Three women were denied flying in business class after buying $2,600 tickets only to be tape-measured by the airline staff and told that they were too big to board.
The incident occurred to a mother and her two daughters who were flying from Bangkok, Thailand, to Auckland, New Zealand, following their weight loss surgery.
As 59-year-old Huhana Iripa explained, she and her daughters, Tere Ashby and Renell Iripa, were about to board Thai Airways jet when flight attendants confronted them about their size.
According to the family, the staff told them they were “too big” to fly in business class and “humiliated” them in front of other passengers.
“We went up to business class check-in and the member of staff on the desk looked at us and said ‘sorry you can’t.’ A staff member then came forward and started saying ‘no, you’re too big, you’re too big,’” Iripa said in an interview with NZ Herald.
To make matters worse, the staff allegedly used a tape measure to confirm they were too big around their waistlines to board the business class.
“I’ve never felt discriminated against before because of my size, so this experience left me completely in shock,” Iripa added, before explaining they were moved to the economy class instead.
After the incident, the trio met with Thai Airways representatives who offered them a $450 compensation for the troubles.
The women were also offered a full refund by Flight Centre, an agency they used to book the tickets with.
Back in 2018, Thai Airways announced they were banning individuals with waists bigger than 56 inches from their new jet, the Dreamliner 787-900, due to seatbelts with airbags being unable to extend further.
However, as Iripa added, she had never been informed about the rule and previously never had trouble boarding or flying because of her size.
Following the incident, the Thai Airways spokesperson told the NZ Herald that the women were denied boarding in first class because the staff didn’t want to “compromise” their safety.
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