Qatar Airways stated that passengers couldn’t fit comfortably in one seat by themselves, they might be asked to purchase an additional seat.
A passenger who was refused boarding because she was “too big” to fit in an economy class seat has received a court order requiring Qatar Airways to cover the cost of her psychotherapy sessions.
Juliana Nehme, a Brazilian plus-size model, claimed that Qatar denied her a flight last month from Beirut to Doha. She claimed to have been refused a refund for the $947 she had paid for an economy seat and was instead asked to pay $3,000 for a first-class ticket.
According to Mail Online, a court in Sao Paolo, Brazil has now mandated that the airline pay for Nehme’s post-incident psychotherapy.
Judge Renata Martins de Carvalho recommended a “weekly therapy session” for at least a year, costing $77, for a total of $3,700, according to the Mail and news.com.au,
The judge deemed the directive a “reasonable and proportionate measure” to ensure that the model and influencer overcomes the “stressful and traumatic event.”
Eduardo Barbosa, Nehme’s solicitor, called the decision “a milestone in the fight against prejudice.”
“It was like I wasn’t a human being to them. I was a fat monster that couldn’t get on board. It was horrible. I’d never imagined going through something like this, ever,” Nehme said, speaking to Brazilian media.
According to court records, Nehme was eventually able to board the flight using her original economy ticket after a representative of the Brazilian embassy in Brussels contacted Qatar Airways.
An airline representative responded to Insider regarding the incident by stating that Nehem was refused boarding because she was “extremely rude and aggressive” to the check-in staff after a companion failed to present the required COVID-19 documentation needed to enter Brazil.
The spokesperson added that if passengers couldn’t fit comfortably in one seat by themselves, they might be asked to purchase an additional seat.
“Qatar Airways treats all passengers with respect and dignity and in line with industry practices and similar to most airlines, anyone who impedes upon the space of a fellow traveller and cannot secure their seatbelt or lower their armrests may be required to purchase an additional seat both as a safety precaution and for the comfort and safety of all passengers.”
Doha News has reached out to Qatar Airways for comment but has yet to receive a response.