New York: A harried US Airways passenger has complained that he was forced to stand throughout during a seven-hour non-stop flight because a co-passenger took up half his seat.
Arthur Berkowitz, a businessman, said his neighbour, weighing over 181 kilos, on US Airways Flight 901 from Anchorage to Philadelphia made it impossible to get into his seat.
"He was the last one to board, and as he walked down to me, he said, 'I really want to apologise. I'm your worst nightmare,''' Arthur Berkowitz, 57, said of the obese man who squeezed next to him on the flight.
"He was a cordial person. But the facts are he took half my seat, and half the seat of an exchange student who was pinned up against the window," Berkowitz was quoted as saying by the New York Post.
Berkowitz said his ordeal in July presented a safety risk because he could not use his seatbelt for take-off and landing.
Berkowitz said he tried for months to get a response from US Airways for the gruelling $800 trip and all he got was a "lousy" $200 voucher.
Berkowitz vented his frustration consumer advocate Christopher Elliot's blog, saying: "I didn't fly from Alaska to Philadelphia, I stood."
"His size required both armrests to be raised up and allowed for his body to cover half of my seat," Berkowitz, who has been flying with US Airways for 50 years, said.
The flight from Anchorage to Philadelphia is one of the longest non-stop US domestic flights.
Berkowitz claims the flight attendants admitted their gate agent had made an error in allowing the passenger to board without having bought two seats.
US Airways has since apologised for the 'regrettable' incident. A statement said: "Our intention is to offer the best travel experience possible."
"The details you have provided indicate that we have failed to meet our intentions," the Daily Mail reported.
Berkowitz said he raised the issue primarily because he wants the airline and authorities to develop a policy on safety.
Story first published:
November 25, 2011 18:24 IST