Turkish Airlines modifies seats to fit world’s tallest woman Rumeysa Gelgi

The world’s tallest woman has flown for the first time ever after an airline modified its seats to accommodate her.

Rumeysa Gelgi, who hails from Turkey, is in the Guinness Book of Records for her 215cm height.

But the 25-year-old Harvard-certified web developer had never flown, with her height as well as mobility and health issues making fitting comfortably in a plane difficult.

That was, until Turkish Airlines made some modifications to one of its aircraft, replacing six seats with a special stretcher, so that Rumeysa could travel for the first time from Istanbul to San Francisco in September.

“A flawless journey from start to finish with @turkishairlines,” Rumeysa said in a recent Instagram post alongside several snaps inside the cabin.

“I have so many people to thank. @airclinic officials and officers, @igairport staff, @turkishairlines team, all cabin staff including our cabin supervisor, @flysfo officers and medical team, customs police and many other departments that I can’t count.

“But unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to know the names of many people who helped me with their kindness and dedication for 13 hours in the air for 19 hours in total and organised a ‘first flight’ celebration above the clouds.”

Rumeysa said it was her first plane ride, “but it certainly won’t be my last”.

“From now on it will be a great honour and pleasure to fly to different parts of the world with @turkishairlines. A heartfelt thank you to each and every person who has been a part of my journey.”

Rumeysa shared a series of snaps from the historic flight that show her lying across a stretcher where several seats have been removed to accommodate her longer stature.

One picture also showed her with cabin crew and a chef who treated her to a celebratory cake to mark the occasion.

Turkish Airlines told Traveller that Rumeysa’s condition did require some unique measures.

“A stretcher was installed in the plane for our passenger, who could not travel by sitting for a long time due to scoliosis, and with the special support of our ground handling team, our passenger was taken to the plane and made her journey on a stretcher,” Turkish Airlines told the publication.

Rumeysa’s condition has led to her using a wheelchair and a walker due to mobility issues.

“In addition, a surprise cake was served to our passenger and her family by our cabin crew and special support was provided during their travels,” a spokesperson for the airline added.

Rumeysa, who is also a disability advocate, was in San Francisco working with Guinness World Records.

Apart from holding the title of the world’s tallest living woman, she also holds the title of having the longest fingers of a living female, the largest hands of a living female, and the longest back of a living female.

In an Instagram post last week, Rumeysa shared her excitement about featuring in and on the cover of next year’s Guinness World Records book.

“This is the best-selling book series of all times, and I’m on it and in it!” she captioned the post.

“Finally holding my own #GWR2023 in my hands! @guinnessworldrecords kindly dedicated TWO entire pages to my story and record titles, and also gave me a place in the cover illustration. What a dream!”

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