A MOM and her two daughters were left in tears after they say they were told they were too large to fly in business class.
Huhana Iripa, 59, Tere Ashby, 37, and Renell Iripa, 28, were about to board their Thai Airways flight from Bangkok to Auckland when they were stopped in their tracks.
The sisters, who were in Bangkok for weight loss surgery, said they were “humiliated” in front of other passengers after they were barred from taking their NZ$1751.52 (US$1150.54/£880.42) business class seats.
Mrs Iripa told NZ Herald: “We went up to business class check-in and the member of staff on the desk looked at us and said ‘sorry you can’t’.”
Then a staff member came forward, saying “no, you’re too big, you’re too big”.
A stewardess measured their waistlines before sending them to sit in economy seats, it’s claimed.
Mrs Iripa said: “I’ve never felt discriminated against before because of my size, so this experience left me completely in shock.”
Thai Airways compensated them NZ$300 (US$197.10/£150.80) but the women said it was not enough given the intense humiliation they experienced.
Flight Centre, the travel agency they booked with, offered a full refund.
It turned out that in 2018, Thai Airways banned people with waists larger than 56 inches on their new Dreamliner 787-900.
The company justified this by claiming its seatbelts, which have airbags in them, could not be safely extended.
Mrs Iripa claims she was not told this when she booked the tickets and had no problem when flying the other way, from Auckland.
Thai Airways International New Zealand spokesman Wayne Cochrane told the NZ Herald the airline could not “compromise” customer’s safety.
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