Skooter reports 11/29/12
Three airlines is being sued for a total of $6 million by the grieving husband of the Bronx woman who died after being told she was too fat to fly home from Eastern Europe.
Janos Soltesz wants to know why his wife had to die because the airlines simply didn’t want to be inconvenienced, Ostrov-Ronai, Soltesz’ lawyer, said yesterday. Soltesz’ wife of 33 years, 425-pound Vilma Soltesz, died Oct. 24 in Hungary, after being denied from flights on Delta, KLM and Lufthansa.
The couple had flown to Budapest without trouble on Sept. 17 via Delta and KLM. Vilma, 56, bought two seats for herself. In their home country Hungary, they spent three weeks and had planned to go back home in mid-October so she could continue treatment for diabetes and renal disease.
Vilma didn’t have faith in Hungary’s health-care system and was afraid the doctors there wouldn’t know her medical history, her husband said.
Soltesz who works as a security guard for the Staten Island Ferry, will file the Manhattan federal court suit next month, according to Ostrov-Ronai, his attorney.
Lawyer Ostrov-Ronai was quoted as saying, “Very rarely do you have discrimination causing much more than humiliation and psychological damages, but in this instance, the discriminatory actions of the airlines led to something much more serious, Vilma’s death.”
The three airlines who were being sued told reporters they could not properly board Vilma, whose left leg had been amputated and who used a wheelchair.
At least one other large-sized flier was touched to Vilma’s story. Manny Yarbrough, a 700-pound sumo wrestler and actor, who missed a Guinness World Records event in Rome last March when Delta refused to let him board a flight out of Newark was saying…“If somebody flies over, obviously they should be able to fly back. In my case, it was only money I lost. In this case, somebody lost a life. You can’t replace that.”
Yarbrough was previously a regular Delta passenger, purchasing three tickets for himself. He said he was one-time world traveler and he is quitting flying because he doesn’t want to be humiliated again.
Delta said it would have had to restructure the seats to fit him. The federal Department of Transportation is investigating.
Airlines are mandated by federal law to accommodate disabled passengers usually applies to foreign carriers that fly to and from the United States. According to the Association for Airline Passenger Rights, Obesity usually is not considered a disability unless it is a result of other medical conditions.