An Australian man is suing American Airlines, alleging that he suffered serious injuries after being seated next to two passengers he claims were "grossly obese".
Michael Anthony Taylor, 67, said that although he was in the window seat during a flight from Sydney, Australia, to Los Angeles, the two other passengers in his row were obese and the airline would not let him switch seats.
Since the flight in December 2015, Mr Taylor says that he has suffered from back injuries and neck pain, and that it aggravated his pre-existing spinal curvature.
He is suing the airline because he says he asked cabin crew several times to be moved to another seat, but was denied.
Attendants were not able to reseat Taylor since USA federal regulations do not allow passengers to sit in crewmember jump seats.
This week, American Airlines announced the legroom - or seat pitch - in economy on its new Boeing Max jetliners wouldshrink by up to five centimetres on three rows, allowing for 172 extra seats.
"As a result of the fact that American Airlines failed to reseat him or even offer a viable alternative, he suffered bodily injuries by contorting his body within the cramped space caused by the intrusion of the grossly obese passenger sitting next to him".
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Janson notes that if Taylor wins the lawsuit, it could pave the way to many more cases against airlines over how they seat passengers and design seating.
According to the court documents, Taylor says that the bodies of the passengers next to him "spilt over and encroached" into his seat and had to "stand up, crouch, kneel, and lean forward" during his 14 hour flight.
His lawyer, Thomas Jansen, told News.com.au Mr Taylor asked on numerous occasions if he could change seats or even sit in the aisle or toilet to alleviate his pain. One each occasion, he was refused and rebuffed.
American Airlines told The Post in a statement: "We just received the lawsuit and we are reviewing the allegations".
"If Michael is successful, there will likely be many more lawsuits around the world concerning this issue".
Taylor, according to the case he brought in Australia's federal court, is seeking $100,000 in damages.