An American man is considering legal action after being removed from a plane – despite there being plenty of room.

Matthew Harper, who weighs 154kg, had already boarded a Southwest Airlines flight from Chicago to Denver on Sunday when he claims an airline official told him the flight was overbooked and asked him to leave, the New York Daily News reports.

Given there was an empty seat between him and his brother, he was bewildered with this explanation, but stepped off the aircraft.

An airline employee then asked if he was aware of the policy regarding overweight passengers which insists travellers who encroach on another seat buy a second seat in advance.

He says he was allowed to return to his seat half an hour later, but was left “humiliated” and felt he’d been treated “like a criminal”.

"I'm 34 years old, and I've never been humiliated like this in my life. I mean, when I got back on the plane, only thing I could do was put my head down," Harper told TV station KDVR.

The airline has since apologised and offered US$100 as compensation. But according to reports, he turned down the offer and is pursuing legal action.

Southwest spokesman Chris Mainz says the flight left as scheduled.

“We sincerely regret Mr. Harper’s unhappiness over his experience.”

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