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Italian lawyer sues Emirates over nine-hour flight spent next to 'obese' man

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 25/09/2016 Fiona Simpson

An Italian man is suing airline Emirates after being given a seat on a nine-hour flight next to an obese man.

Giorgio Destro, a lawyer from Padua in northern Italy, asked if he could change seats a few hours into the flight between Cape Town and Dubai because the overweight man was encroaching on his space, it is claimed.

Airline staff told him that the plane was fully booked and did not offer compensation or apology, an Italian newspaper reported.

He told Mattino Padova: "For nine hours, I had to stand in the aisle, sit on seats reserved for the cabin crew when they were free, and in the final phase of flight resign myself to suffer the 'spillover' of the passenger at my side.”

The "gold member" flyer is reportedly asking for €2,759.51 (NZD$4,277) in compensation - €759.51 (NZD$1177.42) as a refund for the flight, and a further €2,000 (NZD$3,100) in damages.

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Mr Destro, who previously worked for the Italian Consulate in South Africa, took a selfie during the flight which showed the arm of the passenger seemingly taking up part of his seat.

An Emirates spokesman said they were unable to comment as it was an ongoing legal matter.

The case is due to be heard on October 20 in Padua.

Last year, a man threatened to sue Ethihad airways over claims he suffered a back injury due to sitting next to a “very large” man on a 13-hour flight from Sydney to Dubai in 2011.

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