Qatar Airways is responding after a plus-size model said she was not allowed to board a flight because she was too “fat” to fit in an economy seat.
Juliana Nehme reportedly claimed that the airline had told her to shell out about $3,000 to upgrade to first class and would not reimburse her for the $947 she had spent on the flight from Beirut, Lebanon, to Doha, Qatar.
He shared his experience on Instagram videos that have more than 60,000 likes each, and commenters called Qatar Airways and asked them to take action.
“I bought a return ticket to Brazil via Qatar and upon arrival at check-in time, a flight attendant from Qatar called my mother while another staff member was finishing our check-in and told her she couldn’t board because I was fat,” he said, according to News.com.au.
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She told her followers that she had missed her connecting flight to São Paulo because of the incident, claiming that she had not had trouble boarding an Air France flight before and that she had been threatened when she tried to take a video.
Qatar Airways told FOX Business on Saturday that Nehme, who News.com.au said was 38, had been extremely aggressive towards members of staff and they had to call security twice to calm her down.
They said it had been scaring both the workers and the passengers who had checked in.
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“Qatar Airways treats all passengers with respect and dignity and, in accordance with industry practice and similar to most airlines, anyone who obstructs a fellow traveler’s space and is unable to secure their seatbelt safety or lowering the armrests may be forced to purchase an additional seat both as a safety measure and for the comfort and safety of all passengers,” the airline said in an emailed statement. “The passenger in question at the Beirut airport was initially extremely rude and aggressive towards check-in staff when one of her travel party members failed to present the required PCR documentation to enter Brazil.”
“As a result, airport security was requested to intervene, as staff and passengers were extremely concerned about his behaviour,” he concluded.
Qatar Airways said Nehme was booked on a flight from Lebanon.
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It was not clear if he had to pay for an upgrade in order to fly.
Nehme did not immediately respond to FOX Business’s request for comment.