Air Traveler Ejected for Odor Loses Suit
BERLIN (Nov. 17) - A court in Germany rejected a man's compensation claim against an airline after a cabin crew ordered him off a plane because other passengers were offended by his smell, authorities said Thursday.
An appeals court in the western city of Duesseldorf upheld an earlier ruling that British Airways had acted within its rights by removing the man from the aircraft after a female passenger sitting next to him complained about his smell.
"The stewardess took him to one side and asked him if he could put on a fresh shirt, but they were all in the hold," a court spokesman said. "So then he was asked to leave the plane -- about two minutes before take off."
BA said other passengers were upset by the smell, he added.
The corporate lawyer and his wife were scheduled to return home from Hawaii via Los Angeles on a BA flight sub-contracted to American Airlines last year, and missed their connection to Germany when the incident forced them to take the next plane.
Including the cost of staying an extra night in Los Angeles, the earnings he had forfeited and his wife's lost holiday time, the man calculated BA owed him nearly 2,200 euros ($2,819), and took his case to a lower court in Duesseldorf earlier this year.
"The man said he couldn't help sweating after carrying three suitcases in 29 degrees (Celsius) of heat and sitting in the airport for two hours with no air conditioning," the court spokesman said.
"But the court said the airline's terms and conditions made clear they could bar passengers because of their smell."
The appeals court delivered a judgement Wednesday by default against the man when he failed to attend the hearing. The man, who told the court he was stuck in traffic, has the right to appeal.
According to its website, American Airlines' conditions of carriage say that transport may be refused if passengers "have an offensive odor not caused by a disability or illness."
British Airways stipulates that the airline may refuse to transport passengers "if carrying you or your baggage may affect the comfort of any person in the aircraft."
File that under YUCK.
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