A “plus-size” Brazilian model complained on Instagram that she was denied passage after staff told her she was too fat to fly. But Qatar Airways says the real reason she was denied boarding was because her party was rude and lacked requisite documentation for her destination.
Plus-Size Brazilian Model Denied Boarding On Qatar Airways
Juliana Nehme complained on Instagram that she was denied boarding by Qatar Airways at Beirut-Rafic Hariri International Airport (BEY), with agents telling her she was too large to fly. She claims that Qatar offered her a seat…if she paid to upgrade to business class. She refused:
“I paid a thousand dollars. I stayed for almost 2 hours begging to travel. My mother tried everything. I was threatened when trying to record what they were doing. The counter lady pushed me and nothing worked.
“…They wanted my mother to leave and leave me alone here in Lebanon But I don’t speak English or Arabic. …I was extremely humiliated in front of all the people at the airport! All because I’m FAT!”
View this post on Instagram
As View From The Wing rightly notes, if this was concern over her protruding into the personal space of others, she could have been asked to buy a second coach seat (unless the flight was sold out in the back) or more importantly, since she was traveling in a group of four and presumably seated with them, Qatar Airways could have obtained the consent of her seatmates that they were okay with her seated next to them.
But she missed her flight.
Qatar Airways, however, says that she was denied boarding because she was “rude and aggrieve” and because a member of her traveling party did not have a valid test to enter Brazil (they were flying from Beirut to São Paulo via Doha):
“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 traveller 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 travelling party did not produce a 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 behaviour.
“We can confirm that the passenger was rebooked on a flight on Thursday evening from Lebanon.”
Nehme has posted an update on Instagram. perhaps one of our Portuguese readers can help us translate:
View this post on Instagram
We’ve now heard both sides of this story and while the parties may disagree over the extent of the redness, it does appear she was initially denied from boarding in part due to her size and refusal to upgrade or buy an additional seat. Nehme is now scheduled to travel home tonight.