By Richard Smith, The Mirror, London. Oct 22 2002

AN airline paid £13,000 to a woman who was injured after being squashed by a fat

 Barbara Hewson, 61, who is just 4ft 11in, had a blood clot, torn leg muscles and
 sciatica after the 11-hour flight to Los Angeles with the 23 stone woman almost on
 top of her.

 She is still in pain and having treatment two years later and often needs a walking
 stick. But at first Virgin Atlantic offered just a "small basket of tinned goods worth
 about £15".

 Barbara said yesterday: "It was horrific. She was so enormous she was literally on
 top of me. Her leg was pressing down on mine and her arm was across my chest,
 pinning me down."

 She complained to cabin staff but was told the plane was full and the American
 woman could not be moved. "They said I could get off and wait for the next flight
 or ask if another passenger would exchange seats, which was clearly ludicrous."

 At Los Angeles, Barbara, on holiday with husband Roy, 67, was taken to hospital
 and spent a month in bed.

 Barbara, of Swansea, threatened to sue and won the payout after a series of offers.
 She said: "Their attitude was awful."

 Virgin said: "This was an unprecedented set of extremely unfortunate

Virgin Atlantic boss and Mega publicity seeker Richard Branson has recently announced his plans for his next generation airliners.  He intends to offer in-flight Jacuzzis. gymnasiums, double beds ( we would not be surprised if pressurized boudoirs we also being contemplated by the Branson brain ).  Long suffering passengers have greeted these proposals with  dismay - most would prefer a few more inches of personal space to ease the suffering on long- haul routes.

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