Widower of 'too fat to fly' woman settles with airlines Lufthansa, Delta, KLM

Airplanes of German air carrier Lufthansa are pictured at the Fraport airport in Frankfurt on Aug 29, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Airplanes of German air carrier Lufthansa are pictured at the Fraport airport in Frankfurt on Aug 29, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The widower of a sick woman booted off several flights allegedly because she was too fat has settled his lawsuit with airlines Lufthansa, Delta and KLM.

Janos Soltesz, whose wife Vilma, 56, weighed more than 185kg, died in October 2012 in Hungary after she had been unable to return to New York to see her regular doctors.

The husband had been seeking millions in damages from the three airlines, accusing them of "recklessness, carelessness, negligence" for refusing to transport his wife, allegedly because of her weight and disability, US court documents showed.

The terms of the final deal were not made public, but the lawyer for Germany's Lufthansa, Michael Holland, informed the judge in an Aug 27 letter, published on the US Justice Department website, that the parties had agreed.

Vilma was "morbidly obese" and had one amputated leg, which required her to use a wheelchair, the lawsuit said.

She flew on Dutch carrier KLM from New York to Budapest, with a stopover in Amsterdam, using two seats.

But when her symptoms worsened while on vacation, she made an appointment with her doctors in New York and attempted to board a flight on Oct 15, 2012. However, she was unable to reach her reserved seats from her wheelchair and was told to disembark.

After waiting five hours in the Budapest airport, the couple drove four-and-a-half hours to Prague to take a direct flight with US airline Delta, which had been warned of her disability.

But Delta did not provide a means of bringing Vilma to her seat, so the couple was forced to return to Hungary.

A third flight, with Lufthansa on Oct 22, was reserved, and the airline was informed of Vilma's health condition.

She was trying to reach her seat, her widower said, when the flight captain asked her to disembark, saying she was delaying the flight and other passengers needed to make their connections.

Getting her off the plane took between 25 and 30 minutes, according to the lawsuit.

She died two days later.

Her husband accused the airlines of "gross negligence and recklessness/outrageous conduct," that led to his wife's "wrongful death".