Man says Qantas ‘fat-shamed’ him
A man has accused Qantas crew member of "fat-shaming" him when he was booted from an exit row seat because he was too large to sit there.
Darren Beales told the Geelong Advertiser he specifically booked a seat in the emergency exit row on the Melbourne to Brisbane flight so he could have extra leg room.
But a flight attendant told him he couldn't sit there due to "air regulations".
When he questioned the rule, he said the flight attendant suggested he buy two seats in future.
"She told me I was required to move due to 'air regulations' - but then she turned around and said, 'Next time you can pay for a second seat for half price'," he told the newspaper.
"I can fit into the seat fine - I didn't need a second seat.
"It was fat-shaming. She was rude."
The Civil Aviation Safety Authority provides guidelines to Qantas about safety in the emergency exit row and recommends passengers seated there are "able-bodied" and capable of helping in an emergency.
Passengers who buy seats in the exit row are asked to adhere to a range of criteria when they book.
"If passengers are unable to meet this criteria, airlines including Qantas will ask passengers to change seats," Qantas said in a statement to news.com.au.
"Customers who purchase an exit row seat are told they must satisfy the requirements
during the booking process."
Mr Beales said he felt "bullied" and was forced to spend the flight in an ordinary seat. He maintains he would have been able to help in an emergency.
"She (the flight attendant) says, 'well, look, again airway regulations, you cannot sit in an exit seat, if you're disabled or, you know - or if you require an extended seatbelt'," Mr Beales told Today.
"It made me feel really belittled. I could have helped in the emergency."
Qantas's website says passengers who need an "extension" belt should not be seated in the exit row, which is consistent with other Australian airlines.
Mr Beales took up the issue with Qantas's customer service team and news.com.au understands they have reached out to him.