A plus-sized Brazilian model was stopped from boarding the plane because Qatar Airways thought she was too big for her seat.
Last month, social media influencer Juliana Nehme claimed she was stopped boarding a flight because of her size, and airline officials discriminated against her.
After being mistreated by the Middle Eastern airline company, Juliana, 38, took to her Instagram and shared the incident with her 167K followers.
“They are denying my right to travel… I’m desperate, help me, they don’t want me to board because I’m fat,” she said at that time.
“I’m In Lebanon. I came via Air France, and the flight was smooth! I came from a financial journey, and I didn’t experience any embarrassment or harassment,” the 38-year-old Brazilian native wrote on her Instagram.
She also posted a video of herself standing at the Beirut airport, where the authorities didn’t allow her to board a flight from Beirut to Doha.
“I’m here at the Qatar Airways desk with tickets I bought to go to Doha and from Doha to Brazil,” she said in her video.
“With no reason, the stewardess from Qatar said I cannot board because I am too fat, and according to her, I have no right to have this plane ticket.”
She added, “I paid $1,000 on my plane ticket, almost R$ 6,000 (Brazil’s currency). I’m here with my mum, my sister, and my nephew, a total of $4,000 in tickets for her to simply deny the tickets and not let me board the aeroplane to Doha, because I am fat.”
Juliana said that she was asked to buy a first-class plane ticket; otherwise, she won’t be allowed on the flight.
“They require me to buy an executive ticket to return to my own country, but I came here with a normal seat ticket.”
“I am desperate, they don’t want to board me, because I’m fat. I need to buy a business ticket, which is $3,000, I don’t have this money. I don’t know what to do, there is only 30 minutes until the airplane takes off,” she said.
The influencer said she didn’t agree to buy another ticket and ended up staying in Lebanon with her mother, while her sister and nephew flew back home.
According to Daily Mail, a court in Sao Paulo has now ordered the airline company to pay for her psychotherapy for the distress they have caused her.
“The company had earlier responded to Nehme’s claims by insisting she was ‘extremely rude and aggressive to check-in staff’.”
“Judge Renata Martins de Carvalho ruled on December 20 that the airline must pay for psychiatric or psychological treatment for the influencer by a trusted professional.”
Daily Mail added, “The treatment must consist ‘of a weekly therapy session worth BRL 400 (£63) for a period of at least one year, totaling BRL 19,200 (£3,000), to be deposited in the plaintiff’s bank account’.”
In his ruling, Judge Martins de Carvalho said Qatar Airways must pay the fine as soon as possible since it became the source of Juliana’s trauma.
“Granting of urgent relief is a reasonable and proportionate measure to ensure that the stressful and traumatic event is overcome by Juliana.”
After the court’s decision, Nehme’s lawyer said the ruling was a huge milestone against prejudice.
Nehme also spoke to Brazilian media and said she started feeling horrible after that incident and didn’t know how she would ever feel better again.
“It was horrible. I’d never imagined going through something like this, ever,” she said.
“It hurts me now to remember how much I blamed myself because I blamed myself a lot, I even asked my mother for forgiveness several times,” she added. “I said, “Mum, forgive me, because me being like this stopped you from going home”. And she said it wasn’t my fault.”
Speaking to the outlet, the influencer revealed that she called the Brazilian ambassador after the incident and informed him of the entire situation.
“The ambassador called me and said he would help me. We stayed in an embassy home waiting for the decision.”
“Then, he called me on the 24th and said that he had spoken with the president of Qatar (Airways) and that I was authorized to return paying only what I had paid, that I wouldn’t have to pay anything else.”
Then she took a flight along with her mother and returned to Brazil on 25th November.
Qatar Airways issued a statement regarding the incident and said,
“Qatar Airways treats all passengers with respect and dignity, and in line with industry practices and similar to most airlines, anyone who impedes upon the space of a fellow traveler and cannot secure their seatbelt or lower their armrests may be required to purchase an additional seat both as a safety precaution and for the comfort and safety of all passengers.”
“The passenger in question at Beirut Airport was initially extremely rude and aggressive to check-in staff when one of her traveling party did not produce required PCR documentation for entry to Brazil.”
“As a result, airport security was requested to intervene as staff and passengers were extremely concerned with her behavior.”
What are your views on this incident and the court ruling? Let us know in the comment section.