I’m getting on a plane in two days to fly from Sydney to LA and instead of being excited for my trip I feel sick to my stomach with fear. Not because I’m afraid of flying or of forgetting my passport, but because I’m fat.
Before you tell me it’s my own fault and I should buy an extra seat or lose weight… I have. I’ve lost 55kg in seven months, and based on my previous humiliating experiences I’m still worried.
Passengers have thrown tantrums because they didn’t want to sit next to me. People have asked to be moved. Flight attendants whisper and point at me and fellow travellers have a look of fear hoping I won’t sit next to them.
I’m not too fat to fly but I am too fat to fly comfortably.
Every few months there’s talk of putting all airline passengers on a scale at check-in and charging each of us by weight. This is sure to even out the problem and penalise the flying fatties, right? In theory yes, but what if you’re two-metre tall NBA player? You’re not actually ‘fat’ – you’re just big and heavy so that’s where the ‘penalising fat people’ tactic falls down.
Fat people still need to get from A to B, just as you do. So here’s a couple of tips from a flying fatty.
The best day to fly
Avoid busy travel days: so that’s Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday mornings. Instead, book Tuesday, Wednesday or super early Saturday morning or late on Saturday night. Red eye flights are also a pretty good bet.
Just think “when would most people least like to fly?” and choose that time.
The middle seat is the worst case scenario and the squishiest on all airlines. The aisle seat is always my first choice on long haul so I can get up and go to the bathroom whenever I like without having to wake up two strangers and asking them to get up and move. I know a meal cart slamming into you is the trade off for the aisle seat but I’m willing to take that risk on a 14-hour flight. I also choose the last row in front of the toilets because no one wants to sit there.
Listen: The woman who wasn’t allowed to be a bridesmaid because she was too overweight. (Post continues…)
If you want to know the exact dimensions of each seat you might want to check out Seat Guru. This is a great free tool, just plug in airline name, flight number, date and BOOM it’ll tell you all the numbers you want to know.
Get there early and speak to the staff at the check-in counter. I am always upfront and ask how full the plane is and if there is a possibility to have a vacant seat next to me for the comfort of the other passengers. They always say there’s nothing they can do, but often I end up with a spare seat if the plane isn’t full.
This will be the first time in a while I won’t have to do hand signals requesting a seatbelt extender. I’ll be interested to see how my experience changes this flight. In the meantime I won’t be able to relax until the last passenger is seated.
How do you maximise comfort on long flights?