Airline hits back after woman claimed she was stopped from boarding flight for being 'too big'
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Featured Image Credit: Instagram/juliananehme
An airline has hit back after a woman claimed she was stopped from boarding a flight due to her size, saying she was ‘rude’ and ‘aggressive’ to staff.
Brazilian social media influencer Juliana Nehme, 38, was due to travel from Beirut to Doha on 22 November.
She had been on holiday in Lebanon and arrived via Air France without an issue.
But she was denied boarding on her first return flight, claiming she was not allowed onboard due to her size, which meant she also missed her onward connection to her home in Sao Paolo.
Nehme claims Qatar Airways did not offer to refund her the £830 she had paid for her ticket, instead insisting she had to buy a first class ticket where larger seats were available – something that would set her back £2,480.
Sharing a video with her 156,000 Instagram followers, the influencer said: “What a shame for a company like Qatar to allow this type of discrimination against people! I'm fat, but I'm just like everyone else!”
She ended up having to remain in Lebanon with her mother, while her sister and nephew flew home to Brazil.
Nehme explained in the video’s caption: “I'm spending money on hotel and taxi that I didn't need! Can't afford to hang around any longer. And they said I have to pay for another fare for my mother and upgrade mine to executive.
“But nobody wanted to sell me! I was extremely humiliated in front of all the people at the airport! All because I'm FAT!
“Shame on a company like Qatar to allow this kind of DISCRIMINATION against people! I'm FAT but I'm SAME AS EVERYBODY!
“It is not fair to buy my ticket and be HUMILIATED, THREATENED AND BLOCKED FROM FLYING! I NEED AN URGENT SOLUTION!”
However, the airline has now come forward with its own version of events, saying Nehme was ‘rude’ to staff at check-in and also failed to produce the compulsory PCR documentation.
"The passenger in question at Beirut Airport was initially extremely rude and aggressive to check-in staff staff when one of her travelling party did not produce required PCR documentation for entry to Brazil,” an airline spokesman told the Daily Mail.
“As a result, airport security was requested to intervene as staff and passengers were extremely concerned with her behaviour.”
Outlining its policy, Qatar Airways said in a statement to Tyla: "Qatar Airways treats all passengers with respect and dignity and in line with industry practices and similar to most airlines, anyone who impedes upon the space of a fellow traveller and cannot secure their seatbelt or lower their armrests may be required to purchase an additional seat both as a safety precaution and for the comfort and safety of all passengers.
"The passenger in question at Beirut Airport was initially extremely rude and aggressive to check-in staff when one of her travelling party did not produce required PCR documentation for entry to Brazil.
"As a result, airport security was requested to intervene as staff and passengers were extremely concerned with her behaviour.
"We can confirm that the passenger was rebooked on a flight from Lebanon."