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

© 2015 Traverlers Today, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.
Join Our Conversation

Travel Tips

Kas, Turkey

Things to Consider While Planning the Perfect Summer Adventure

It is difficult to figure out where to go when there are so many amazing and breathtaking places around the globe to choose from. But there are a couple of important qualifications that can help narrow down the options: safety, weather, and expense.

Subscribe to our newsletter

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

Want more Travel?

Most Popular

Jodi Arias Update

Jodi Arias UPDATE: Convicted Murderer To Live In Prison For Life Without Any Chance Of Parole

Jodi Arias’ latest update reveals that the convicted killer is getting a sentence of natural life in prison with no chance of parole. Now that the sentence has been given, the 2008 murder case that made headlines for its salacious details is finally closed.

No reports of injury after a magnitude 3.5 quake in Los Angeles

Los Angeles Earthquake: 3.5 Magnitude Quake Shakes West Los Angeles Five Hours After Smaller Quake, Due To Drilling?

Los Angeles Earthquake – On Sunday night, the U.S. Geological Survey reported that a magnitude 3.5 earthquake shook the Baldwin Hills section of Los Angeles. Residents on social media described the recent Los Angeles earthquake as a “quick jolt.”

Collegiate rowing team gets attacked by Asian carp

Asian Carp Attacks Rowers, Flies Towards Them? [VIDEO]

Asian Carp Attack – Early Friday morning, the Washington University in St. Louis freshman men's rowing team experienced an unexpected scene with a swarm of Asian carp. The Asian Carp attack occurred as swarm flew out of the water and seemingly attacked, or to be more specific, slapped them in the face.

20 sleeping dam workers were killed Balochistan, Pakistan

Dam Workers Killed: 20 Sleeping Workers Gunned By 40 Men In Pakistan

Dam Workers Killed – Early Saturday, gunmen in Pakistan's southwestern Balochistan province shot and killed at least 20 sleeping workers, while wounding three at a dam construction site. The attack which had the dam workers killed is now considered the deadliest attack in recent times which targeted civilians in a region with low-level insurgency.

Disturbing video shows horse thief being beaten by police in California

Horse Thief Beaten By Police: Shocking Footage Shows 11 Officers Brutally Beating Thief, Gets Internal Investigation [VIDEO]

Horse Thief Beaten By Police – A video showing more than ten deputies beating and kicking a suspected horse thief is making headlines. The footage of the showing the horse thief beaten by police has been recorded by an NBC Los Angeles helicopter Thursday, and it lasts for about two minutes.

Six Thais, one Italian injured in car bomb blast on Thailand's Samui island

Thailand Car Bomb Explosion: Injures 7 In Popular Resort Island, Act Of Islamic Insurgency?

Thailand Car Bomb Explosion – On Friday, a bomb exploded at the Central Festival shopping mall in Samui Island in Surat Thani province, one of the country’s popular resort islands. The Thailand car bomb explosion, which went off in the basement of the mall after a fashion show at 11:30 p.m., injured seven people, according to authorities.

7 died in a plane crash near Bloomington, IL while returning home from NCAA championship game

Bloomington, Il Plane Crash: 7 Dead While Returning From NCAA Tournament, NTSB Investigating

Bloomington, Il Plane Crash – Seven people died after a small plane crash in McLean County, Illinois, near the Bloomington airport Tuesday while on its way home from the NCAA basketball tournament in Indianapolis. Authorities said that two members of Illinois State University's athletic department were amongst those killed in the Bloomington, Il plane crash.

Dozens arrested as violence erupts at Kentucky's basketball celebration

Lexington Fans Arrested: Wildcat Fans Rampage Over Loss, 31 Arrests Made

Lexington Fans Arrested – Following the loss of Wildcats to the Badgers, a number of Wildcat fans were left bewildered over the loss. However, some fans were quite enraged that they took their rage literally with a number of fires spread in the University of Kentucky’s Lexington Campus.

Caribbean Beach

Delaware Family Pesticide: Family In Critical Condition Following Alleged Pesticide Poisoning At Caribbean Resort

Delaware Family Pesticide – What should have been a safe and enjoyable Caribbean getaway turned out to be a deadly one. A family from Delaware is in serious condition following an alleged pesticide poisoning at the Sirenusa Resort on St. John in the US Virgin Islands.

Find Us on Facebook

travelers today

© Copyright 2015 Travelers Today All Rights Reserved.

Subscribe to our newsletter