A man who sued British Airways for £10,000 because he was “squashed” next to an obese passenger during a long-haul flight has lost his fight for compensation.
Stephen Prosser said he suffered a pelvic injury and nerve damage in his neck on the 13-hour journey from Bangkok to London in January 2016.
The 51-year-old from Tonypandy in Wales attempted to claim damages due to loss of earnings.
But Judge Andrew Barcello said Prosser had created an “exaggerated picture,” the BBC reported.
Prosser had previously told Pontypridd County Court that he was “pinned against the side of the cabin” after a 23-stone man “wedged” himself into the seat next to him.
“I could feel the weight of his pure bulk putting lateral pressure on my upper body,” the father-of-two told the court.
“This forced me to sit in a position of unnatural posture.”
Prosser – who is 5ft 3ins and weighs 9st 12lbs – initially complained to the airline by letter.
He said that the passenger was so large he reminded him of the late New Zealand rugby player Jonah Lomu.
The self-employed civil engineer told the court that his injuries stopped him working his normal hours.
But the district judge dismissed the claims, ruling that there appeared to be no “physical encroachment” from the passenger.
He said Prosser “may well have been of the impression that his space was being encroached upon” but he found that it was not.
The judge suggested Prosser’s physical injuries could have been caused by a pre-existing back injury or “reluctance to mobilise”.
“In my view, his statements were intended to increase the size of the claimed encroachment and to create an exaggerated picture, rather than a genuine account,” he added.
A BA spokesman said after the judgement: “We are pleased that the court agreed that Mr Prosser had room to fly comfortably.”
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