An Australian man is seeking more than $100,000 in damages against American Airlines after a 14-hour flight on which he was crushed by two obese passengers – a seating arrangement he begged to change – left him with permanent back and neck injuries.
On Wednesday, Michael Anthony Taylor, 67, filed the lawsuit in the Federal Court of Australia, claiming American Airlines’ staff refused to let him move seats on his flight from Sydney to Los Angeles, despite several desperate pleas to move.
Taylor describes that the situation forced him to kneel, crouch, brace, and stand to make it through the long flight, which also inflamed his existing condition of curvature of the spine.
“I don’t hold any malice towards the people in the seats next to me. They’d paid for a ticket, too,” the 67-year-old told The Daily Telegraph.
“The airline could have put me in a crew seat or moved people around but they did nothing.”
Thomas Janson, a transport law manager for Shine Lawyers, says if Taylor is successful with his lawsuit against American, it could have a significant impact on the airline industry.
“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,” said Janson.
He continued, “There will be a huge outcry against the way airlines furnish their cabins, particularly in economy.”
American Airlines has 28 days to respond to Taylor’s claims.
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