France - US - UK

British Airways refuses to let 'too fat' man on plane

A British Airways plane
A British Airways plane Reuters/Paul Hackett

British Airways (BA) refused to take a young Frenchman home from Chicago because he was too fat, his family claimed this week. Keven Chenais, 22, who weighs 230 kilogrammes due to a hormonal problem, had been in the US for treatment but could not fly home thanks to the company's decision.


Kevin Chenais, who uses an electric wheelchair and needs a permanent supply of oxygen and medical surveillance, spent a year and a half undergoing treatment for his condition at Chicago's Mayo clinic.

But, even though it had brought him to the US, British Airways refused to let him on the plane home, citing safety concerns due to his weight.

“We blame British Airways because now they just leave us and they brought us here,” a tearful Christina Chenais, Kevin’s mother, told CBS television. “If they could bring him here with that problem in economy, there was a way to take him back by economy but just get him back home for his medical treatments to continue.”

After spending a week in a hotel at Chicago airport, the Chenais family resolved to cross the Atlantic on the Queen Mary liner.

British Airways, which said it paid for the hotel and will reimburse his ticket, denies having changing policy between Chenais's outward journey and his attempted return.

“Our customer service team worked diligently to find a solution … Unfortunately, it is not possible to safely accommodate the customer on any of our aircraft," a company spokesperson told ABC.

The pilot's decision is final on safety matters, BA told the French consulate, which tried to mediate in the matter and put the Chenais family in contact with two lawyers.

Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning

Keep up to date with international news by downloading the RFI app