Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Flying when you're Plus-Size

Plus size in Warsaw

I love going on adventures. I do not love being crammed into a teeny tiny airplane seat. Does anyone? It might not be something the average person may think about, but as a plus-size person, the thought of going on an airplane can sometimes fill me with dread.

Not many people love being practically cheek to cheek with strangers in a metal tube being hurled across the Earth at 500mph, with recycled air and screaming babies, and trying to get comfortable can be an absolute nightmare. With that in mind, I wanted to share some of my experiences of flying as a fatty, and a few tips for a comfortable flight as a plus-size person.

Busy Street in Warsaw

Do your research

Some airlines are a little more accommodating than others. When I flew to the USA, I flew with US Airways, and their seats were wonderful. I'm a decent size 26, and I was more than comfortable on that seven-hour flight. For shorter flights, I've found that I'm fairly comfortable on Ryanair flights, surprisingly. Their seats are slightly smaller than Easyjet, but I find them a little more comfortable. Seatguru is a good website to use to compare seat widths and pitches, and make your decision. That couple of inches makes all the difference. (That's what she said)

Leave with plenty of time

I'm a fairly anxious person at the best of times, and one thing I find that helps me calm down a little bit is to leave a good portion of time before my flight. If my flight leaves at 4pm, I want to be through security and ready by at least 2.30pm. I have absolutely no interest in running through the airport to get to my gate at the last second. It may seem unreasonable, but it helps me feel prepared and gives me time to try and calm myself down. I have plenty of time to get myself a coffee, last minute toiletries from Boots, and to have a quick bevvy to calm my pre-flight nerves.

Use the toilet beforehand

Once I'm settled on that plane, I don't want to move even a little bit. I want to sit down and listen to podcasts or watch pre-downloaded Netflix, until we land. As a plus-size person, I'm very aware of the space I take up, and potentially annoying people around me. Besides that, I don't want to be wriggling around a coffin-sized toilet, trying to have a wee when my ass could potentially get stuck. No thanks.

Don't be afraid to ask for an extender

The first time I flew with Dave to Berlin in 2013, I knew I was going to have to ask for an extender. I have a hard time accepting that sometimes I need a little help, and I was mortified. I didn't even know that extenders were a thing until I googled it about a week beforehand. I was dreading asking for one, but I bit the bullet and asked the cabin crew as soon as I boarded. She could not have been any nicer. She knew what I was going to ask before I'd even finished speaking and let me go sit down and get comfortable before she discreetly brought it over. 

Honestly, I've had mixed experiences with asking for extenders. Sometimes the cabin crew just kind of launch one at me before I sit down, and other times they'll come out practically screaming "WHO ASKED FOR THE EXTENDER?!" Asking for an extender doesn't bother me anymore, but if it bothers you, you can buy your own to take with you on Amazon.*

Be nice

This sounds weird, but bear with me here.

When people see that I'm about to sit next to them on an airplane, I'm met with one of two reactions. Either they literally couldn't give a fuck and just let me live, or they'll roll their eyes, scoff, or give just a general 'seething with rage' vibe. If you're one of the latter people reading this (for some reason), let me put it to you this way. Being plus-size, I'm very aware of the space I take up, and I try to take up as little as possible. You won't see me whipping my shoes off and reclining, or even insisting that I have the armrest. I'm more likely to be trying to fold myself into a tubby origami swan. I always introduce myself and at least say hi, before making a bit of small talk. It's harder (but not impossible, mind) for people to be a dick to you if you're being nice.

Believe me, I want the journey to be as bearable as you do. Know that I'm doing everything I can to make myself less of a convenience than I think I am. If you're that arsed about having more than 17 inches of space, maybe consider paying more than £40 for a flight, ey?

Pay for priority boarding/Move your seat

When we went to Poland, Ryanair gave Dave and I separate seats on opposite ends of the plane. They gave me the dreaded middle seat. I'm comfortable asking for seat belt extenders, but I'm not comfortable playing the game of Passenger Roulette by myself just yet, so I paid to sit next to Dave, in an aisle seat. An aisle seat tends to give me a little more space to lean out, but it does leave me open to being bumped by other passengers or the bar cart. A window seat also gives me a bit of shoulder room, and means I don't have to get up if anyone else on my row needs the toilet. Window seats and aisle seats aren't too different in terms of space, but I avoid the middle seat at all costs. It's a shame that Ryanair had me by the short and curlies, but that's not a battle I'm prepared to fight just yet.


Remember - you deserve to be there as much as anyone else does. You deserve to enjoy your holiday, business trip, family visit, or wherever the fuck you're going. Put your headphones on, travel pillow on, and chill the fuck out.

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1 comment :

  1. I can't believe people actually have the audacity to make you feel uncomfortable for sitting next to them, how very bloody dare they! I'd be half tempted to roll my eyes right back AND demand the damn arm rest if they're gonna be a git about it! Like you said, you deserve to be on that plane as much as anyone and to have your holiday get off to the best possible start, so bollocks to them that's for sure!

    Sarah :)
    Saloca in Wonderland