Though the complainer was offered other, open seats, the man was asked to leave the plane.
A 385-pound man says he was kicked off a recent United Airlines flight because a passenger complained about his size. Errol Narvaez was set to fly home to New Jersey from Las Vegas on Tuesday when he was asked to leave the flight just before take off.
First, Narvaez was assigned a new seat despite paying for a pre-board ticket, and once in his new position, he waited for his seatmate. “When the man who was supposed to be sitting next to me came up, I stood up so he could sit down,” Narvaez told the Huffington post. “He said, ‘No, no. You sit there.’ Then he went to a flight attendant and whispered in her ear.” The complaint, Narvaez said, was that he didn’t want to be uncomfortable on the five-hour flight.
It was at that point that the flight supervisor asked Narvaez to leave the plane. “She said the plane cannot accommodate me at this time and I needed to follow her,” he said. “As I was following her, the other stewardess pointed out two empty seats—both in the middle.” The complaining passenger refused to move to those open seats, however, which resulted in Narvaez being asked to leave the plane.
He had to spend six hours at the Vegas airport waiting for the next flight. “I specifically picked this flight so I’d get home early enough to get some sleep before I work tomorrow,” he lamented. “By the time I get home tonight, it will be near 2 a.m.”
United Airlines spokesman Jonathan Guerin told the Huffington Post that the flight attendant was following an airline policy that allows crew to remove people who can’t safely fit in their seat. He added that Narvaez was removed “for the safety and comfort” of his fellow passengers.