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Air New Zealand apologises after passenger told she was too big to fly

Air NZ news
FILE PHOTO. Air NZ ATR 72-600 (ZK-MZA) taxis at Auckland.

Angel Harding, a passenger from Kerikeri says she was humiliated when Air New Zealand staff deemed her too large to fly, leading to her and a friend being booted from an ATR aircraft.

The incident, which took place on March 8th as they were traveling home from Napier, involved a flight attendant attempting to forcibly lower the armrests and subsequently making a public announcement about an ‘inconvenience’, implying Harding’s size was the issue.

Despite having flown on two planes via Auckland for the outbound journey without incident, Harding was informed that in the future, she would need to purchase two seats to accommodate her size. The situation left Harding and her travel companion stranded until they could secure flights back home on Sunday, due to high demand.

In a statement to media Air New Zealand said it was sorry and that the treatment Harding received was not up to the airline’s standards of respecting and dignifying all customers.

General manager for customer care Alisha Armstrong said the airline regret was committed to addressing the passengers’ concerns directly. Although the airline offered accommodation and meals, Harding and her friend are seeking further compensation for the emotional distress caused by the incident.

Image credit: Will Waters

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2 COMMENTS

  1. I used to work in the airline industry in the 1990s. Back in those days we had a code “OBSE” if I remember rightly that we used to put into the booking so an extra seat could be allocated next to that person if the plane wasn’t full.

    However, if the plane is full, I don’t see why anyone should have to have someone else spilling onto their seat. Therefore I feel obese people should have to book two seats. Why should other slim people pay excess baggage on their bags when another person paying for 1 seat weighs 3 times what a normal person does.

    Planes can’t fly if they are overweight. It’s a safety issue so therefore the extra seat should be booked and paid for and the obese people need to stop acting like victims. They know they are morbidity obese so why all the drama?

    And before anyone abuses me, I have a family member in this condition and would not want to sit next to them on a plane so why should a stranger?

  2. Just lose weight, forget going after people. You do not fit into the seats and everyone around you are totally put out

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