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He's seeking $3,000 in compensation.

Cailey Rizzo
September 22, 2016

An Italian lawyer is suing Emirates Airlines after being seated next to an overweight passenger on a flight.

Giorgio Destro says he was in the window seat next to an overweight passenger in early July. When he asked to change seats, airline staff told Destro it would be impossible because the flight was full, according to local paper Il Mattino di Padova.

Destro “had to stand in the aisle, sit on seats reserved for the cabin crew when they were free” and “suffer the ‘spillover’ of the passenger” on the nine-hour flight from Cape Town to Dubai, he wrote in his summons. The lawyer took selfies while seated, which he included as evidence in the lawsuit.

In his civil lawsuit, Destro is seeking €2,759.51 (about $3,000) in compensation and damages. The hearing is scheduled for October 20 in Padua, Italy.

The Emirates flight from Cape Town to Dubai is typically operated by a Boeing 777-300ER. The aircraft has “310 spacious seats in Economy Class,” with a seat width of 17 inches, according to SeatGuru.

Since airline deregulation in the 1970s, the average airline seat has shrunk in width by almost two inches.

Last year, a passenger sued Etihad Airlines for “injuries” incurred while sitting next to an overweight passenger.

An Emirates spokesperson told Travel + Leisure the company is unable to comment on the case because it is an ongoing legal matter.

Cailey Rizzo writes about travel, art and culture and is the founding editor of The Local Dive. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter @misscaileyanne.

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