Plus-Size Passengers Claim They Were Booted by Air New Zealand Because They Were “Too Big”

by Anthony Losanno
Air New Zealand

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Air New Zealand made headlines last year when it was weighing passengers as part of an “International Passenger Weight Survey” to measure the weight load and distribution on its aircraft. Now, it’s back in newsfeeds over a recent incident involving two passengers who claim they were removed from a flight for being “too big.”

The flight in question was operated by an ATR 72 turboprop with seating in a 2-2 configuration. It was scheduled for a flight between Hawke’s Bay Airport (NPE) to Auckland Airport (AKL). The two women boarded the plane, which offers seats with 30 inches of pitch and one of them had trouble lowering the armrest.

ATR 72-600 Air New Zealand

When one of the flight attendants walked down the aisle lowering armrests, one could not be lowered. The passenger shared:

I was kind of was in shock, and I moved forward, and she started yelling to me that the pilot can’t take off unless all the arm rests were down, and she was quite aggressive to me. She was speaking to me in an aggressive manner. I just couldn’t believe what was happening to me.”

When the other passenger spoke out and criticized the flight attendant for not being seated while the plane was moving, she replied by threatening to have them both thrown off of the plane. She ended up having the captain return the aircraft to the gate and the two passengers were removed from the flight.

Back at the gate, the two passengers were told by gate agents that they would need to each purchase two seats. They said that they could not afford to do so. Surprisingly, Air New Zealand offered to provide them with accommodations and meals as well as two seats each on the next day at no charge. They didn’t need these amenities though as Air New Zealand ended up finding them space on another flight same day. Now, the two women are demanding more compensation and claiming they were unfairly thrown off the flight.

Anthony’s Take: Airline seats are small and passengers are packed in. It seems that Air New Zealand was more than accommodating and these passengers are out of line seeking anything additional.

(Image Credits: Will Waters and ATR.)

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