A Frenchman stranded in the United States because he was deemed too heavy to fly was finally allowed on a plane to Britain – only to be refused travel home by the Eurostar cross-channel train.
Kevin Chenais, 22, who weighs 32-stone (230kg), arrived at Heathrow airport with his parents after Virgin Atlantic agreed to fly him back from New York.
He had been in the US since May 2012 for treatment for a hormone imbalance and had been set to return home on British Airways last month, but the airline refused to accept him as a passenger, saying he was too heavy.
The family subsequently tried to sail across the Atlantic on the Queen Mary 2, but the cruise ship’s owners also refused to have him on board.
After arriving at Heathrow, Mr Chenais described the ordeal as “terrible, terrible, terrible”.
“The flight was really hard, I didn’t stop crying for the whole flight,” he said.
Mr Chenais praised Virgin for flying him from New York’s JFK airport and paying for the economy-class flights for him and his parents.
“That was very kind of them but I was very uncomfortable,” he said.
“I have a lot of problems with the skin on my thighs and the seat was small.”
Mr Chenais and his parents were met at Heathrow by French consular staff who arranged for them to try for a Paris-bound Eurostar train later on Tuesday.
But Eurostar then said he had been refused travel because of its regulations for evacuation procedures.
“His weight meant that we would not be able to take care of this person or be able to carry him to evacuate him,” a spokeswoman said.
She added that Eurostar did not have any specific weight limit, but each train has two places for disabled or limited mobility people and the train’s staff had to be capable of getting each of those people out in case of emergency.
Mr Chenais was staying at a hotel near the Eurostar terminal at St Pancras station while he looked for other options, including cross-channel ferries and taxis.
The family’s eventual destination is their home town of Ferney-Voltaire near the Swiss border.
Kevin’s father Rene, 62, said his son had been left feeling “empty” when British Airways refused to let him fly.
The same airline had flown him to the United States in the first place, he pointed out.