Photo Credit: Photo by Saif Zaman
Qatar Airways Ordered To Pay Passenger's Therapy Fees After Allegedly Saying She Was Too Large To Fly Economy
According to Business Insider, Qatar Airways “was ordered to pay nearly $3,700 to cover psychotherapy fees” for passenger Juliana Nehme.
Nehme, a plus-sized model from Brazil, alleges she was barred from flying because she couldn’t fit in an economy seat.
But a spokesperson for the airline claims Nehme was “extremely rude and aggressive.”
Nehme was set to board a Qatar Airways flight last month.
It was scheduled to depart Beirut and arrive in Doha, the capital of Qatar. From there, she was to continue home to Brazil.
The trouble ensued between Beirut and Doha.
Business Insider explained, “Nehme told her Instagram followers she was asked to pay $3,000 for a first-class ticket, and was refused a refund for the $947 she’d paid for an economy seat.”
“I don’t have this money,” Nehme said. “I don’t know what to do, there is only 30 minutes until the airplane takes off!”
Brazilian Judge Ordered Qatar Airways To Pay Up
Judge Renata Martins de Carvalho, based in São Paulo, “ordered the airline to pay for psychotherapy for Nehme following the incident.”
The judge added, “this is a reasonable and proportionate measure to ensure that the stressful and traumatic event is overcome.”
Nehme’s attorney, Eduardo Barbosa, called the ruling a step in the right direction and “a milestone in the fight against prejudice.”
Nehme Shared The Incident With Her IG Followers
“They are denying my right to travel,” she said in a video on Instagram. “I’m desperate, help me, they don’t want me to board because I’m fat.”
Comments in English and Portuguese were mixed.
Some sided with her, others said she should have expected complications owing to her size.
Aime 85 said, “it is not that absurd. I have been on flights with big people sitting next to me in Economy class. From my experience, I can tell it is a struggle for big passengers and their seat neighbors. I totally respect each individual body size. However, at a certain point, you need to accept the limits of a small seat.”
Anna Zielinska wrote in part, “the spokesman of QA said you were extremely rude to the crew. BTW: have you ever thought about a person of a regular size who would be sitting next to you?”
Under a Travel Noire article which addressed a similar issue, Kittycat2000 wrote, “it is a fact that the average person is getting bigger. I think airlines should offer 2 sizes of seats with a small extra charge for the larger ones.”
Eventually She Was Able To Fly
Thanks to assistance from the Brazilian ambassador, Nehme was able to fly.
According to Daily Mail, “Nehme and her mother were eventually able to return home on another flight without having to pay any more money after speaking to the Brazilian ambassador.”
Nehme told the media that “he [the ambassador] had spoken with the president of Qatar Airways, and that I was authorized to return paying only what I had paid.”