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

Lake Tahoe, NV, Sand Harbor (2) 9-2010

5 Ways to Have a More Active Vacation

For those of us who like to live an active lifestyle here are some tips for staying active while you're on vacation where it can be very difficult.

Subscribe to our newsletter

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

Want more Travel?

Most Popular

Car

Canada Hit-And-Run Attack Perpetrator 'Radicalized?' Authorities Cite Similar Case Last Year As Basis

The Canada hit-and-run attack suspect, who was killed by the authorities after a long chase, is now believed to have been "radicalized" because of the on-going terrorism in the country.

Eric Matthew Frein

Pennsylvania Man Hunt: Schools Close As Man Hunt Drags On, Eric Frein Spotted In Close Proximity To Schools, Children Unsafe With Man Hunt Ongoing?

Pennsylvania man hunt of Eric Frein has dragged on to its’ second month. Frein is wanted for the murder of a state trooper, Cpl. Bryon Dickson, last Sept. 12. Named as “extremely dangerous” by Pennsylvania authorities, Frein has already been added to FBI’s most wanted fugitives.

ISIS Militants In Syria

Denver Girls ISIS: FBI Reviewing Evidence Against Three Girls Believed To Be Heading To Syria To Join Islamic State Militants: Report

Denver Girls ISIS - At least three girls from Denver have been denied their right to travel after authorities found out that they were heading to Syria via Turkey. The FBI is looking into evidence that could prove the girls' intention of joining the Islamic State militants.

Caribbean Princess, Dublin Port

Ebola-Risk Hospital Worker Boards Caribbean Cruise Ship; U.S. Officials To Limit Their Public Appearances

An Ebola-risk health care worker boarding a cruise ship is being isolated despite not showing any signs and symptoms of the deadly disease while U.S. officials asked the health workers exposed to the Ebola infected patients to limit public appearances.

Defective Takata airbags prompted the recall of about 247,000 Toyota model vehicles.

Takata Airbag Recall 2014: Toyota Withdraw Models For Defective Inflators

Takata airbag defect prompts the recall of several Toyota Motor Corp models in the United States on Monday.

Vials

Cure For Ebola Found: Canada To Ship 800 Vials of Experimental Vaccine, China Claims To Have Found Cure

Cure for Ebola found – Canada is reported to send out 800 vials of an experimental drug set out to cure the Ebola outbreak. The cure for Ebola found is an experimental drug named VSV-EBOV. All 800 vials had been tested on primates and showed positive results.

California Drought Map

California Drought Map Reveals 58% Of State Suffers Deficiency Of Water Supply Amid Imminent Winter Season

California's drought map still shows an alarming phenomenon at the Golden State wherein 58% of the area is suffering from deficiency of water supply, be it atmospheric, surface or ground water.

Daniela Poggiali

Nurse Kills 38 Patients Because She Got Annoyed; Co-Workers Say Italian Nurse Daniela Poggiali Is 'Cynical And Vindictive'

Nurse Kills 38 Patients - Italian nurse Daniela Poggiali is one healthcare professional you should be wary of if ever you get confined in a hospital in Italy. For one thing, she is notorious for killing up to 38 patients after she got completely annoyed of them or of their families.

Cattle Return From Alpine Summer Grazing

World's Tallest Cattle Found In Illinois, How Tall Is Blosom The Cow?

World’s tallest cattle is found in Illinois. Owned by Patty Hanson, Blosom the cow has been named Guinness World Records’ tallest cow. How big and tall exactly is Blosom?

Grizzly Bear

Man, 56, Attacked By Bear Shot Accidentally By Hunting Partner Who Tried To Save Him From The Beast

A man attacked by bear was shot by his friend while the latter was attempting to spare him from the brutal attack of the beast.

Find Us on Facebook

travelers today

© Copyright 2014 Travelers Today All Rights Reserved.

Subscribe to our newsletter
Real Time Analytics