An irate plus-size model has said she was not allowed to board a Qatar Airways flight to her native Brazil because she was too big for her seat.
Social media influencer Juliana Nehme, 38, has now accused the Middle Eastern airline of discriminating against her because of her height.
In a message to her 118,000 Instagram followers, Juliana said she was not allowed to board her flight from Beirut to Doha on Nov. 22.
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Social media influencer Juliana Nehme (pictured), 38, has accused Qatar Airways of discriminating against her because of her height, after she was denied boarding permission due to her height – despite having a ticket. They told her to buy a first class ticket
She had been on holiday in Lebanon with her family and had arrived in the country via Air France without any problems, she told her followers.
But when she was denied boarding on her first return flight, she also missed her onward journey to Sao Paulo, where she lives.
Juliana said Qatar Airways has not offered to refund her the £830 she paid for her ticket. Instead, the influencer claimed, the airline told her to buy a first class ticket – with bigger seats – for £2,480 so she could fit in a seat on the plane.
Juliana commented on social media: “They are denying me the right to travel… I’m desperate, help me, they don’t want me on board because I’m fat.”
The influencer ended up staying with her mother in Lebanon, while her sister and cousin returned home.
She told her followers: “What a shame for a company like Qatar to allow this kind of discrimination against people! I’m fat, but I’m just like everyone else!’
At the time of reporting, Juliana remained in Lebanon and was unable to return home.
Juliana Nehme (pictured left at a Qatar Airways check-in counter and right) had been on holiday in Lebanon with her family and had arrived in the country via Air France without any problems, she told her followers. But if she was denied boarding on her first return flight, she would also miss her onward journey to Sao Paulo, where she lives
“I am standing here at the counter of Qatar Airways, with tickets I bought to go to Doha and from Doha to Brazil,” Nehme told her thousands of followers on Instagram in Portuguese.
“For no reason, the flight attendant from Qatar said I can’t get on because I’m too fat, and she says I’m not entitled to this plane ticket.
“I paid $1,000 for my plane ticket, almost R$6,000 (Brazil’s currency). I’m here with my mom, my sister and my cousin, a total of $4,000 in tickets for her to just refuse the tickets and not let me board the plane to Doha because I’m fat.
‘What am I going to do now? They deny me the right to travel, but I came here with AirFrance and everything went well, I had no problem. And now they are denying my ticket,” a clearly upset Nehme claimed. “They demand that I buy an executive ticket to go back to my own country, but I came here with a normal seat ticket.
‘I’m distraught, they don’t want to board because I’m fat. I need to buy a business ticket which is $3000, I don’t have this money. I don’t know what to do, it’s only 30 minutes before the plane takes off. They say I have no right to get on a plane because I’m fat. I don’t know what to do.’
MailOnline has contacted Qatar Airways for comment.
Pictured: Influencer Juliana Nehme poses while on vacation. Juliana said Qatar Airways has not offered to refund her the £830 she paid for her ticket. Instead, the influencer claimed, the airline told them to buy a first-class ticket – with larger seats – for £2,480
Qatar Airways was named the world’s best airline at the 2022 Skytrax World Airline Awards – a record seventh time.
With airlines looking to cut costs as much as possible, tackling the sensitive issue of overweight passengers has been a controversial one.
Airlines are tasked with calculating the weight and balance of their aircraft to ensure it stays within permissible limits for aircraft safety.
In the United States, it has been suggested that the country’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) weigh some passengers before boarding.
In recent years, the rising obesity rate in the US means that the standard figures used by the airline industry to calculate passenger weight are likely to be outdated and therefore unsafe to use.
It was said at the time that weighing selected passengers at airports would provide a more accurate figure for average passenger weight so that the number of available seats on flights could be adjusted accordingly.
Critics of such a move say it would open the door to discriminatory practices.