A Bronx woman died stranded in Hungary, after airline officials booted her from three different New York-bound flights because she was too fat to fly.
The 425-pound woman had only one leg and used a wheelchair, and traveled with her husband to Hungary on Delta and KLM airlines on Sept. 17, said her husband, Janos Soltesz, who works as a security guard on Staten Island. His wife, Vilma, died in Hungary nine days after she was kicked off the first of three flights.
The couple traveled every year to a vacation home they owned in the Hungarian countryside, and before their trip, their travel agent informed Delta of her condition and bought two tickets for her and one for her husband. She’d planned to come home on Oct. 15 so she she could resume her treatments with doctors she’d been seeing for years.
They tried to fit her into the back of the plane, but they didn’t have an extension to secure her.
Vilma suffered a combination of kidney disease and diabetes and she gained water weight. The airline not only didn’t have a seat-belt extender for her, but the airline’s seat backs couldn’t handle her weight.
Janos said his wife was already seated when they were asked to leave. Then they were told to drive five hours to Prague for a Delta plane that could accommodate her as a disabled person, said attorney Holly Ostrov Ronai, who is mulling a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the airlines, accusing them of violating laws protecting the disabled.
But part of the problem, too, is that the couple didn’t trust doctors in Hungary, so they wouldn’t go to them. Eventually, Vilma died, and Janos buried her in Hungary.