An Open Letter to Thin People Who Feel Infringed on by Fat People on Airplanes

You don’t know me, but I know you.

I see you glance at me over your magazine or phone at the gate. You cast your gaze downward when I meet it. “I hope I don’t get stuck next to her,” I imagine you thinking as you go back to scrolling through your social media feed. Maybe you tweet about me, the fat woman sitting across from you at the gate, whose hips can barely be contained by the generous seat. Maybe you text your thin friend, who will understand your anxiety about being seated next to me on the plane.

I wish I could tell you that I’m also terrified of being seated next to you. I’m afraid of how you’ll look at me, what you’ll say to me. I’m afraid that you might film me, film how my thighs struggle against the seat and invade your space, perhaps to laugh at me on social media or complain to the airline afterward. I steel myself for a confrontation that hasn’t happened yet. I scan the other people waiting at the gate; each thin person is a potential aggressor, someone who may be disgusted and enraged by sitting next to me. I try to shrink myself in my chair. It’s no use. My hips touch the arms of the chair, and there’s nothing I can do about it. I am grateful, however, that the seats at the gate are wide. The arms of the seat don’t dig into my hips; they just gently graze them. Since we are stuck at this gate for a few hours, I am thankful that this particular chair will not leave me with bruises on my hips. It’s happened many times before, and it’s a discomfort I have come to both expect and never question. I usually greet the discomfort with a weary sigh, but in this case, I was able to breathe a sigh of relief. This seat is comfortable. Usually, seats are not.

I return to my book and try to forget about you.

I snuggle into my husband, who is traveling with me. He is thin and conventionally attractive, but he doesn’t mind when I invade his space. I also see you glance at him, then back to me, your eyes darting to our wedding rings. I know what you’re thinking. “How does that work? How is he with her?” My husband doesn’t see this, but I do. He never sees it. He grabs my hand. He knows I don’t like to fly.

We take a selfie, because we’re on our honeymoon.

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The act of being in the airport feels bold to me. It’s something I have been afraid of doing. I wish I could tell you how much thought and preparation went into this flight. I spent hours online researching the policies of the airline, taking comfort in knowing the possible outcomes if I do not fit into the seat, or if a passenger takes exception to my presence. I seek out opinions online — I am part of a group of fat travelers who share information about the aircrafts they’ve flown on, how big the seats and seatbelts are, what the “customer of size” policies are, how accommodating the airline is. The group has thousands and thousands of people just like me, who are terrified of people like you, of being dehumanized and humiliated. I try to find pictures of aircraft seats online. I try to find the exact seat size, arm rest to arm rest, so I can determine whether the pillowy expanse of my hips will fit within them. I know that the measure of whether I will be able to fly peacefully depends, in part, on that measurement.

In the end, the math that makes the most sense is upgrading to a first class ticket. We are not rich, but it is worth the added peace of mind.

I see your face when I stand up to board first. You scan me, trying to understand. I do not look rich; I’m wearing jeans, a hoodie, a t-shirt, beat up old Converse sneakers. “How is she boarding before me?!” you think to yourself. Your eyes turn, once again, to my husband. “That’s it,” you say to yourself. “He must be well-off.” You stop looking, satisfied. Because you assume that because of my size, I must also be lazy, underemployed, poor. But you jut out your jaw a little bit at the injustice of it all when you turn back to your phone. I feel you hovering close to the outskirts of the line, waiting to board, furious that I get to board before you.

In the first boarding group, a thin man in a suit pushes past me. He also cannot believe I am there, so has decided that he can push me out of the way. He has more of a right to be there than me. His carry-on is a laptop. He is very important.

My husband grabs my hand again, and kisses me on the cheek. He acts as a protective shield in situations like this. If he could fold me up into his luggage to transport me fully shielded from you and your gaze, your jutted jaw, your brief but unmistakable eye-rolls, he would. He just wants me to get there unscathed.

We board the plane, and I hang back, like I always do. There are many people here who are more important than me in this priority boarding group, so I let them board first. I don’t want to make a scene, or act too entitled. I know I am lucky to be here. I want you to know that I know I’m lucky, so I let everyone else board first. I am quiet, and smile at everyone who passes me. My smile is deferential, appeasing, a shield.

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When we get to the plane, I find my seat. In first class, there are only two seats per row, thank god. The only person whose space I can infringe on is my husband’s space, and he doesn’t mind.

I get to my seat. The man in the suit with the carry-on laptop is in my seat. I wait for a moment, and then approach him. “I’m sorry,” I say, in my most polite voice. “I think you’re in my seat?” It is not a question, but I phrase it as such, so as not to seem too bold or accusatory. I am the master of non-intimidating uptalk.

He looks at his ticket. He’s already stowed away his laptop bag and opened his laptop. He says nothing, does not apologize, but collects his things and moves to his seat.

I ask my husband if he can put my carry-on in the overhead bin. I ask him to do this not because I am lazy, but because I worry about what will happen if in reaching up to stow away my bag, my shirt travels up an exposes a bit of back or tummy. I wear a camisole underneath my t-shirt to shield any eyes from my exposed flesh, in the event that it becomes a possibility, but I’m still nervous about it. I never know what will set you off, and I feel your eyes on me. So I’m not risking it.

I settle in, crack open my book. I’m sitting my the window because even though the window makes me feel anxious during the flight, it provides some degree of protection from other passengers.

I ask a flight attendant for a seatbelt extender. She grabs one and passes it to me discreetly, with a wink, like she were handing me something illicit or embarrassing. Her discretion is not necessary, but I am grateful for this act of kindness.

The rest of you board. I focus on my book, but I feel you pass me, one at a time, and look before you head to the other side of the curtain, to find your economy seat. Sometimes I catch a hint of befuddlement, sometimes resentment. “Who is she? How come she’s in first class?” The feeling of collective injustice is palpable as you all pass. I mentally challenge you not to look at me. You all do, anyway.

We take off. I did it, I got on the plane without any major incidents. I absorb myself in my book. The rest of the passengers forget about me.

I am offered drinks by the flight attendants, but I refuse, because I know there’s another hour left in the flight and I won’t fit into the tiny bathroom. I am thirsty, but say, “No thank you.” I have strategically planned my meals and fluids for this flight, and stopped eating and drinking several hours before we boarded. Every part of this trip has been strategically planned.

I wish you knew, I wish you could understand, how much planning goes into travel when you’re fat. It adds more layers to your trip than I think you can imagine. I am lucky, because I am white, able-bodied, and can hide behind my husband. If you are brown, disabled, trans, or otherwise visibly “different,” it adds even more layers. There are even more eyes on you, as you try to quietly get to your destination.

Consider Norma Rodgers’ experience. I wonder if the woman on the flight, loudly calling the large bodies she was seated between “pigs” and telling the flight attendant she “can’t breathe,” would have been so bold seated beside me. She was seated between two people who were fat, but also Black. I imagine this added to her distress. Not only was she flanked by people in large bodies who had the audacity to want to travel, she was flanked by two Black people in large bodies. I imagine it added to her rage, that the bodies touching hers had brown skin. She didn’t know or care that Norma Rodgers is a distinguished nursing professional. To the woman, her presence was an affront to her privileged status, her right to travel in comfort.

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It’s a right fat people are rarely afforded. We don’t expect comfort. We plan, we strategize, we prepare for confrontations. Scenarios race through our heads. And someone should tell Pete Singer, a noted animal activist and fatphobe who considers obesity “an ethical issue” and vocal opinion-haver about fat people on airplanes, that we do pay more. We pay to upgrade to first class, as I did, so as not to infringe on other passengers’ right to not be bothered by us. We often pay for an extra seat, to place a barrier of space between us and other passengers, so they are not bothered by us. That doesn’t even get into the emotional and mental toll we pay when we travel. Or that everything costs us more, down to the clothes on our backs. We pay, and we pay dearly. Sometimes we cannot bear the cost, so we do not travel at all, instead opting to stay home, in an environment we can control, free from the prying eyes of strangers trying to determine how much our bodies cost them and impede their ability to be comfortable and unencumbered. Sometimes we bow out of attending destination weddings, work trips, vacations, funerals. All because your comfort is worth more than ours.

I wish I could tell you, and have you understand, how great my fear of you is. I have never traveled far. I live on the East Coast, and the farthest I’ve made it was New Mexico. I was there for work. Before the trip, I spent weeks fretting over the flight. Would I fit? What if I asked my employer if they could send me by train instead? How long would that take?

Once, at work, I was excited to go to a conference I had helped plan. But I worried. I looked up how much it would cost to upgrade to a first class ticket out of my own pocket, even though I knew I couldn’t afford it on a nonprofit salary. I was both relieved, and saddened, when I was told at the last minute that I would not be attending the conference after all. My boss cited “budget concerns,” but I knew the truth. The cost of me flying to the conference was not worth my labor at a table, handing out pamphlets, because they didn’t want me representing them anyway. The week my entire department was gone at the conference, I sat alone in my cubicle. My entire department went, except for me. Before the trip, after I was told I would not be attending, my inbox swelled with desperate requests for finding volunteers. They needed me, but they also didn’t want me. It was a lonely week.

I have never traveled internationally, because I fear being trapped on board a long flight with you. I have never traveled internationally because while I am privileged enough to be able to afford to upgrade to first class for a short flight, that may not be the case for an international flight. And I know it will be a long flight, and your odds of being angry and uncomfortable will increase, and that I am at risk of being a target for your anger.

The thing is, I don’t expect comfort. I want it, sure, but I deal with discomfort every day. I do not expect chairs that will be comfortable; I expect chairs that will be uncomfortable, and may even bruise me. But I have learned to minimize my discomfort, and pretend that I am fine, for your benefit. I have also learned to avoid situations where your comfort might be compromised by me, by having to be near me or see me, which is why I do not travel as much as I’d like.

The solution seems simple, to me. Provide a few seats on flights that are larger, where fat people can be seated, away from your thin body and your expectation of comfort. But not only do you insist on comfort, you also insist on not paying extra for that comfort, so airlines must shove as many seats as possible onto the plane so you can purchase your tickets for less. All of this is your doing, yet we bear the blame. We miss out on so much because of your entitlement. I would pay more for such a seat, even though I make a modest salary and it would require extra financial planning, but I can hear your protests already — “Why should fat people get special treatment or special seats? Why should I risk having my ticket’s price go up so the plane can add a few extra seats where one fat person can sit instead of two or three people like me?” There is no winning here.

What you want is for us to be weighed at the airport. Your thought is that we should be asked to pay more, and you should be asked to pay less, because you have been successful in your pursuit of thinness. “I eat salads,” you hiss at fat passengers like Norma. I also eat salads, and I’m sure Norma, being a nurse, does too. (I eat a lot of salads, because for fat people, all eating is performative.) But you eat salads, and you are thin, and you therefore deserve privileges the rest of us are not afforded. You can’t feel the congratulations all around you, the privileges you are already granted for your thinness and salad-eating, so you feel you deserve even more. You don’t even realize that we already pay more than you.

I know better than to ask much of you. I want to ask you for compassion, to remember that the fat person sitting next to you or near you on a flight is a human being. I want to ask you to remember that you don’t know us, or why we’re flying, and to consider the idea that maybe our sole purpose for being on that plane is not to make you uncomfortable or invade your space. I want to ask to you to please be kind. And consider that fat people have no desire to touch you or squish you or infringe on your space any more than you wish to be infringed upon. We don’t want to touch you any more than you want us touching you. We just want to get to our destination, and live our lives. That’s all.

I want to ask you these things, but I don’t dare. I have learned that asking things of you results in rage.

I hope you’ll do better, but the news cycle constantly reminds me that you will not. You refuse. You constantly disappoint.

I hope you will prove me wrong one day, and instead of eyeing me with suspicion and disdain, or pushing me out of the way, you’ll do what I do and simply smile at a fellow traveller.

193 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Thin People Who Feel Infringed on by Fat People on Airplanes

  1. I avoid flying. This great piece gives many good reasons why. I can tell you that there are people designing aircraft interiors who are well aware of some of these problems, and they and their bosses are always fighting economics and competitive pressures to come up with workable designs. Most passengers would appreciate roomier seating, not just fat (or very tall) ones.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Definitely, it’s an intentional choice to make flying uncomfortable (or impossible) for some passengers, in the interest of cheap tickets for everyone else. It probably makes a lot of sense on a spreadsheet, but I wish they would consider the human cost as well. It can be so limiting to so many people’s lives.

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      1. Posting this just so folks can see a sampling of the trolls I’m deleting and blocking. But, seriously, calling me fat is a comically poor attempt at insulting me given that MY BLOG IS LITERALLY ABOUT BEING FAT, and I referred to myself as fat in the very post you’re trying to troll. You did a bad job all around here, so please go back to your Red Pill forum on 4chan now.

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      2. Ever heard the phrase “if you have nothing nice to say don’t say anything”?? How anyone can read this article and come up with this vile comment is beyond me. What a sad pathetic person you must be spending time behind your filthy screen trolling lovely people. Shame on you.

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  2. Wow! This captures everything I think about. I haven’t flown in 12 years. I can’t afford first class without a Go Fund Me appeal. At least I feel a little less alone.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. You are definitely not alone! And first class is expensive af. Southwest apparently has a great COS (customer of size) policy where you can get an extra seat at no additional cost. I’ve never been able to fly Southwest but some fat travelers swear by Southwest.

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  3. Most people go through life only thinking of themselves. If you remember that you can stop some of the negative dialogue in your head.

    Buy your ticket. Take your seat. Leave others to their business. Their problems are not yours to worry about or own.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. No, go back and read, please. The majority of the post is me on a flight to my honeymoon. The passage you’re referring to is a separate incident where I was looking to upgrade (out of my own pocket) an economy ticket that would have been purchased by my employer.

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  4. You are a brave and beautiful woman! I’ve been where you are. I’m a larger woman in a wheelchair, and when the committee I’m on (in the non-profit where I work) discussed flying together to our other office, my heart sank. I also have to fly first class (so that I can use the armrest in the middle to shimmy up on to in order to stand) and even then if I have to use the bathroom I’m in trouble. I also know that my organization would overlook me as a positive representation of their brand (though I can’t imagine why!!!) It’s time for the airlines to set aside a small amount of profit-grabbing for the sake of human dignity. Give us an accessible restroom, sell us a couple of wider seats – add a few grab bars to the bulkhead. I know that it seems the voices you hear from other people’s heads are real, and you see what you see in them, please always always remember that you deserve love, respect, dignity, and the same access as absolutely everyone else in the room. Hold your head up high and throw that love and positive attitude all over the place.

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  5. This is a terrific post. I appreciate hearing from you about what it is like to be inside a larger body and all the things you have to deal with when flying. On behalf of thin people I would like to apologize for the slights and insults you have suffered. I was once seated in the middle seat and the person on the aisle was large enough that getting in and out of the seat was a struggle. When I had to get up to go to the bathroom she started to try to get up. I suggested she just stay seated and we both laughed a lot as I swung a leg over and climbed out to the aisle. It was a real ice breaker and we spent the rest of the flight chatting.

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    1. Thanks! Yes, I wrote it, anything external that is referenced is linked in the post (The Washington Post article, for instance, and the Weigh More, Pay More piece.)

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      1. Well done I love it. Have you read mine. Mine is why is physical fitness is important. Please have a read and comment. It’s not long like yours so it shouldn’t take too long to read.

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  6. Thanks so much for writing this! I’m average-sized and only understand a fraction of what you describe. And I understand more now how incredibly mean those looks and comments can be. Your writing is lovely and much appreciated.

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  7. From a thin person: Thank you for this post. For being so honest and open. I am guilty of judging larger people for taking up more space on planes, and (if I’m really honest too) of jumping to the wrong conclusion that larger people are lazier people. This is wrong. It’s the same thing as saying all thin people are super healthy! So very untrue. People come in all shapes and sizes, and to judge people on how they look is wrong. But it’s easy to do when we’re detached. Your post helped me reconnect. Next time i see a story on the news complaining about people and seat size, I’ll remember your post.

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  8. Thank you for your powerful and moving piece. Mistreatment of fat people is one of the few remaining “socially acceptable” forms of discrimination, but I have always felt that it conceals an overall need to feel better than someone – maybe anyone – else. Being thin is no more a virtue than being rich, although we insist on admiring both kinds of people. But some of the most vain and self-obsessed people I know are thin. Yes some people are naturally thin, just as some are naturally fat, but those who dedicate hours of each day remaining so could perhaps spend some of that time doing things that truly make the world a better place. Like working at a soup kitchen, or teaching the illiterate to read. I do not argue that we should not try to be healthy and fit, but being so is not a more valuable contribution to society than being a compassionate and caring human.

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  9. Well written and addressing a difficult reality. I can’t speak to your specific experiences, but I watched the Norma Rodgers video and felt pride because even though there was one horrible, awful, unconscionable woman, the majority of the people seemed to be outraged by her behavior. I wish there weren’t assholes like her, but there will always be assholes like her. But I wonder if the news story headline had been, “Passengers on Flight Heroically Rage Against Rude Woman,” if we could be conditioned to look at the positive, the people who are good and kind. Those are the people we need to focus on, and I wish the media would focus more on that so we’d realize how many of them there are. But the sad fact is, the shocking behavior of the assholes sells better than the heroic behavior of the good ones. I’m sorry you’ve been hurt by the assholes of the world, but you are loved! Your husband loves you, and I don’t know you but I have tremendous respect for your speaking out! Keep fighting the good fight ❤️.

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  10. Honestly if I haven’t read this piece I wouldn’t have known what goes on in your mind at all. You are right that the thin people already enjoy a lot of privileges without noticing. A little bit of compassion does go a long way and educating people about different perspectives is the first step in doing so and you have done it. I hope a lot of people read this and learn like I did today. Lots of love to you and your husband. Do write more – Your fan.

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  11. ” My entire department went, except for me. Before the trip, after I was told I would not be attending, my inbox swelled with desperate requests for finding volunteers. They needed me, but they also didn’t want me. It was a lonely week.”

    Shit like this is why discrimination on physical appearance/weight should be made illegal by law. This sucks. Especially since obesity goes way beyond just “putting down the fork.” People wouldn’t say that shit to an alcoholic. They shouldn’t say it to someone who overeats. Or is obese for reasons that aren’t their fault.

    Fuck people sometimes.

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    1. Agreed! I’ve gotten a couple of nasty comments about that incident and how they probably needed someone to stay behind, but… nope! I knew what was up, because I worked there, and saw them paying for low-level staffers from unrelated departments to go, and that conference was my actual job, I helped plan it and helped wrap it up… from the office, when my thinner colleagues got back.

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  12. I have long leg issues. I have to do yoga to get into some kind of comfortable position to sleep in on long haul flights and wrap myself into the tiny space between any human beings around me. Thank you for sharing your story. It’s always good to know other peoples experiences.

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    1. Thank you for reading! And yeah, I’m lucky enough to be fat but relatively short with stubby legs, so leg room is not a problem for me, but I’ve found that usually where fat people have problems, tall people also struggle to be comfortable. So, I think just more accommodations for the body diversity that exists in the world would be a good thing that benefit lots of people, and result in better experiences for all.

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  13. There is nothing wrong with being fat but it also sucks when you pay an arm and a leg for an airplane ticket and then can not sit comfortably for the duration of the flight because the person(s) next to you is encroaching on your space. You should remember the skinny person sitting next to you is a human being as well. Just because you don’t want to infringe on space does not mean you’re not doing it and its not uncomfortable for them. It is not healthy people’s fault that the airlines continue to make seats smaller. If you can’t fit in a normal seat you are the one at fault not the skinny person who is not encroaching on anyone else’s space. Please understand that skinny people are human beings that want to just get to our destination (comfortably) and live our lives as well. If I am traveling I am not going to be encroaching anyone else’s space. All I expect is the same in return.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Hi Bobby! I’ve gotten a bunch of comments from people who got here from a subreddit along these lines, but I’m approving this comment because you did not feel the need to call me a fat bitch or a gross pig. So, thanks for that.

      The thing is, I don’t WANT to encroach on anyone’s personal space, and I promise you no other fat people do either. We also simply want to ride in comfort and get to our destinations without incident. So, I hope you’ll advocate for more accommodations on airplanes for people with larger bodies (that includes tall people, too!) So that we can all travel in peace and no one is encroached upon, because we all have adequate personal space. That’s all.

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  14. Thank you ,thank you, thank you! I usually get on word press – craft my own random thoughts but don’t often scroll through the other blogs. Yours was the first one I saw and it truly left a mark! I travel every summer and book business class so as to not deal with the discomfort. Hurts my heart that people of size are treated the way we are!

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  15. As someone who is a little overweight (& hijab wearing & Muslim & brown) I can most certainly relate to this. The little anxieties that go along with being ”other” on a plane are unbearable. I have never had to pre-plan my flights with regards to my size (this definitely put things into perspective for me – one thing I don’t actually need to worry about!) but always in regards to my religion. Do I look like a ”safe” Muslim, am I wearing/saying anything remotely Arabic, being extra careful about what kind of book I bring along, saying my pre-flight prayers in my head, being extra careful not to say anything too loud – I get how you feel with your struggle. We have a long way to go to becoming the inclusive society we believe we are, but your voice in the ether is going to help. Thank you and I pray your further adventures in the air become easier! 🙂

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    1. And yours too! I can’t pretend to know what it’s like for you but I have compassion and I’ve got your back. There’s definitely a common pain all people who are “other” in some way feel, and I hope we all keep working to understand and fight for each other.

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      1. It’s so good to know there’s people like yourself out there ♥️ we need to fight for that inclusivity we’ve been pretending to be!

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  16. This is beautifully written. It captures the rage and anxiety so well. I wish the people this was written to would be forced to read it. I wish they would open their eyes and learn to accept. Honestly, a person’s size shouldn’t matter, and be respected especially when absolute comfort isn’t accessible for all.

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  17. I think there are a lot of really great insights here. I personally really hate airlines for how they handle seating. I agree with the idea of some bigger seats. Cramming everyone in to a small space is a really bad idea.

    But, I also wanted to bring some attention to how this affects other groups; specifically people in pain.

    I have some chronic pain that covers my entire body. I would not consider myself disabled, but I do have to take motrin sometimes to help deal with this pain. I recently had to sit next to someone who was overweight on a flight. I remember feeling bad for her. She was in the middle seat. I knew she must be uncomfortable and worried about people judging her.

    But by the end of the flight, I was in a lot more pain than normal. My leg had been touching hers the entire time due to the small seats. It was hard to walk off the flight.

    And I’m not in that much pain compared to others.. I could put up with this even though it hurt me. However, not everyone can. My mother has fibromyalgia, a very painful nerve condition. My girlfriend has the most painful condition on earth, CRPS. If they had to be brushed against someone for an entire flight, it would significantly worsen their condition.

    It’s not anyone’s fault but the airlines. Airlines shouldn’t make seats so small. Airlines should know which of their passengers are disabled so they can be put in better areas. People who are bigger should not be in seats that would bruise them, nor should they have to pay the price of an entire other ticket just so they can fly in comfort.

    Honestly, I think the airlines are failing us in a lot of ways, and this is something I hope we can keep discussing.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I agree with you, and I’m sorry that air travel is so painful for you and people you love! I am definitely privileged in that I am able-bodied and pain-free enough to navigate an airport and fly with relative ease, it must be a nightmare for people with mobility issues and chronic pain. I hope we can all work together to make air travel easier, and in some cases possible, for more people.

      I am mainly addressing people like the woman in the video who make the experience worse for all by verbally abusing strangers, and the people who advocate against airlines accommodating more bodies, whether they be fat or disabled or with invisible illnesses that can make travel an even more fraught experience. But ultimately, yes, the responsibility falls with the airlines themselves. Which us why we need more customers advocating for accommodation and more options that accommodate more customers.

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  18. People feel anxiety and tension on flights for many reasons. I am claustrophobic. So I am very mindful about space, whether that is seat space, leg room or the tiny bathrooms on planes. I spend a lot of time getting my head right for a flight, which basically means reassuring myself that I can cope in a limited space even on long-haul flights. As a result, I find myself very protective of the space I believe has been allotted to me. I guess we all have our ways of coping. Thoughtfulness and understanding on the part of all helps. But the real problem is airlines keep reducing the space allotted for passengers. There are many variations of problems encountered by airline passengers, but I believe they begin and end with that fact.

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    1. Yes, I agree the responsibility falls with the airlines. I’m sorry flying is also a fraught experience for you because of your claustrophobia. I understand it might add to your distress if it feels your space is being encroached on… but I assure you, most passengers don’t want to crowd you, some just don’t have adequate space for their bodies. So, instead of making these people targets for abuse, telling them to eat more salads, and personally blaming them, we should all advocate for more accommodations for customers of size so we can ALL travel with greater comfort and less stress.

      And unfortunately some people are just stuck on blaming fat people and insisting we just STFU, while ALSO insisting that we not encroach on their space, AND insisting that it’s offensive to ask for better solutions. I have gotten dozens of comments to that effect today alone. (Some calling me very colorful names, too.) THOSE people are legion, and a huge part of the problem. They’re who I was addressing here.

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  19. After just dealing with personal anxiety trying to fly to Chicago, this post was very disheartening to me.
    When I was in the airport I didn’t really consider anxiety like that. I couldn’t imagine giving anyone a second glance because of their weight, and feel that it is horrible that anyone would be judged off of any physical characteristics. It makes me think of Suess a little bit, ‘a person is a person’. There physical characteristics do not make them who they are, they are but a small portion of what makes a person a person.

    Thank you for sharing your anxiety it was eye opening to someone else’s anxiety in flying that make mine look pitiful.
    Hope you had a wonderful time on your honeymoon, despite the flight anxieties.

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  20. Authentic and real. There are a good many of us who fight the fear! I too have a tall thin husband and he notices the ugliness from the time we hit the airport. Discrimination by the TSA is incredible even after I got my TSA pre check. I don’t know that this world will ever return to kindness, but I am working on it…..one old fat girl just doing what she can!! Best to you.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. I’m an average-sized person and I’m not judgmental about larger people. I certainly know how challenging it can be to lose a few pounds. That said, I have changed seats ( I fly Southwest, so that’s an option) when the person sitting next to me is too big to fit into their designated space.

    I’d love it if all seats were bigger. Even an average sized person has trouble being comfortable in those tiny seats.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. First, I hope that after all your stress over travelling, you were able to relax and enjoy your honeymoon. You are a very cute couple! I read your post and really felt for you, but as a slim person, I also felt hurt and offended. Your first line is, “You don’t know me, but I know you.” With all due respect, I don’t think you do know me – or many other people who are slim. I understand and agree with a lot of what you are saying because my husband is a big man. I agree with your take on the airline industry and squeezing as many people as possible onto a plane is just one of the ways they are squeezing as many dollars as possible out of travelers. But it never, ever occurred to me that you should pay more (or I should pay less) for the same seat. Nor do I think heavier people are lazy, underemployed or poor. I also don’t scan other passengers looking for the heavier ones and hope I am not seated next to them. I don’t doubt what you are saying and experiencing. I just want to say please, please, don’t put everyone in the same category.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Please note that it’s not addressed to ALL thin people, just the ones who feel offended by fat people on planes. So, if you’re not one of those people, then it’s not addressed to you!

      Liked by 1 person

  23. I can so relate to this. My husband, like yours, does not judge me – he loves and supports. And would dearly love to go overseas for a holiday but not without me. Last time we flew he booked seats that had more space and leg room by the emergency exit. Which would have been great. But safety policy will not allow the use of an extension belt. So I had the added embarrassment of having to swap seats with another passenger for landing and take off. If I can possibly avoid it I will not fly now. It’s uncomfortable and it’s embarrassing.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. I came across your post on discover. I really don’t comment much but this moved me. I am slim, not thin, but equally guilty of the aforementioned and I am sorry. So sorry. You really do seem like a lovely person and I hope you maintain it in this harsh world. Sweet people like you are rare and under appreciated but I appreciate you. Have a lovely rest of the day

    Liked by 1 person

  25. 15 years ago I had the same experience on a business flight. I was so ashamed by the ‘please don’t sit next to me’ looks as I walked down the aisle. I got to my destination and arrived at the office and got more thinly veiled looks of ‘jeez i wasn’t expecting a fat business consultant’. It was a pivotal moment and I decided I HAD to change. I had a bypass, lost lots, regained some, am now somewhere in the middle. I now spend my airport time trying to convey a look of ‘i know what you’re going through, please don’t feel bad’. And trust me, a skinny person with ‘i don’t eat’ breath next to you on a plane is 100 times worse than the fat person. Yet nobody shames them.

    Like

  26. I came across your post on Discover, and it’s very authentic and touching. From your post, it seems like you are a kind soul. Just 1 request – stop apologizing. You are a brave and kind woman – be proud of that. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Thank you for writing this post. Let me come clean first, I am one of those people who complained a lot about seating next to bigger people on planes, your blog post made me think again. Now I realised after your post, the bigger people that bother me are male, I am female so it is very uncomfortable to be touched by a fat man for hours while I also paid a lot for the flight, if airlines would arrange solo travellers to sit with the same gender then it would be alright.
    Last time I got seated with an overweight white man on a long haul, for sure I didn’t dare to sleep as his arm could reach my chest at any second, I asked him to incline towards his side or at least try not to have his entire arm and leg lying on my seat, he refused, complained, and yelled at me, at this situation it was very hard to exercise compassion. The other time I was seated with an overweight Indian woman, long haul again, it was ok for me, we are both women I didn’t mind her body touching mine, I helped her with the TV and most of the inflight communication as she rarely flies.
    My suggestion for you: just fly, fly economy, fly whenever you want, wherever you want. Discrimination is everywhere for almost everyone, I am not fat but I also got discriminated on planes as I am not white, do I stop flying because of that? Nope. I agree with a comment above that it is the airlines’ fault to make seats tiny, not the fault of skinny people. So just fly, live your life and explore the world, let airlines sort the problems they created for more money, it is not your fault, also not our fault, we have paid for the tickets and that’s our jobs done.

    Like

  28. Wow, this is amazing and sad at the same time. It’s sad that even a simple thing such as flying has to be a struggle for some people in our society these days because they’re afraid of being judged and treated differently. I think most people don’t even realize that they’re judging someone because it has just become so normal. It’s amazing though, how you’re being so open about this. I love your post, really should be addressed to those people that always feel the need to judge people just to make themselves feel better. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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