LAS VEGAS, NV (WFLA) – A New Jersey man says he was not only singled out but kicked off a United Airlines flight in Las Vegas because he was too fat to fly.
Errol Narvaez was in Las Vegas for a birthday bash that turned into a nightmare. He says, it all happened when his aisle seat was changed to a middle seat.
At 385 pounds, Narvaez knows all too well what some people think of him, by just looking at him.
“I’ve been trying to work on myself so I am not this size. It takes time,” said Narvaez.
But, he says, the experience was not only a first but one he wishes no one to have.
“I felt like it was the walk of shame,” he told KSNV.
Narvaez got on a United Airlines flight on Tuesday. He was returning from Vegas back to Newark when a passenger next to him complained to a flight attendant. Narvaez says the passenger told the flight attendant that he (Narvaez) was too big for his seat.
“He said it’s a five-hour flight and he needs to be comfortable,” Narvaez said.
The passenger asked for another seat but was told the plane was completely full. Moments later, Narvaez was asked to leave the plane.
“In my head, they were all judging me, like you’re being thrown off the plane because of your weight. You’re being thrown off the plane because you can’t fit. That’s what I was thinking as I was going down that aisle,” he recounted.
The flight was not his first, and he told KSNV that he’s never experiencing any issues with flying before. Further, he explained, he’s never had to purchase two seats.
United Airlines says customers must buy a second seat if they can’t sit with both armrests lowered and without encroaching on the seats of other passengers. The policy is to remove people who can’t safely fit into their seat.
Narvaez says, that’s exactly what he was doing.
“I was sitting between both of those armrests. I was very capable of sitting between both of them.”
He thinks the airline needs a more rigid policy even if it doesn’t work in his favor and he’s forced to purchase a second seat when he flys.
Narvaez was booked onto a new flight that took off later that day. He also said United Airlines later called to apologize.
His situation comes on the heels of the Senate refusing to come to the aid of airline passengers squeezed by the ever-shrinking size of their seats.
The amendment would have required the Federal Aviation Administration to set standards for the minimum amount of space airlines must provide passengers for their “safety, health and comfort.” Airlines would have had to post the size of their seats on their websites so that consumers could take the information into consideration when buying tickets.
The proposal failed on a vote of 42-54, with all but three Democrats in favor and all but one Republican against.
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