Kevin ChenaisThe international media is abuzz over the plight of a young man suffering from obesity who has been refused transportation by planes, trains and even a cruise ship in his efforts to return from the United States to his home country of France. His family claims that he was discriminated against because of his weight (500 lbs) and deemed "too fat to travel."

In an article entitled "Too Fat to Travel? Man Rejected by Plane, Train and Cruise Ship," the Associated Press writes about Kevin Chenais, age 22, who is under medical treatment due to a hormonal imbalance.

He was in the U.S. undergoing medical treatment, and ran into a wall of resistance when he tried to return home. 

British Airways first considered him too heavy to fly. Then Carnival Corporation, the owner of the Queen Mary 2 cruise ship, refused to transport him across the Atlantic. 

Virgin Atlantic stepped up to the plate and flew the young man to the United Kingdom. But the Eurostar under-sea train service refused to transport him to France, according to press reports

The train company said that Mr. Chenais posed a safety risk "to himself, our crew and all of the other passengers on board."

With the involvement of French consular staff, Mr. Chenais was transported by ambulance to Dover where he caught a ferry with the P&O Ferries company. A ferry representative said: "It’s difficult to imagine the frustration that this gentleman has gone through. But for us, it’s very straightforward as we are set up to carry people who have medical needs."

According to Mr. Chenais, Carnival, which rejected his request for a cabin on the trans-Atlantic voyage from the U.S., "declined to comment."

Should cruise lines, air carriers and trains be required to accommodate obese passengers under these circumstances?  

Please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.


Photo Credit: Associated Press

  • Mel Blossom

    I don’t understand the risk he poses to anyone? Why could one plane and boat transport him but the other lines can’t. They should all be equipped for special needs passengers. This is just a special need that people can still get away with being prejudice against.

  • Princess Crewmember

    If the decision was made to abandon ship, the crew wouldn’t be able to evacuate someone of that size. Furthermore, the lifeboats are not equipped to handle someone of that size either, and that would mean taking up seats for other passengers inside a survival craft.

  • cbarker

    I am a large person like him and I travel with US Airways because they are really great, but I a mobile. Prejudice and discrimination against obese people is so accepted its scary! I have to deal with it daily. I’m glad he’s home, he should just move to the US, it’s not as bad here.

  • Pilot

    I wonder what you would say when he was abandoned during an emergency evacuation. Outrage offcourse!
    That’s the reason airlines and other transport companies refuse to carry such passengers.
    There are no fascilities on board an aircraft to lift such a heavy passenger.
    When Virgin airlines transported him, they took a risk.

  • Cal

    I’m a quadriplegic & overweight (275lbs), now what would happen in an emergency in my case? hmmmm