• Arthur Berkowitz flying from Anchorage to Philadelphia
  • One of longest possible domestic flights without a stop
  • Said it was dangerous as he couldn't use his seatbelt
  • Obese man said 'I apologise, I'm your worst nightmare'
The passenger who had to stand during a seven-hour flight because of a morbidly obese man sitting next to him has today spoken about his ordeal.

Arthur Berkowitz, 57, said his 400lb neighbour on US Airways Flight 901 from Anchorage to Philadelphia made it impossible to get into his seat.

The obese man spilled over into Mr Berkowitz's personal space and he could not move because the plane was full so he was forced to stand up.

Image
© Alamy
Dangerous: Passenger Arthur Berkowitz had to stand for a seven-hour flight after a morbidly obese man next to him made it impossible for him to sit down

He said the obese man was very sorry. 'The first thing he said to me was: "I want to apologise - I'm your worst nightmare",' he told MailOnline.

Mr Berkowitz added that his ordeal in July presented a safety risk because he could not use his seatbelt for take-off and landing.

'I didn't fly from Alaska to Philadelphia on Flight 901,' Mr Berkowitz told consumer advocate Christopher Elliot's blog. 'I stood.'

'His size required both armrests to be raised up and allowed for his body to cover half of my seat,' he told the website, elliott.org.

The flight from Anchorage to Philadelphia is one of the longest non-stop U.S. domestic flights and Mr Berkowitz thought he had a spare seat at first.

But before the door closed the airline asked a late-boarding passenger who weighed 400lbs to sit down next to him in the last empty seat.

Mr Berkowitz has been flying with US Airways for 50 years, he said.

He added that there was a young exchange student from Eastern Europe on the same row as him who was 'pinned up against the window' by the obese man because there was so little space.

Flight attendants whom he told about the problem said they could not help him as he was not allowed to sit in their jump seats.

'They were sympathetic, but could not do anything,' he told elliott.org. 'No other seats existed on plane.'

Mr Berkowitz claims they admitted their gate agent had made an error in allowing the passenger to board without having bought two seats.

US Airways has since apologised for the 'regrettable' incident. A statement said: 'Our intention is to offer the best travel experience possible.

'The details you have provided indicate that we have failed to meet our intentions.' It offered Mr Berkowitz a $200 voucher in compensation.

But he called this 'inappropriate' after paying more than $800 for the ticket. He also complained the airline has not fixed the safety issue.

'I reviewed his case and agreed with him that US Airways might want to take another look at his complaint,' Mr Elliott wrote on his blog.

'I mean, leaving a passenger with no alternative but to stand for almost seven hours - if that's true, then this might be one of those rare cases when a full refund is in order.'

Mr Berkowitz told MailOnline he raised the issue primarily because he wants the airline and authorities 'to develop a policy on safety'.