An obese Woman has given a detailed account of the precautions she must take and the struggles she faces while flying as a ‘very fat person’ with the hope her story will inspire other travelers to be more compassionate towards overweight passengers.
The writer, who is known as Your Fat Friend on Twitter, tweeted an entire thread about what it is really like for her to travel by plane, from the preparations she must take to the viscous complaints she’s heard other passengers make about her, Daily Mail reports
‘So, I’m on a plane today. Here’s what I did to prepare to fly as a very fat person,’ she tweeted on Monday.
ike to fly as ‘very fat person’ on Monday. (Stock Image Used)
‘Here’s what I did’: The woman explained that she to research airlines ‘customer of size’ policies before buy either a first-class ticket or two coach tickets to accommodate her size
Unlike most passengers, she explained that she has do more than just find the best price when she purchases a plane ticket.
Before she even started looking at flights, she had to research airlines for their ‘customer of size’ policies, and she noted that many of them reserve the right to kick her off the plane even after she has boarded.
‘The rest require purchase of a second seat. If I don’t buy one in advance, I’ll be charged the day-of price. Today, that’s $800 one way,’ she continued. ‘I’m charged for that second seat regardless of whether one is available. I pay double for the privilege of staying on the plane.’
The woman went on to say that even if she buys the second seat in advance, the airline could sell it to another customer, and if they do, she won’t be notified nor will her money be refunded.
Still cheaper: For this flight, she opted to buy a round trip first-class ticket because the amount of money she spent was still less than the cost of two coach tickets
The woman brought her own seat belt extender, which is sometimes confiscated by the TSA, just so she can avoid asking for one.
‘I’m not worried about the embarrassment of asking for a seat belt extender. I know I’m fat,’ she said. ‘I’m worried that hearing me ask for an extender will prompt others to complain. If they do, it starts a domino effect of trouble for me.’
The woman explained that if passengers complain to the flight attendants about her, she could potentially get re-seated, charged double, or even escorted off plane without any way to get home.
If she were to be kicked off the flight, she said there are still some policies that don’t include a refund or re-booking, so she could potentially be out $1,300 in addition to being stranded.
‘My body is regularly discussed in my presence’: The woman said that over the past two years, about 50 per cent of the passengers in her row have complained about her
The woman said that over the past two years, about 50 per cent of the passengers in her row complained about her.
‘No matter what happens, if someone complains, my body will be discussed loudly, with open revulsion, without regard for who hears it,’ she said.
‘As a very fat person on a plane, I am treated like luggage – a cumbersome, exasperating inconvenience. Inanimate & unfeeling.’
For this particular flight, the woman bought a first-class ticket that was about $900 more than a coach ticket because the seats are wider, and the amount was still less than the cost of her buying two coach seats.
Struggles: Although she splurged for the first-class ticket, the woman couldn’t do any work or eat the first-class meal she paid for because her tray table didn’t fit around her
However, despite the fact that she is 60lbs lighter than she used to be, the tray didn’t fit around her. She wasn’t able to do any work or eat the first-class meal she paid for during her six-hour flight.
The woman said she said sat in silence with her arms crossed over her body, just so she didn’t ‘encroach on [her] neighbor’s space.’
She also avoided asking for anything on the plane because she didn’t want the flight attendant to have to reach over her again, potentially angering the person next to her.
Although she was relieved to report that she didn’t have any issues on the flight, she recalled how humiliated she felt when a man sitting next to her six years ago complained to the flight attendant until he was moved.
Trying to make a change: The woman noted that her thread is about airline policies, and she went on to recall how someone cruelly complained about her six years ago
‘He got up several times to talk to a flight attendant, pointing angrily back at me. My stomach sunk as I realized what was happening,’ she said.
The man claimed it was for comfort, noting it would be better for both of them, but the flight attendant told him that someone else would be sitting in that spot before he was moved into the seat in front of her.
She said she spent the entire flight with her arms and legs crossed, feeling ‘humiliated and alone’.
No one spoke to her or made eye contact, and those who shared a row with her were given free food and drinks, ‘rewards for tolerating [her] presence’.
Horrible flight: After the man complained about her, she spent the rest of her flight with her arms and legs crossed, feeling embarrassed and alone
After that awful flight, the woman said she wouldn’t go anywhere on a plane, whether it was for work or to see her family, for another year and a half.
Towards the end of the the thread, she explained that she made the decision to return to flying because she loves her family, values her job, and refuses to let other people’s perceptions of her and her body rule her life.
The writer shared a similar story on Medium in March 2016, penning a powerful essay revealing the anguish she feels and challenges she faces as an overweight plane passenger.
Traumatized: The woman admitted that she didn’t fly for a year and a half after that day
Her poignant post – in which she said she ‘fantasizes about what could happen to spare me from humiliation’ – struck a chord with online readers.
She wrote that fat people are widely portrayed as taking up too much space and being too loud – a caricature that not only hurts her, but causes her to ‘crumble under its weight’.
‘In that way, air travel is sadly familiar, a microcosm of what happens so often as a fat person,’ she writes.
‘I am watched – and judged harshly – as I try – and fail – to fit into a space that was made for someone else. I am always too big, always too much, always unacceptable.’
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