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Should airline be blamed for death of overweight woman?

Personally, I withhold judgment

Sara G: Did you read about that 407-pound woman who the airlines refused boarding, and she died? What will the next airline atrocity involve?

Answer: In this particular case, I had sympathy for the airline. The case involved a grossly overweight Hungarian woman who was asked to disembark because she could not fasten her seat belt, apparently because of a seat back situation.

Without going into all the details, the airline, KLM, says it made every effort to help the woman whose attorney said she was trying to get home from Europe to get medical treatment.

While the woman and her husband’s lawyer blamed the airline f0r a failure “to make simple accommodations,” KLM said he made every effort to accommodate Vilma Soltesz, even spending five hours to find her alternate transportation.

You might think a seat belt extender would be the solution, but the airline maintained that also did not work. The woman, after all, was a reported 407-pounds. That is the size of two good-sized men.

The woman died two days after several attempts to find air transportation. The airline said it even worked with the fire brigade and other technical experts to find a way to seat the poor passenger.

"Janos (the husband) is heartbroken. The only thing that keeps him going day to day is that he wants justice for what was done to Vilma and to try to make sure this doesn't happen to anyone else in the future," said the couple’s attorney.

Sounds suspiciously like an attorney, doesn’t it? All the surviving husband wants is justice and to see it does not happen again. He really does not care about money, of course.

I am dubious, of course, but considering that overweight people -- and often not just a few pounds more than svelte but grossly overweight individuals -- are more often than ever found at airports waiting to occupy a seat and a half or even two seats, it’s hard to find a lot of sympathy for the poor woman.

Overweight individuals on airplanes and what to do about them is not an issue that is going to go away soon. It's escalated in recent years, often to the detriment of the rest of us who may be overweight but are still able to occupy a normal airline seat.

So let the courts decide but in the meantime, I won’t blame the airlines until a judgment is made in that arena outside the friendly skies,

Posted by David Wilkening 12:41

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