Brazilian Plus-Size ‘Model’, Juliana Nehme, Throws Tantrum After Qatar Airways Tells Her to Upgrade to First Class Because She’s Too Fat For Economy Seat KossyDerrickBlog KossyDerrickEnt

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Monday, November 28, 2022

Brazilian Plus-Size ‘Model’, Juliana Nehme, Throws Tantrum After Qatar Airways Tells Her to Upgrade to First Class Because She’s Too Fat For Economy Seat

A furious plus-size model who said she was stopped from boarding a Qatar Airways flight because she was too large was 'extremely rude and aggressive to check-in staff,' the airline has told MailOnline.

Social media influencer Juliana Nehme, 38, accused the middle eastern airline of discriminating against her due to her size, saying that she was stopped from boarding a flight to her native Brazil because she was too 'fat' for her seat.

The airline said, 'the passenger in question at Beirut Airport was initially extremely rude and aggressive to check-in staff staff when one of her travelling party did not produce required PCR documentation for entry to Brazil,' an airline spokesman said. 

'As a result, airport security was requested to intervene as staff and passengers were extremely concerned with her behaviour.'

In a post for her 118,000 Instagram followers, Juliana said she was not allowed to board her flight from Beirut to Doha on November 22 because of her size. 

She claimed she was told she would have to purchase a much more expensive first-class seat in order to board the flight.

Outlining its policy, Qatar Airways said any passenger 'who impedes upon the space of a fellow traveller and cannot secure their seatbelt or lower their armrests may be required to purchase an additional seat both as a safety precaution and for the comfort and safety of all passengers.'

This, the airline said, is in line with industry practice and most other airlines.

Nehme had been on holiday in Lebanon with her family and had arrived in the country via Air France without a hitch, she told her thousands followers.

But being denied boarding on her first return flight meant she also went on to miss her onward connection to Sao Paulo, where she lives.

Juliana said Qatar Airways did not offer to refund her the £830 she had paid for her ticket. Instead, the influencer claimed, the airline said she needed to buy a first-class ticket - which has larger seats - for £2,480, so she fit into a seat on the plane.

Juliana took to social media to vent: 'They are denying my right to travel... I'm desperate, help me, they don't want me to 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 just like everyone else!'

At the time of reporting, Juliana remained in Lebanon unable to get back home. Qatar Airways told MailOnline that it could 'confirm that the passenger has been rebooked on a flight this evening [November 24] from Lebanon.'


Now, what am I going to do? They are denying my right to travel, but I came here by AirFrance and everything went well, I had no problem. And now, they are denying my ticket,' a clearly upset Nehme claimed. 'They are requiring me to buy an executive ticket to go back to my own country, but I came here with normal seat ticket.

'I am desperate, they don't want to board me, because I'm fat. I need to buy a business ticket, which is $3,000, I don't have this money. I don't know what to do, there is only 30 minutes until the airplane takes off. They are saying I have no right to board in the airplane, because I'm fat. I don't know what to do.'

MailOnline has contacted the Qatar Airways for comment. Qatar Airways was named the world's best airline at the 2022 Skytrax World Airline Awards - a record seventh time.

With airlines looking to cut costs as much as possible, how to approach the sensitive topic of overweight passengers has been a contentious subject. 

Airline carriers are tasked with calculating the weight and balance of their aircraft to ensure its within allowable limits for the safety of the plane. 

In the United States, it has been suggested that the country's Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) weighs some passengers before they board.

In recent years, increasing obesity rates in the US means that the standard numbers used by the airline industry to average out passenger weight is likely outdated and therefore, unsafe to use. Juliana Nehme complained on Instagram that she was denied boarding by Qatar Airways at Beirut-Rafic Hariri International Airport (BEY), with agents telling her she was too large to fly. She claims that Qatar offered her a seat…if she paid to upgrade to business class. She refused:

“I paid a thousand dollars. I stayed for almost 2 hours begging to travel. My mother tried everything. I was threatened when trying to record what they were doing. The counter lady pushed me and nothing worked.

“…They wanted my mother to leave and leave me alone here in Lebanon But I don’t speak English or Arabic. …I was extremely humiliated in front of all the people at the airport! All because I’m FAT!”

Qatar Airways, however, says that she was denied boarding because she was “rude and aggrieve” and because a member of her traveling party did not have a valid test to enter Brazil (they were flying from Beirut to São Paulo via Doha):

“Qatar Airways treats all passengers with respect and dignity and in line with industry practices and similar to most airlines, anyone who impedes upon the space of a fellow traveller and cannot secure their seatbelt or lower their armrests may be required to purchase an additional seat both as a safety precaution and for the comfort and safety of all passengers.

“The passenger in question at Beirut Airport was initially extremely rude and aggressive to check-in staff when one of her travelling party did not produce a required PCR documentation for entry to Brazil. As a result, airport security was requested to intervene as staff and passengers were extremely concerned with her behaviour.

“We can confirm that the passenger was rebooked on a flight on Thursday evening from Lebanon.”

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