Norlane man Darren Beales says Qantas fat-shamed him on a flight recently. Picture: Peter Ristevski
Norlane man Darren Beales says Qantas fat-shamed him on a flight recently. Picture: Peter Ristevski

Hostie hits back at ‘fat shamed’ passenger

A flight attendant has backed airline regulations saying the man who claimed Qantas "fat-shamed" him had no right to be offended.

Darren Beales said last week the Qantas air hostess was rude and discriminatory, when she forced him to move from his seat in the emergency exit row on a flight from Melbourne Tullamarine to Brisbane on Friday, due to his size.

The move sparked a controversial debate in relation to overweight people on flights, including their ability to assist when it came to on-flight emergencies.

But flight attendant Mark told 3AW he believed Mr Beales had no reason to kick up a "stink" about the issue as airline staff were only abiding Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) regulations.

"It's happened to me a lot, it happens very regularly when people hop in that exit," he said.

"It's not to say they're that large or they need an extension seat belt … it's (what) CASA and the rules and regulations go by.

"I don't know really why he decided to kick up a stink about this issue."

Customers seated in an exit row may be called upon to assist crew members in the event of an emergency.

Mr Beales, of Geelong, has fought back, saying he felt the situation was not handled correctly.

"Rules are rules it's not their fault, it's the air regulations and I have accepted that and moved on, but it was the way they addressed it," he said.

"It should have been addressed before I got on the plane - it was dealt wrongly.

"I felt belittled and uncomfortable."

He believed no passengers should be allowed to sit in the exit row if quick access was required for safety.

The Qantas website stated passengers who required an "extension belt" were not permitted to sit in the exit row.

"If passengers are unable to meet this criteria airlines including Qantas will ask passengers to change seats," a Qantas statement read.

The flight attendant admitted the conversation was not an easy one to have with overweight passengers.

"You're going to have problems because the reason - when you try to tell them about their size, they're not going to like … but it's apart of the rules and regulations."


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