"No one likes flying. It's not comfortable for anyone. But for some of us, it's a major physical, financial & emotional risk."
Tweeting from the account @yrfatfriend, the woman wrote an extended thread of what she did to prepare to fly as a “very fat person.”
“I researched airlines for their ‘customer of size’ policies, many of which reserve the right to kick me off the plane, even after boarding,” she tweeted on July 17. “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. I'm charged for that second seat regardless of whether one is available. I pay double for the privilege of staying on the plane.”
Explaining that her second seat could be re-sold without notification (or a refund), the woman explains that she spent $900 more than a normal round-trip coach ticket to sit in first class, since that would be cheaper than having to buy two seats. However, if you’re thinking she is living the high life in first class, she insists that's not the case at all, since the tray table “doesn’t fit” around her (even though she recently lost around 60 lbs), leaving her unable to work or eat the meal that comes with her $1300 ticket. On the plane she simply sits “silently, arms crossed, so I don't encroach on my neighbor's space.”
The woman now comes prepared for the flight, carrying on her own seatbelt extender — but not because she’s embarrassed about her size.
“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,” she wrote. “Passengers complaining to flight attendants will get me reseated, charged double, or escorted off the plane, stranded without a way home.” She says in these scenarios that she could be left without a new flight or a refund, and it’s a risk she has to take every time she flies.
The woman estimates that in the last two years, nearly half the passengers in her row have complained, discussing her body in front of her, with no regard for her as a human being, as she says the tone is of “open revulsion, without regard for who hears it.”
For this week’s flight, she says it was without incident, but shared her story so that people realize that for some, flying is “a major physical, financial & emotional risk” and to draw attention to “airline policies, and about what happens when others decide to make an issue of my body.”