500-pound Frenchman hopes to sail home after airline snub - Fox 2 News Headlines

500-pound Frenchman hopes to sail home after airline snub

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(Tisha Lewis/FOX 32 News) (Tisha Lewis/FOX 32 News)
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Stranded and stuck in America - that's the fate of a French family who says their son was not allowed to board his flight because of his weight.

The family says they booked a round trip ticket with British Airways and were stunned when they were forced to deboard the plane.

"The first discrimination is by not making the airplane handicap friendly, fat people friendly, sick people friendly," said 22-year-old Kevin Chenais in an interview with Fox 32's Tisha Lewis.

The Chenais family says they were stranded in Chicago after British Airways refused to fly Kevin Chenais back to France on his round trip ticket - because of his size.

"What happens now, what happens tomorrow, what happens tonight, what happens next week," said Chenais.

Chenais weighs 500-pounds and says he came to the country nearly two years ago to treat a metabolism condition and was scheduled to return home last week.

"Kevin's medical condition was very well accepted by British Airways last year when we came because actually we came and when you fly on the airline you have medical clearance signed by a doctor and British Airways knew it because they accepted to take us last year and this year," said Kevin's father Rene Chenais.

Kevin Chenais says he spent the last 18-months at the Mayo Clinic for medical treatment. Now, he's now stuck between a hotel lobby and room near Chicago's O'Hare Airport after British Airways apparently refused to allow him to board.

"It's very very hard," said Chenais.

The family says their options are limited. From Chicago they plan to take a train to New York and then sail home on the Queen Mary II.

British Airways released the below statement:

"We will always try to accommodate someone if it's possible and safe to do so. The British Airways team worked tirelessly to try and find a solution for the family and exhausted all options. Unfortunately we cannot safely accommodate the customer on any of our aircraft, in any cabin.

We were in regular contact with the family to discuss other options and we provided hotel accommodation and food throughout.

Between the time the customer arrived in Chicago and the departure date BA's approach to safety onboard has not changed. We ask that anyone who has any special requirements or a change in circumstance to contact us in advance so we can make every effort to help.

Please note, we do not set weight restrictions for customers. Decisions are based on whether we can safely transport an individual, that is our top priority."

"We don't really know because British Airways says it will reimburse us but not any money has come yet in our bank account and we have not received any check," said Rene Chenais.

British Airways also says its team worked tirelessly to try and find a solution for the family and exhausted all options.

The airline says it does not set weight restrictions for customers. Decisions are based on whether it can safely transport an individual.

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