Wales

'Squashed' passenger loses British Airways court fight

Stephen Prosser Image copyright Wales News Service
Image caption Stephen Prosser lost his claim for damages and loss of earnings

A man who sued British Airways for £10,000 because he was "squashed" next to an obese passenger during a flight has lost his compensation battle.

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 Rhondda Cynon Taff attempted to claim damages due to loss of earnings.

Judge Andrew Barcello said Mr Prosser had created an "exaggerated picture".

'Pure bulk'

Mr Prosser had previously told Pontypridd County Court that he was "pinned against the side of the cabin" after a 23-stone (146kg) 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."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mr Prosser had said the passenger reminded him of Jonah Lomu

Mr Prosser - who is 5ft 3ins (160cm) and weighs 9st 12lbs (57kg) - initially complained to the airline by letter.

He said that the passenger was so large he reminded him of the late New Zealand rugby star giant Jonah Lomu.

The self-employed civil engineer, from Tonypandy, South Wales, told the court that his injuries stopped him working his normal hours.

But district judge Andrew Barcello dismissed the claims, ruling that there appeared to be no "physical encroachment" from the passenger.

He said Mr 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 Mr 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.

After the judgement, a British Airways spokesman said: "We are pleased that the court agreed that Mr Prosser had room to fly comfortably."

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