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Women 'hurt and humiliated' after being kicked off flight for being 'too big'

Women 'hurt and humiliated' after being kicked off flight for being 'too big'

Angel Harding believes her 'size' is the reason she was kept off the plane

Two women who believe they were kicked off an Air New Zealand flight because of their 'size' have described being left feeling 'hurt and humiliated'.

Angel Harding had been travelling home from Napier to Auckland with two other women earlier this month when the alleged incident unfolded on board.

Everything had gone 'without a problem' on their flight out, but after they boarded the flight to Aukland Harding, she claimed she suddenly felt a pain in her left arm and turned to see a flight attendant forcing her arm rest down

“I was kind of was in shock,” she said in an interview with 1News.

"I moved forward, and she started yelling to me that the pilot can’t take off unless all the arm rests were down, and she was quite aggressive to me," Harding continued.

"She was speaking to me in an aggressive manner. I just couldn’t believe what was happening to me.”

The flight attendant is said to have stopped when Harding asked her to, at which point, her friend asked the crew member whether she should be seated as the plane was in motion.

Angel Harding claimed she and her friend were removed and kept off the plane.
Adam Bradley/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

"And then [the flight attendant] looked at both of us and said, ‘I can get you both kicked off this flight’,” Harding claimed.

According to Harding, the flight attendant then spoke into a phone before telling all passengers they would need to exit the plane due to an 'inconvenience'.

“After she hung up the phone, she came over and said, ‘you two should have booked four seats, you two should have bought two seats each’,” Harding said.

The two women were assisted off the plane in wheelchairs due to medical conditions, and were then left with another Air New Zealand worker.

However, while everyone else reboarded the plane, the two women were allegedly prevented from getting back on board.

The other woman travelling with the pair, Kathleen Tuhiwai Wharemate, said she was left 'crying' as she left them behind.

Harding said she couldn't afford to buy two seats.

Harding has said they were not given an explanation as to why they were removed from the flight, but expressed belief it was down to their size.

“My thoughts are they took me off because of my build, because of my size," she said. "As to myself and our build, our size had a lot to do with it. They didn’t say it [was], they said it was an inconvenience.”

The customers were allegedly told they would need to rebook their seats, but when Harding told a staff member they were not in a financial position to purchase two tickets each, the airline offered to cover the cost of accommodation, meals and their flights back, as well as complimentary access to an airport lounge.

Harding and her friend were ultimately able to get seats on a flight later that day, but Harding decided to speak out because she doesn't want 'anyone to go through the trauma that [they] are going through right now'.

Air New Zealand has urged customers to get in touch if they require extra room.

In response to Harding's claims, a spokesperson for Air New Zealand said staff will work to re-accommodate any customers who require extra room on an aircraft if there is space available.

They added that they 'strongly recommend' customers get in touch with the airline before a flight to ensure a 'safe and comfortable journey'.

Per 1News, the airline added: "We are committed to treating all customers with respect and dignity and we apologise that these customers received an inconsistent experience. We will continue to work with the customer directly to address their concerns."

Following the incident, Harding and her friend are seeking compensation for hurt, humiliation and trauma.

UNILAD has contacted Air New Zealand for comment.

Featured Image Credit: 1News

Topics: Travel, World News