What a nightmare for a New York couple; they only wanted to vacation at their home in Budapest. Janos and Vilma Soltesz flew from New York to Budapest with no problems.
While it was never easy for Vilma to fly, she always knew to make advance arrangements with the airlines. You see, Vilma weighed more than 400 pounds, and her left leg had been amputated above the knee. She had purchased two seats for herself, and informed the airline, Lufthansa, of her condition beforehand. Because of her weight, she needed a special lift to get her into the cabin.
Janos and Vilma made the flight to Budapest with no problems, but the trip back would prove to be the nightmare.
When the couple boarded their return flight via KLM Airlines, two of the seatbacks on Vilma’s seats were broken. Instead of offering the couple different seats, flight attendants spoke with the captain who told the Solteszes they had to get off of the plane.
After a long five hours at the airport, during which time Vilma began feeling ill, the airline informed them that they would be flying out on Delta Airlines, a partner of KLM. However, that flight would leave from Prague, which was a four-hour drive away.
They were assured that Delta would have the necessary equipment to help Vilma board the plane in Prague. However, that was not to be; the Solteszes were forced to drive four hours back to their vacation home where they called their travel agent. The travel agent found them seats aboard a Lufthansa flight.
Lufthansa was ready for the Solteszes and had almost finished boarding Vilma, when the captain came out and told them they had to get off of the flight because they were causing too big of a delay for other passengers who were trying to board.
The Solteszes got off of the plane and drove the four hours back to their vacation home to come up with a plan. Two days later, Janos found his wife dead in her bed.
He sued the three airlines for the wrongful death of his wife. The airlines asked for the suit to be dismissed. Janos’ attorney argued that the airlines not only failed to have proper equipment to aide Vilma in boarding, but also “caused Mrs. Soletsz to repeatedly board and disembark, travel from airline to airline, and even from country to country, which caused her medical condition to worsen.”
A judge agreed, and the case never made it to court; the airlines settled for an undisclosed amount.