Too heavy: Alan and Jan Coupe weighed too much for their plane to take off

The plane was on the runway; the holidaymakers in good spirits. And when the stewardess came down the aisle towards Jan Coupe and her husband, she thought the flight attendant was going to check their seatbelts. Then came the moment Mrs Coupe wished the earth would open up and she could disappear.

For the stewardess had to tell the couple - who weighed 38st between them - that they were too heavy for the plane to take off.

Note: One stone =14 pounds As his wife cringed with embarrassment, 20st Alan Coupe moved to the front of the aircraft to help even out the weight. While it was a scene they wouldn't have wished on their worst enemies, some good has come of it.

The couple, who run a bed and breakfast business, were so shocked they started to diet and have now lost 12 1/2st between them.

Mrs Coupe, 49, said: 'It was a decent-sized plane full of holidaymakers - it wasn't a small plane - so it was devastating to be told that even a big plane like that couldn't cope with all our weight being at the back.

'The stewardess asked one of us to get up and move to the front, so Alan volunteered to move which I was thankful about as I was so embarrassed I just couldn't look up.'

Slimline: The couple have now lost over 12st through healthy eating

She added: ' We couldn't believe that we were too heavy for the plane to take off.' The couple married in 1980 and Mrs Coupe said they settled into a routine of eating late at night. 'We ate takeaways at least three times a week, and had our favourite Chinese or pizza,' she said.

Mrs Coupe, from Stubbington, Hampshire, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in January 2005.

In April that year, the couple decided to go on a week's holiday to Guernsey with son Chris - and that's when the plane from Southampton couldn't take off.

It wasn't the first time their weight had caused a problem.
A few years earlier they had been on a boat ride at the London Dungeon with their son and daughter Chloe.

Mrs Coupe said: 'Both Alan and I sat on the same side of the boat and it tipped over, causing water to slosh in. 'The man in charge asked us to move to balance the weight in the boat, and the children were mortified.'

Following the plane ordeal, and also to help with her MS, Mrs Coupe joined a Slimming World club.
She persuaded her husband to attend and in the first week Mrs Coupe lost 8lb and Mr Coupe lost 9lb.