In a lawsuit that could force airlines to rethink their sardines-in-a-can seating arrangements, an Australian traveler sued American Airlines after he was seated next to two obese passengers during a 14-hour journey.
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In a suit filed in Australian court, Michael A. Taylor, 67, said the uncomfortable trip caused permanent back and neck injuries. Taylor told Sydney’s Daily Telegraph that the airline refused to let him move seats, leaving him “crouching, kneeling, bracing or standing” for much of the flight from Sydney to Los Angeles.
Taylor was in a window seat, and he said two large neighbors invaded his space. He claims he was forced to adopt an awkward posture during the flight, which worsened his scoliosis, injured his lower and upper and bruised his neck.
The passenger’s attorney, Thomas Janson, said the case is more than just a novelty.
“If Michael is successful, this throws open the doors to potentially a large amount of cases against airlines and how they’ve designed their seating and how they seat passengers,” Janson said.