Stuck Passenger Freed From Seat With Hoist


It’s not often a rescue operation happens inside an airliner, but British Airways staff had to remove a door and use a hoist to free a plus-size passenger from the largest available seat on the airline. The man was in seat 1A in first class for the flight from Nigeria to Heathrow and reportedly availed himself of the delights a $7,000 ticket offers. After 6.5 hours in the air, however, he couldn’t get up.

Numerous attempts by BA staff to get him up and on his way failed, and a more complex effort was mounted. “A volumetric passenger is stuck in seat 1A,” an engineering staff member said in a memo the Sun said it had seen. “The plan is to remove the suite door and use a hoist to eject [him] from the seat.” It took three hours to free him.

BA staff did their best to care for the embarrassed passenger, who was unhurt in the incident. “It sounded funny but, actually, people felt sorry for him,” the Sun reported a staff member as saying. “It was abject humiliation in front of hundreds of disbelieving passengers. Crew members did all they could to calm the man.”

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. I saw a YouTube video where a woman had to walk sideways down the isle of the aircraft to get to her seat.

    Then when she got to her seat, she proceeded to complain that the seats in aircraft are too small, and that she was going to file a formal protest with the airlines in that regard.

    Ahh, it’s not that the seats are too small…..

  2. “He can afford a $7000 airline ticket to London but not bariatric surgery in Nigeria?”
    Why would he do that when he can get it done for free in a UK hospital courtesy of the NHS (ie taxpayer)?

    • Waiting time for bariatric surgery on the NHS (which this pax May of may not qualify for, depending on whether or not he’s a UK resident) is at least 18 months at best. That said, if he can afford first class on BA, he could surely afford to go private…

  3. One more reason that we finally need legislation to ban airlines from discriminating against plus size passengers. Airline seats should be required to fit anybody, regardless of their size.

  4. British Airways should offer:
    “Volumetric passengers seats special at $7,000.00” “Hoist Services 40,000.00” “AOG, $500,000.00 per hour delay” LOL

  5. I am rather disappointed this click bait article is in Avweb. It, IMO has no aviation news value. An unfortunate and embarrassing incident was properly and respectfully handled by the flight crew. There is no news here.

    • The only reasonable comment here so far. Any of you had to sit in an economy seat for 16 hours (SFO-SYD). I have and it’s torture. The airlines (one of which I worked for for 35 years) have only one consideration in seat design… profit.

        • His body, his choice (but charge him for all the means that were employed to extricate his corpulence from the aircraft furnishings).

      • Did you consider going by ship / boat?
        Or did the prospect of doing it in 16 hours instead of six weeks, lead you to the choice?
        I have known people who have been crippled for 10 days after doing similar 16 / 18 hour trips in economy, and whose backs give out shortly after landing.
        It can be that travelling that way for family emergencies, but for other reasons, there are alternatives.

      • Your choice to make any trip. If it is that uncomfortable for you, and you being an airline guy for 35 years should know what you are setting yourself up for.

    • I agree with David G. “Overweight person needs help getting out of aircraft, humiliated by press coverage” is not news in my book.

      • Next time, rent a USAF HCU-6E (463L) pallet with a sofa and use a CRAF airplane !! 🙂

        “Volumetric”. Is that an approved pronoun for a fat person ?? 🙂
        Why not just say, “Weight challenged?” The pronoun police are coming for you.

        As to no news value — below — C’mon, guys … we all need an occasional chuckle. Lighten up. It’s a slow news day after Airventure.

  6. The easiest way to make “all trees equal” might be to simply tie the price of a commercial ticket to weight. I propose $2 / lb which would cost me about $440 per flight while incenting me to get back to my fighting weight would decrease my ticket price to 400$.

  7. § 25.562 Emergency landing dynamic conditions.​current/​title-14/​section-25.562
    14 CFR 25.562

    The tests must be conducted with an occupant simulated by a 170-pound anthropomorphic test dummy, as defined by 49 CFR Part 572, Subpart B, or its equivalent, sitting in the normal upright position.

    …(1) Where upper torso straps are used for crewmembers, tension loads in individual straps must not exceed 1,750 pounds. If dual straps are used for restraining the upper torso, the total strap tension loads must not exceed 2,000 pounds.

    (2) The maximum compressive load measured between the pelvis and the lumbar column of the anthropomorphic dummy must not exceed 1,500 pounds…

    I wonder if tests have been performed or interpolated for passengers weighing 300 pounds of more under the same limits. Will the seats belt and hardware, floor rails or floor fittings hold?