A furious plus-size model has said she was prevented from boarding a Qatar Airways flight to her native Brazil because she was too tall 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 post to her 118,000 Instagram followers, Juliana said she was not allowed to board her Beirut-Doha flight on November 22.
Social media influencer Juliana Nehme (pictured), 38, has accused Qatar Airways of discriminating against her because of her size, after she was refused permission to board because of her size – despite having a ticket They told her she had to buy a first class ticket
She was on vacation in Lebanon with her family and had arrived in the country via Air France without incident, she told her followers.
But having been denied boarding on her first flight home, she also missed her connection to Sao Paulo, where she lives.
Juliana said Qatar Airways had not offered to refund her the £830 she had paid for her ticket. Instead, the influencer claimed, the airline said she had to buy a first class ticket – which has bigger seats – for £2,480, in order for her to settle into a seat in the plane.
Juliana took to social media to express, “They’re 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 in Lebanon with her mother, while her sister and nephew returned home.
She told her followers: “What a shame for a company like Qatar to allow this type of discrimination against people! I’m fat, but I’m like everyone else!
At the time of writing, Juliana remained in Lebanon, unable to return home.
Juliana Nehme (pictured left at a Qatar Airways check-in counter and right) was on holiday in Lebanon with her family and arrived in the country via Air France without a hitch, she told her followers. But being denied boarding on her first flight home meant she would also miss her connection to Sao Paulo, where she lives.
“I’m here at the Qatar Airways office, with tickets I bought to go to Doha and from Doha to Brazil,” Nehme told his thousands of Instagram followers in Portuguese.
“For no reason, the stewardess from Qatar said that I couldn’t board because I’m too fat, and according to her, I don’t have the right to have this plane ticket.
“I paid $1,000 on my plane ticket, which is almost R$6,000 (the currency of Brazil). I’m here with my mom, sister and nephew, a total of $4,000 in tickets so she just refuses the tickets and won’t let me board the plane to Doha, because I’m fat.
‘Now what am I going to do? They refuse me the right to travel, but I came here by Air France and everything went well, I had no problems. And now they refuse my ticket,” said a clearly upset Nehme. “They ask me to buy an executive ticket to go back to my own country, but I came here with a normal seat ticket.
“I’m desperate, they won’t take me on board, because I’m fat. I need to buy a business ticket, which costs $3,000, I don’t have that money. I don’t know what to do, there are only 30 minutes left before the plane takes off. They say I am not allowed to get on the plane because I am fat. I don’t know what to do.
MailOnline has contacted the airline for comment.
Pictured: influencer Juliana Nehme poses while on vacation. Juliana said Qatar Airways had not offered to refund her the £830 she had paid for her ticket. Instead, the influencer claimed, the airline said it had to buy a first class ticket – which has bigger seats – for £2,480
Qatar Airways has been named the World’s Best Airline at the 2022 Skytrax World Airline Awards – a record seventh time.
As airlines seek to cut costs as much as possible, how to tackle the sensitive subject of overweight passengers has been a controversial topic.
Air carriers are responsible for calculating the weight and balance of their aircraft to ensure they are within permitted 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, rising obesity rates in the United States mean that the standard figures used by the airline industry to calculate passenger weight averages are likely outdated and therefore unsafe to use.
It was said at the time that weighing certain passengers at airports would establish a more accurate number for the average passenger weight so that the number of seats available on flights could be adjusted accordingly.
Critics of such a decision say it would open the door to discriminatory practices.