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Overweight Passenger, Forced to Buy 2 Airline Seats, Given 2 Seats in Different Rows

Travelers Today       By    Katie McFadden

Updated: Oct 14, 2013 08:01 AM EDT

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A North Carolina passenger complained to US Airways after she was forced to sit between two obese passengers on a flight from Charlotte to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The woman says the other passengers were so big that they spilled into her seat. (Photo : Reuters)

Overweight people are often told that they need to buy an extra ticket for a flight. One man Les Price understood that, but he was shocked when he found that his two seats were nowhere near each other.

Les Price weighs about 518 pounds. Before boarding a flight to Ireland, he was forced to purchase two tickets. However when he got on the plane, he found that his seats were not next to each other. They were on either side of another passenger's seat.  The same situation occurred on his return flight. Except the seats were two rows apart, the Daily Mail reports.

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Price, 43, had booked his seats in advance. However he says the airline staff didn't seem to understand the policy of passengers weighing more than 280 pounds being required to buy two tickets.

"When I got to the airport I had to explain to all the staff why I had two tickets," Price sad according to the Daily Mail. "They didn't have a clue. When I finally got on the plane one was an aisle seat and the other was by the window - in a three-seat row. On the way back from Ireland one seat was in row 17 and the other in row 19."

Price, who is from Brynithel, near South Wales, said the incident is just another difficulty he has to endure as an overweight person. Price says he started putting on a lot of weight at the age of 10, but it was inexplicable as he claims he lead an active lifestyle.

"I was the same as everyone else, working, playing rugby, training, so I wasn't inactive. I'd work 70 or 80 hours a week and play rugby on a Saturday. I wasn't a layabout," he said to the Mail.

However a back injury left him immobile for a long time. "I lost my mobility, developed sciatica and I didn't get out of the house for three months. Even if the boys took me out they would pick me up and drop me off  and when I was at the pub they'd go to the bar and get my drinks for me."

When Price's wife died from cancer in 2009, he says he gained more weight by turning to comfort eating. "I fell into a depression,' he said. 'I couldn't be bothered to cook, would eat takeaways and want to treat my step-daughter Charlie because her mother had died."

Price isn't the only one dealing with airline rules for overweight people. Earlier this year, a travel expert advised airline to start a pay-what-you-weigh system, with heavier passengers paying more. Some airline adopted this method.

Price says he's trying to do what he can to lose weight. He says he is cutting calories and attending an NHS weight management clinic. "I want to be out there working," he said. "I feel guilty my partner is out there working all she can. Christmas is coming up and I feel awful I can't do anything to help."



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