Rumeysa Gelgi, the world’s tallest woman, traveled by plane for the first time in her life. The journey from Türkiye to California took approximately 13 hours. Gelgi is 24 years old and at 2.15 meters tall, she was ranked as the world’s tallest living woman by Guinness World Records earlier this year.
According to the Daily Mail, Turkish Airlines had to remove six seats on board one of its planes and replace them with a specially designed stretcher for Gelgi. “This was my first flight, but it certainly won’t be my last. From now on, I will be very honored and happy to fly to different parts of the world with @turkishairlines. A sincere thank you to every single person involved in my trip,” Gelgi wrote on her Instagram profile.
She traveled to the United States with the intention of advancing her professional career (software development) and also to promote different events related to the Guinness World Records to promote various events.
This was my first flight but it certainly won’t be my last.Rumeysa Gelgi
Gelgi’s trip highlights the fact that air travel has not been easy for people with physical differences and disabilities. “We are devoted to ensuring all passengers can enjoy the freedom of air travel, and we expect standards [among participating airlines and airports] to be consistent so the same level of assistance can be offered to everyone,” Linda Ristagno, Assistant Director of External Affairs at the International Air Transport Association told CNN.
Ristagno mentioned that a recent meeting of the International Civil Aviation Organization produced a resolution that would better allow different parts of the industry to work together to improve accessibility. “This resolution encourages governments to collaborate with airlines and disability organizations, and all actors, including travelers with disabilities, to reach solutions,” Ristagno said.
The tallest woman in the world suffers from Weaver syndrome, a condition that not only causes accelerated growth but other health problems. Because of her condition, she spends most of her time in a wheelchair. However, she can move for short periods of time with the help of a walker.
According to the medical portal Orphanet, Weaver syndrome is a rare multisystem disorder characterized by tall stature, typical facial appearance and variable intellectual disability. The syndrome is caused by mutations in a gene and its occurrence can be confirmed by molecular genetic testing. In Gelgi’s case, the syndrome also caused scoliosis and physical impairment.