurred in July. Why is it just coming out now: over four months after the fact? Given how fastidious flight attendants are about pre takeoff and pre-landing safety checks, I find it hard to believe that they just ignored a guy who complained about not being able to wear a seat belt, much less not being able to properly sit.

I'm filing this one with some of the weird Amtrak claims that come out every so often - in the dumpster.
 

fairviewroad

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Here's a more mainstream news outlet's account of this incident, including a statement from the airline. The airline

flack doesn't really seem to "get" what happened though. As far as why it's only coming out now, it's because the

passenger tried to resolve his complain through normal channels, but was unsatisfied with the resolution offered

by the airline.

http://abcnews.go.com/US/passenger-forced-stand-obese-flyer-takes-seat/story?id=15017545#.Ts_gXlY8f_A

[The video report that accompanies this is unrelated to the article.]
 

PRR 60

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Here's a more mainstream news outlet's account of this incident, including a statement from the airline. The airline

flack doesn't really seem to "get" what happened though. As far as why it's only coming out now, it's because the

passenger tried to resolve his complain through normal channels, but was unsatisfied with the resolution offered

by the airline.

http://abcnews.go.com/US/passenger-forced-stand-obese-flyer-takes-seat/story?id=15017545#.Ts_gXlY8f_A

[The video report that accompanies this is unrelated to the article.]
The other way to look at it: US Airways examined his complaint, checked with the ground staff at ANC and the flight crew, and found his story lacking. They offered him $200 goodwill. He wants more.

First, this is not some poor slob who just rolled off the turnip truck. He's the president of a building products company in the Philadelphia area. He knows the way business works. Here's my theory (and that's all it is):

- He played the DYKWIA card at ANC to get an upgrade to F and failed (strike one), then;

- he got a COS seated next to him, adding insult to injury (strike two), and;

- decided to create a public stink four months after the fact after US did not offer him complimentary CP status or some similar deal as compensation (strike three).

Someone who truly had this happen wouldn't have dickered around for four months. They would have run to the FAA the next day. That's what I would do. Standing through a flight and not wearing a seatbelt during takeoff and landing are major safety violations. He did not contact the FAA. He kept ping-ponging with US for more compensation. His claim that he told the crew he could not use his seat belt and the crew did not care is so preposterous that, in my mind, it makes the rest of the story not credible. I've seen IDB cases due to seatbelt issues.

My guess, there is a whole lot less to this story than is being reported. It smells like a shakedown to me.
 
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tp49

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I agree too. There is no way that plane would have left the ground if he did not fasten his seat belt for take off or landing and the crew knew about it.
 

Anderson

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In this vein, I've got a camera that doubles as a video camera, and such cameras and/or phones with such a capability are almost ubiquitous. If there was a legitimate claim here, I'd expect to see photos/video of the situation.
 

George Harris

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First, this is not some poor slob who just rolled off the turnip truck. He's the president of a building products company in the Philadelphia area. He knows the way business works. Here's my theory (and that's all it is):

- He played the DYKWIA card at ANC to get an upgrade to F and failed (strike one), then;

- he got a COS seated next to him, adding insult to injury (strike two), and;

- decided to create a public stink four months after the fact after US did not offer him complimentary CP status or some similar deal as compensation (strike three).

. . .

My guess, there is a whole lot less to this story than is being reported. It smells like a shakedown to me.
I think you got it. "Self-important jackass" is a polite term for t he mentality. Wonder if the "building products company" is of any size or significance? The character probably made himself generally obnoxious, and any legitimacy to his complaint got lost in his arrogance.

The delay might also be a little act called "aging the case" that is, bringing up issues as far after the event as pracitcal in the hope that memories have faded and any reoordings, audio ro video, have been lost or discarded.
 

saxman

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I don't know of a single flight attendant that would allow a passenger to stand during takeoff and landing. There would be pretty big implications if they did.
 

Anderson

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You know, I wonder if a news organization has ever taken one of these more absurd doesn't-add-up claims and issued the story...but in a way that more or less destroys the attacker in the process (i.e. saying "Such-and-such claimed" but then pointing out a lack of any documentation, holes in the story, etc.). That might actually be fun to see.
 

DET63

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I don't know of a single flight attendant that would allow a passenger to stand during takeoff and landing. There would be pretty big implications if they did.
He didn't stand during takeoff and landing. He sat, but couldn't fasten his seatbelt. He stood throughout the flight. I don't find the scenario at all far-fetched when you consider the alternatives:

  1. Deny boarding to the overweight passenger. No chance of that unless you want to risk a civil-rights lawsuit. The overweight fellow had bought and paid for a ticket; he had a right to board.
  2. Find another seat for the passenger. This was not possible because the flight was packed.
  3. Exchange seats with another passenger. This would simply put someone else at the same inconvenience.
  4. Bump the normal-size passenger off the plane, even though he got to his seat first. What would be done with his checked baggage (assuming he had some)?
 

DET63

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I couldn't find any legitimate (i.e. non-tabloid) source for this incident.
US Airways issued a statement saying it recognizes the inconvenience of the situation. "We all understand how sensitive a subject passengers of size can present, but we should never compromise safety and we need every passenger to help us ensure that every flight operates safely by complying with those crew members' instructions."
http://articles.cnn.com/2011-11-25/travel/travel_passenger-of-size_1_seat-belt-flight-attendants-flight-crew?_s=PM:TRAVEL 

http://articles.cnn.com/2011-11-25/travel/travel_passenger-of-size_1_seat-belt-flight-attendants-flight-crew?_s=PM:TRAVELCNN

http://articles.cnn.com/2011-11-25/travel/travel_passenger-of-size_1_seat-belt-flight-attendants-flight-crew?_s=PM:TRAVEL (not a tabloid)
 
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Devil's Advocate

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Deny boarding to the overweight passenger. No chance of that unless you want to risk a civil-rights lawsuit. The overweight fellow had bought and paid for a ticket; he had a right to board.
People of exceptional size are apparently denied boarding on a regular basis over on Southwest Airlines. In fact paid passengers of all shapes and sizes risk getting bumped from any number of full (or nearly full) flights on every airline I've ever flown. It's not as though the average casual airline passenger can easily dis/prove precisely why they were bumped in a court of law unless the airline staff volunteer that information. Not to mention that US airlines have far more legal protection from consumers than most Americans seem to realize.
 

jis

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Deny boarding to the overweight passenger. No chance of that unless you want to risk a civil-rights lawsuit. The overweight fellow had bought and paid for a ticket; he had a right to board.
People of exceptional size are apparently denied boarding on a regular basis over on Southwest Airlines. In fact paid passengers of all shapes and sizes risk getting bumped from any number of full (or nearly full) flights on every airline I've ever flown. It's not as though the average casual airline passenger can easily dis/prove precisely why they were bumped in a court of law unless the airline staff volunteer that information. Not to mention that US airlines have far more legal protection from consumers than most Americans seem to realize.
Before Denver International Airport was built, at Stapleton it was a regular event to get denied boarding due to weight restrictions, specially in the summer. Short runway at Stapleton was to blame and many flight departed on 3/4ths full. I have spent countless nights in Denver having been denied boarding and bumped to the first morning flight to Salt Lake City on transfer from EWR at Denver.
 

leemell

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Deny boarding to the overweight passenger. No chance of that unless you want to risk a civil-rights lawsuit. The overweight fellow had bought and paid for a ticket; he had a right to board.
People of exceptional size are apparently denied boarding on a regular basis over on Southwest Airlines. In fact paid passengers of all shapes and sizes risk getting bumped from any number of full (or nearly full) flights on every airline I've ever flown. It's not as though the average casual airline passenger can easily dis/prove precisely why they were bumped in a court of law unless the airline staff volunteer that information. Not to mention that US airlines have far more legal protection from consumers than most Americans seem to realize.
Before Denver International Airport was built, at Stapleton it was a regular event to get denied boarding due to weight restrictions, specially in the summer. Short runway at Stapleton was to blame and many flight departed on 3/4ths full. I have spent countless nights in Denver having been denied boarding and bumped to the first morning flight to Salt Lake City on transfer from EWR at Denver.
Actually it was a combination of the altitude (5290') and less than ideal runway length.
 

Devil's Advocate

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Deny boarding to the overweight passenger. No chance of that unless you want to risk a civil-rights lawsuit. The overweight fellow had bought and paid for a ticket; he had a right to board.
People of exceptional size are apparently denied boarding on a regular basis over on Southwest Airlines. In fact paid passengers of all shapes and sizes risk getting bumped from any number of full (or nearly full) flights on every airline I've ever flown. It's not as though the average casual airline passenger can easily dis/prove precisely why they were bumped in a court of law unless the airline staff volunteer that information. Not to mention that US airlines have far more legal protection from consumers than most Americans seem to realize.
Before Denver International Airport was built, at Stapleton it was a regular event to get denied boarding due to weight restrictions, specially in the summer. Short runway at Stapleton was to blame and many flight departed on 3/4ths full. I have spent countless nights in Denver having been denied boarding and bumped to the first morning flight to Salt Lake City on transfer from EWR at Denver.
Actually it was a combination of the altitude (5290') and less than ideal runway length.
Well, if we're going to get technical then I suppose we could say it was a combination of altitude, runway length, weight, temperature, route length, available lift, maximum thrust, and so on. I'm sorry for simply saying "full or nearly full" when I could have brought all that up. :lol:
 

leemell

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Deny boarding to the overweight passenger. No chance of that unless you want to risk a civil-rights lawsuit. The overweight fellow had bought and paid for a ticket; he had a right to board.
People of exceptional size are apparently denied boarding on a regular basis over on Southwest Airlines. In fact paid passengers of all shapes and sizes risk getting bumped from any number of full (or nearly full) flights on every airline I've ever flown. It's not as though the average casual airline passenger can easily dis/prove precisely why they were bumped in a court of law unless the airline staff volunteer that information. Not to mention that US airlines have far more legal protection from consumers than most Americans seem to realize.
Before Denver International Airport was built, at Stapleton it was a regular event to get denied boarding due to weight restrictions, specially in the summer. Short runway at Stapleton was to blame and many flight departed on 3/4ths full. I have spent countless nights in Denver having been denied boarding and bumped to the first morning flight to Salt Lake City on transfer from EWR at Denver.
Actually it was a combination of the altitude (5290') and less than ideal runway length.
Well, if we're going to get technical then I suppose we could say it was a combination of altitude, runway length, weight, temperature, route length, available lift, maximum thrust, and so on. I'm sorry for simply saying "full or nearly full" when I could have brought all that up. :lol:
Having piloted planes out an adjacent airport and flown out of Stapleton commercially, I think I can speak to the main concerns and limitations that apply. For airlines the route length, thrust, runway length are essentially fixed. For airports in Denver, summer time temperatures raise the density altitude to a point that the lift cannot safely support the plane. The only variable available to the pilot is aircraft gross weight. That means reducing one or all of these; fuel load, luggage and passengers. Guess what the airlines do? Pilots always are concerned with high, hot, and humid. BTW, I was not replying to you but to jis.
 

saxman

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Deny boarding to the overweight passenger. No chance of that unless you want to risk a civil-rights lawsuit. The overweight fellow had bought and paid for a ticket; he had a right to board.
People of exceptional size are apparently denied boarding on a regular basis over on Southwest Airlines. In fact paid passengers of all shapes and sizes risk getting bumped from any number of full (or nearly full) flights on every airline I've ever flown. It's not as though the average casual airline passenger can easily dis/prove precisely why they were bumped in a court of law unless the airline staff volunteer that information. Not to mention that US airlines have far more legal protection from consumers than most Americans seem to realize.
Before Denver International Airport was built, at Stapleton it was a regular event to get denied boarding due to weight restrictions, specially in the summer. Short runway at Stapleton was to blame and many flight departed on 3/4ths full. I have spent countless nights in Denver having been denied boarding and bumped to the first morning flight to Salt Lake City on transfer from EWR at Denver.
Actually it was a combination of the altitude (5290') and less than ideal runway length.
Well, if we're going to get technical then I suppose we could say it was a combination of altitude, runway length, weight, temperature, route length, available lift, maximum thrust, and so on. I'm sorry for simply saying "full or nearly full" when I could have brought all that up. :lol:
Having piloted planes out an adjacent airport and flown out of Stapleton commercially, I think I can speak to the main concerns and limitations that apply. For airlines the route length, thrust, runway length are essentially fixed. For airports in Denver, summer time temperatures raise the density altitude to a point that the lift cannot safely support the plane. The only variable available to the pilot is aircraft gross weight. That means reducing one or all of these; fuel load, luggage and passengers. Guess what the airlines do? Pilots always are concerned with high, hot, and humid. BTW, I was not replying to you but to jis.
Weather at the destination airport also has to do with it. Low ceilings and visibility require an alternate airport to be filed and the extra fuel is needed to get from the destination to the alternate airport. Extra fuel also means extra weight.

Of course now, DIA's longest runway is 16,000 feet long. Hardly a problem anymore. :)
 

jis

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On long flight legs there is another pressing issue - that of fuel weight. On SFO - SYD flights pilots tend to to not off load revenue loads to take on extra fuel in the face of headwinds, but choose to do a refueling stop at Nandi on Fiji Island. Happened to me twice so far. It may be the case the're flying so close to the edge of the envelope of the aircraft's load/range curve anyway that it is easier to take a hit on schedule instead of on load.

There are other cases where they take planned hit on the load below deck to maintain schedule - e.g. CO's DEL - EWR that I will be flying on later today, which is right on the edge of capability of the 777-200ER. I am hoping that due to the unusually powerful jet stream at present (the eastbounds are arriving over an hour ahead of schedule) they will take the unusual trans-polar route today. We'll see.
 

Green Maned Lion

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"president of a building products company" eh?

I am president, chairman, CEO, treasurer, and majority share holder, of Lionsgate Glove & Safety, Inc., a Pennsylvania corporation operating out of Adamstown. I created this company to hold my inventory, commercial truck, and name in a manner easy to sell while limiting my

Personal liability, and allowing me to register and insure said truck in PA for intrastate operations without becoming a legal PA resident myself.

And gaining my operation the inherent respect customers assign to corporations.

Whatever the reasons, it cost me $600 total to do it.

My personal finances? I live in a $600 a month rented trailer, which at present I can barely afford. Titles are meaningless.
 
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nightrider

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I don't know of a single flight attendant that would allow a passenger to stand during takeoff and landing. There would be pretty big implications if they did.
He didn't stand during takeoff and landing. He sat, but couldn't fasten his seatbelt. He stood throughout the flight. I don't find the scenario at all far-fetched when you consider the alternatives:

  1. Deny boarding to the overweight passenger. No chance of that unless you want to risk a civil-rights lawsuit. The overweight fellow had bought and paid for a ticket; he had a right to board.
  2. Find another seat for the passenger. This was not possible because the flight was packed.
  3. Exchange seats with another passenger. This would simply put someone else at the same inconvenience.
  4. Bump the normal-size passenger off the plane, even though he got to his seat first. What would be done with his checked baggage (assuming he had some)?
If I was seated first, no way I would yield my space to an overweight passenger trying to encroach my space. Let him contain himself into his seat, or let him find another seat or if necessary, another flight. I would not be 'bumped' this way.....

JMHO, but anyone so obese they cannot contain themself into a regular seat should have to pay for another fare or a premium class seat if necessary. The airline, and other passengers, should not have to pay to accommodate such individuals.
 
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