Discrimination against obese people: a complaint against Delta Airlines will be reviewed by the Office of transport

News 19 January, 2018
  • File Photo, REUTERS

    Maxime Huard

    Friday, 19 January 2018 11:01

    Friday, 19 January 2018 11:01

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    OTTAWA – Delta Airlines has lost, on Friday morning, one round in its court battle against the human rights activist passenger Gabor Lukacs, who accuses the airline of practices that are discriminatory towards obese people.

    The man in Halifax, Nova Scotia, was formulated in August 2014, a complaint with the Canadian transportation agency (CTA) in which he challenged inter alia the obligation imposed on the obese people to buy an extra seat to ensure that they will not deny access to a volume

    The Office had dismissed the complaint of Mr. Lukacs under the pretext that the latter is not even obese, and that he could not therefore claim to have been aggrieved personally. The Office has also ruled that the activist was not acting in the public interest, because it did not challenge the constitutionality of a law, but rather the practices of a private company.

    The supreme Court, however, decreed on Friday morning that the CTA had exercised its discretion unreasonably in dismissing the complaint of Mr. Lukacs. “The case should be returned to the Office to look at it again in its entirety, either on the basis of the quality to act or otherwise”, one can read in the judgment.

    The decision Friday by the supreme Court thus confirms that the complaint will be forwarded to the Office of transportation.

    Gabor Lukacs began his efforts having been made aware of an email where the customer service of Delta spelt out its policy for passengers in overweight.

    “Sometimes we ask the passenger to sit where there is room for more. If a device is full, we may ask passengers to take a subsequent flight. We recommend that obese passengers to purchase additional seats, so that they can avoid being put on another flight and to ensure the comfort of everyone”, one can read in the e-mail sent to a customer who had complained of being seated next to an obese person.

    In September 2016, the federal Court of appeal had previously overturned the decision of the CTA, considering it to be unreasonably strict. Delta Airlines was the judgment of the Court of appeal, arguing that the agency had properly applied its discretion.