Geez, it’s just been one complication after another in the saga for one French passenger trying to get home to France from the US. It all started when (British Airways – “You’re Too Fat to Fly”) British Airways informed a French family that their son was too fat to fly home from Chicago (ORD) to France via London (LHR). The entire family, including the 500 pound son then decided to head to New York City from Chicago via Amtrak, arriving at Penn Station last week (Update – BA “You’re Too Fat to Fly” – Swiss & Air France Offer Rides). The plan was then to depart today aboard the Queen Mary 2, sailing from New York to Southampton on a one week voyage across the Atlantic. Unfortunately, Cunard Cruise Line, owners of Queen Mary 2, informed the family late last week that they were denying boarding due to the fact that they could not guarantee safe transport across the Atlantic given the medical requirements of the passenger.
Well, this morning, the AFP reported that the passenger and his family have made it to London thanks to Virgin Atlantic’s complimentary offer to return the passenger back to Europe…in economy.
Arriving at Heathrow, Chenais described the flight as “terrible, terrible, terrible”. “The flight was really hard,” he told AFP in French as he sat on a mobility scooter at the airport, wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with a large US flag. “I didn’t stop crying for the whole flight.” But he praised Virgin for flying him out from New York’s JFK airport and paying for the economy-class flight. “That was very kind of them,” he said. The family were met at Heathrow by French consular staff who are trying to arrange the final leg to France by Eurostar or Air France. Chenais, who requires regular oxygen and round-the-clock care, expressed his anger at British Airways and the Queen Mary for refusing to take him home. “We were all set to take the boat, then they turned us back without even seeing me, without even trying,” he said.
(AFP Photo/Andrew Cowie)