Wed, Nov 20, 2013 - Page 7 News List

Frenchman deemed too fat to fly gets Virgin plane ticket


Twenty-two-year-old Kevin Chenais of France arrives at Penn Station in New York on Tuesday last week after taking a train from Chicago.

Photo: AFP

A Frenchman deemed too fat to fly has finally secured a plane ticket back to Europe after an alternate plan to return by ship fell through, his father said on Monday.

Kevin Chenais — who has a hormone imbalance and came to the US for treatment — was due to take an evening Virgin flight from New York to London with his parents, Rene Chenais said.


However, Rene Chenais said he was not sure how the family would proceed after they arrived in London.

It is the latest development in a saga that began last month when British Airways determined the 22-year-old, who weighs 230kg, was too heavy to have on board.

The family subsequently spent a week in a Chicago airport hotel trying to resolve the matter and, running out of money, decided their only option was to take a train to New York and cross the Atlantic on the Queen Mary cruise ship.

However, the Queen Mary “also didn’t want to board Kevin, citing health security reasons,” the elder Chenais said in a telephone interview on the way to the airport from a Brooklyn hotel.

British Airways said that its customer service team “worked diligently to find a solution.”

However, according to a spokeswoman, it was “not possible to safely accommodate the customer on any of our aircraft.”


Kevin Chenais — who requires round-the-clock oxygen and medical attention — came to the US from France in May last year for treatment at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

His health problems, which have prevented him from living a normal life, began when he was just six months old, his father said.

Despite all the “setbacks,” Rene Chenais said his son — who had looked forward to taking the Queen Mary — was “a little sad” to be leaving the US.

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