With a small seating adjustment, Rumeysa Gelgi finally boarded a plane for the first time in her life. It was not an easy path, but the tallest woman in the world made her very first trip by plane with the help of Turkish Airlines.
Gelgi, who is in the Guinness Book of Records for her 2.15-meter (about 7-foot) height, was able to make the journey after Türkiye’s flagship airline turned six seats on the plane into stretchers. Gelgi has to travel by stretcher due to Weaver syndrome, a genetic disorder characterized by rapid growth. She normally gets around by wheelchair but sometimes walks for short distances. The 25-year-old software developer wanted to travel to the U.S. to collaborate with Guinness for an event and to help develop her professional career. Accompanied by her mother, the young woman boarded the flight with her wheelchair before laying on the stretcher inside the plane for a 13-hour flight to San Francisco.
She told reporters at Istanbul Airport that she was very excited to travel by plane for the first time, and that this flight was important for patients like her who need a stretcher. “This will be my first flight as well as my first travel overseas. But I believe that this experience will be a first for many individuals, not just me. Because as you know, the option of traveling as a stretcher passenger is generally reserved for patients who are being transferred from one intensive care unit to another. “It is an alternative for patients who are referred from one hospital to another and need an ambulance. However, because I couldn’t sit for lengthy periods of time due to my scoliosis, or spine curvature disorder, I had to fly on a stretcher,” she said.
Gelgi lives in Karabük, Türkiye, about 200 kilometers (124 miles) north of the capital, Ankara. She says she is using her world record title to advocate and raise awareness of both Weaver syndrome and scoliosis. The world’s tallest man also lives in Türkiye: Sultan Kosen, who has been measured at 2.51 meters (8 feet 2.8 inches) tall.