Subscribe Now

travelers today

Home » News

New York Woman Dies in Hungary After Airlines Said She Was Too Fat to Fly

Travelers Today       By    Katie McFadden

Updated: Nov 26, 2012 12:29 PM EST

Text Size: A A A

Lufthansa’s Blue Legends for Flyers
A pilot is being praised after he asked a passenger to step in to help land a flight after the co-pilot became sick. The passenger happened to be an off-duty pilot. (Photo : Reuters)

A husband of an obese New York woman claims that his wife died in Hungary after three airlines wouldn't transport her back home for medical treatment, because she was too overweight. 

Janos Soltesz and his 56-year-old wife, Vilma, took a yearly trip to a vacation home in Hungary for a few weeks. Vilma weighed 425 pounds, had one leg and was wheelchair bound. She also had kidney disease and diabetes. The woman needed two seats on a plane, so a  travel agent informed KLM and Delta airlines about the issue and booked the return flight before they left for their trip in September.

However, when the couple boarded their return flight with KLM on Oct. 15 so Soltesz could go home to her doctors to receive medical treatment for her kidney disease and diabetes, they were told that the airline couldn't accomodate her because she was too large.

"They tried to fit her into the back of the plane, but they didn't have an extension to secure her," Janos, 56, told the New York Post.

Vilma, who gained significant water weight due to her illnesses, boarded the plane, but they couldn't accommodate her. The airline said the seat back wouldn't support her and that they didn't have a seat belt extender that would fit.

"It appeared on the passenger's return that it was not physically possible for her to board the aircraft, despite every effort made by KLM to this end. A seat or belt extender did not offer a solution, either,"  KLM spokeswoman Ellen van Ginkel told the Post.

Janos and Vilma had to get off the plane and were told that they would be booked on another flight. They waited for five hours at the airport until they were told to drive five hours to Prague for a Delta flight that would be able to accommodate her.

"This absolutely contributed to the cause of her death," attorney Holly Ostrov Ronai told the Post. "They managed to get her over there and were obligated to get her home."

When they got to the airport in Prague, Delta told the couple that their wheelchairs wouldn't be able to support her weight and they couldn't put her on the sky-lift elevator.

"After the operating carrier in Budapest was physically unable to board Mrs. Soltesz on its flight, and despite a determined good-faith effort by Delta in Prague, we were also physically unable to board her on our aircraft," Delta spokesman Russel Cason told the Post.

The couple gave up on their first attempt at returned to their vacation home so they could have their travel agent make other plans. The agent booked them on a Oct. 22 flight from Frankfurt, Germany with Lufthansa. The airline said they would be able to accommodate her.

However Lufthansa was also unable to help her. The flight crew and local firefighters tried to move the woman from her wheelchair to the seats that were assigned to her, but after 30 minutes of attempts, the captain made the couple get off.

"We had 140 passengers on board, and they had connections and needed to travel," said Lufthansa spokesman Nils Haupt. "The question was never the seat belt. The question was the mobility of the passenger."

The couple once again returned to their vacation home and tried to make other arrangements, but Vilma became sicker. The couple did not trust the Hungarian doctors as they weren't familiar with her extensive medical history.

"She was very ill and did not trust that the hospitals in former communist Hungary could attend to her needs," Ronai said.

Vilma died in her vacation home and was buried there. 

"There were only two women in my life - my mother, who I lived with for 23 years, and Vilma, who I lived with for 33 years," Janos told the Post. "I'm lonely now. Wherever I am going, I am just going alone. I am missing her a lot," Soltesz's attorney, Ronai is considering filing a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the airlines for violating laws protecting the disabled. 

Share This Story

© 2014 Traverlers Today, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.
Join Our Conversation

ADVERTISEMENT

Travel Tips

Barcelona Smoothies

Top 5 Ways to Eat Healthy on Vacation

Eating healthy on vacation is so hard because it's your time to splurge. Here are some tips to help everyone stay on their healthy diet during their next vacation.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Receive the latest travel news, reviews, and more..

Want more Travel?

Most Popular

Military jets escort Qatar Airways plane to Manchester Airport after passenger bomb hoax

Qatar Airways Flight QR23: 'Hoax Bomb Threat' Had Plane Escorted By Military Jets, Passenger Arrested

Qatar Airways flight QR23 has been escorted by military jets Tuesday after a man was accused of making a hoax bomb threat. Due to the ‘hoax’, concerns were raised about Qatar Airways flight QR23, reports The Daily Mail.

Three-Year-Old Karina Chikitova Saved By Her Puppy

Puppy Saves Girl In Siberian Forest: 3-Year-Old Lost For 11 Days, How Was She Saved By Her Puppy?

Puppy saves girl in Siberian forest may be hard to imagine, but this story did recently happen to a three-year-old who went missing for 11 days. The story of puppy saves girl in Siberian forest happened when the girl went missing inside the Siberian forest, and 11 days later, her dog was able to lead rescuers to her location.

Three Bodies Found By Helicopter In Mt Rainier

Rainier Bodies: Three Bodies Found By Helicopter, From Climbers Who Went Missing In May? Officials Still Searching For Other Bodies In Mt Rainier

Rainier bodies recently found have been spotted on the Washington Mountain, in an area not far from where six hikers disappeared and were thought to have perished earlier this year. On Tuesday, Spokeswoman Patti Wold for Mount Rainier National Park said the Rainier bodies found were recently discovered during recent training flights.

Taser Gun

Mom Sues After 8 Year Old Tased By Police: South Dakota

Mom sues after 8 year old tased by police is a story which is currently causing major debates and concern this weekend. According to The Inquisitr, the story of mom sues after 8 year old tased by police began after a babysitter called 911, since the child grabbed a knife and obviously threatened to harm herself.

Rare whale fossil recovered by search-and-rescue team in LA

Rare Whale Fossil: 16M Years Old, Recovered In California Backyard By Search And Rescue Crews

Rare whale fossil found Friday at about 9:30 a.m. was oddly, recovered by a 10-member search-and-rescue team typically dispatched for recovery operations. The rare whale fossil was recovered on a rock in Rancho Palos Verdes, 500 square miles along the Angeles Crest Highway.

Passenger dies while on board United Airlines flight to Houston

Passenger Dies On United Airlines Flight To Houston: Did Ebola Virus Cause This?

Passenger dies on United Airlines flight to Houston on Tuesday around 9 pm. According to the Houston police, the in-flight death was officially announced at the Bush Intercontinental Airport about 11 pm, 2 hours after the death occurred. Apparently, the passenger dies on United Airlines flight to Houston as he collapsed in the plane’s aisle.

Nationwide Fruit Recall Expands, Including Organic, Listeria Infected Packaging Feared

Fruit Recall: Thousands of Listeria-Infected Fruits Recalled By California Company, Consumers Advised To Check Fruit Labels Before Purchase

Fruit recall expands and U.S. consumers are advised to check carefully labels on fruits before purchase. As fruit recall expands with a Central California company, fruits such as fresh peaches, plums, nectarines and pluots sold in the U.S. are requiring extra caution before purchase due to concerns over possible listeria contamination.

Find Us on Facebook

travelers today

© Copyright 2014 Travelers Today All Rights Reserved.

Subscribe to our newsletter
Real Time Analytics