What would you do if you were told you were too fat to fly?
Well this was the exact dilemma that 56-year-old Vilma Soltesz faced after trying to return back to New York after a trip overseas to her native hometown of Hungary. Vilma, who weighed 425-pounds, was also confined to a wheelchair because she only had one leg. Yet, she and her husband, Janos, made the trip to Hungary safely through Delta and KLM airways after a flight attendant booked two seats for Vilma to ensure that she had proper space.
But the problems really began when Vilma, who suffered from an onslaught of issues including obesity, diabetes, and kidney disease, was told by three different airlines that it was not “physically possible” for her to fly back home.
According to KLM spokesperson, Ellen van Ginkel, there was no solution.
“It appeared on the passenger’s return that it was not physically possible for her to board the aircraft, despite every effort made by KLM to this end. A seat or belt extender did not offer a solution, either.”
What? How or why they could seat her leaving the country, but not coming back in, makes no sense.
After another failed attempt, she and her husband tried a third time to board the Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt to New York on October 22.
Again, they was rebuffed after claims that they could not get her into a seat belt.
Nils Haupt, a Lufthansa spokesman tried to explain, “We had 140 passengers on board, and they had connections and needed to travel. The question was never the seat belt. The question was the mobility of the passenger.”
To make matters worse, while Vilma was dealing with all of this rigmarole within the airways, she had an appointment with her physician in New York. She and her husband were forced to return back to their home in Hungary, and in a sickening turn of events, since neither Vilma nor her husband trusted any doctors there, she could not get the treatment that she needed. Vilma’s husband found her dead two days later. She suffered from kidney failure.
After 33 years together, her grieving husband had this to say, “”I’m lonely now. Wherever I am going, I am just going alone. I am missing her a lot.”
How absolutely devastating.
This doesn’t make sense. You are right. If she could fly out, why couldn’t arrangements be made to fly back in?
Maybe… she gained a lot of weight in between?
@Renee: To my understanding she did gain weight. I think she gained 40lbs in one month.
They didn’t go to the hospital because they didn’t trust the doctors?! Well you don’t have much of a choice when you can’t make your flight because you can’t fit in the plane. They drove to Frankfurt, why not go to a doctor there? Last time I checked they had lots hospitals in Europe. This woman’s death in not the fault of the airlines but rather her and her husband. In the full story, to get her on to the first plane they had to load her in with a forklift.FORKLIFT! And at one of the airports they didn’t have the equipment needed to load her into the plane. She should have never been allowed to fly anyway.
She died because of her obesity and its associated diseases and because she denied herself of medical care due to her own bias. The airline has no liability.