Fat Travel, Part 1

Everyone loves sitting next to a fatty on a plane! Because they’re pillowy and you can sleep on them! Right? Perhaps not. Marianne and I have many opinions about fat travel, and part one on this subject deals mostly with fat flying.

Links mentioned in this episode:

An open letter of gratitude to Kevin Smith, antihero of the fat revolution.

Kevin Smith: The face of flying while fat

Seat Guru

Buy your own airplane seatbelt extender: Amplestuff

The music heard in this episode is by Dazie Mae.

22 Responses to “Fat Travel, Part 1”

  1. Bill Says:

    The airline policies remind me of Mother from Futurama. The written policies are her public voice, and the actual execution of the policy, as well as the real reasoning, is her private voice. (Sorry if you’re not familiar with Futurama.)

  2. Big Fat Deal » Fatbook: A Thursday Links Roundup Says:

    […] You can buy your own airline seatbelt extender if you would rather not ask for one. Via the Fatcast podcast! Featuring Marianne Kirby and Leslie […]

  3. Fatbook: Un Jueves Enlaces Roundup « Perder Peso Es Grande Says:

    […] Usted puede comprar su propio cintur?n de seguridad a?rea extensor si bien no se pida una. A trav?s del podcast Fatcast ! Con Marianne Kirby y Kinzel […]

  4. Anjanette Says:

    Hello Lesley and Marianne,
    As always, I loved this episode. I just wanted to mention, regarding Lesley’s point about very small people not taking up all of their precious seat space (which is a great point), that my girlfriend is very petite and doesn’t take up all of her airplane seat space. There have been a few times where she has been seated next to a larger person who doesn’t fit in the plane seat, and she has not had a problem with sharing space with them. She is on board (ha) and is very aware of fat acceptance and fat politics, especially on airplanes. I would bet that she would be fine with a policy that put people like her, who have extra room, next to people who could use the extra room. The end.

  5. Another Lesley Says:

    OMG, Marianne, I was laughing out loud when you mentioned the ’80s pickup truck seat! Hahaha.

    I love you two.

  6. KateJ Says:

    I’ve just moved house, and I’ve been listening to Fatcasts while I unpack boxes – I love you guys.
    I’m that rarest of things, a deathfat travel writer. Never had problems flying, anywhere in the world (but I’d be very interested to know if Lonely Planet’s insurance would cover me being chucked off a flight). I’ve been squished up against people in cheap modes of transport all over Asia, and nobody ever resents it – I’m fat, someone else is carrying a basket of chickens, we just deal with it. I’ve often paid for two seats in shared jeeps etc, when I can, and people have smiled and said ‘oh, because you’re so fat!’, just stating it as fact, which I love. People in the third world are possibly more aware that there are more terrible things in the world than sitting next to a fat person.

  7. Jessica B Says:

    Great podcast!

    I have yet to be removed from the emergency exit row with a seat belt extender, but that may be because I pack my own and it’s not very obvious so no one may have noticed.

    I would also strongly suggest that everyone who may need an extender buy one. As a frequent traveler, I am concerned that if the airlines didn’t have enough for all the people who may need them that I wouldn’t be allowed to fly.

  8. Heather Says:

    The thing that struck me in this discussion was how many flying discomforts are NOT unique or limited to fat people. As airlines shrink the seats in an attempt to maximize profits, more and more passengers feel cramped, crowded, and uncomfortable. Long-legged people get sore knees. Broad-shouldered people crowd their neighbors’ arms. Parents find it harder to keep their kids out of neighbors’ space. Everyone feels oppressed by a reclined seat in front of them.

    The airlines are making fat passengers the SCAPEGOATS in this situation — fat passengers get assigned to carry all the blame and resentment and irritation created for everyone by this deliberately cramped environment. It’s like the airlines are pointing at the visibly fat and saying “If these people weren’t on the plane, the rest of you would be comfortable!” But that is Just. Not. True.

    I got curious and looked up Southwest’s Q&A re their “Customer of Size” policy… it doesn’t mention safety, and the ONLY justification it gives for the policy is to protect the comfort of the fat passenger’s neighbor.

  9. Jaimelikewhoa Says:

    It was so funny as I was flying back from Mexico yesterday squished next to a man who gave a disgusted sigh everytime I tried to adjust myself that you guys should do a fatcast about travelling. Only to come home to a new fatcast about it! I’m at my biggest I’ve ever been and was not aware of seat belt extenders (I wish I would have before this last trip) because it seems like they measure for someone who has no hips or butt. Going on the trip was not bad the flight was not full and there was an empty seat next to me, but as I was struggling, trying to suck it in to get this damn seat belt on the flight attendant did not say one thing to me about a seat belt extender. On the way back I sat next to a man who was a little bit bigger than me who was so silently rude to me it made me so mad. I didn’t understand why it
    was okay for him to fall asleep all over me and hit me everytime he tries to move
    but when I wanted to adjust myself it was the end of the world. He had this look as
    if he wanted to say your a woman you should be small and cute not this monster. Ughh! This fatcast was just what I needed after 5 hours of hell yesterday. You ladies rock!!

  10. Mermama3 Says:

    Thank you so much for this! I was a nervous wreck flying Southwest on a family trip to Disney World this spring… good to know I’m not alone!

    Maybe this makes me evil, but any time the Kevin Smith debacle comes up, I cannot help thinking of this little snippet from Mall Rats – “Fly, Fat-ass, Fly!!” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wi3ahuIPufM

    And so I shall, the airlines be damned. Thanks so much, L&M, keep up the fantastic and thought-provoking work.

  11. Natalie Says:

    This is one of my favourite FATCASTs even though I don’t fly that much. I probably minimise flying because I am so worried about being “too fat to fly”.

    I pulled out of going to the YFF conference because sure, I couldn’t afford to go to America from Australia, but also because I’m pretty fat and spending a whole day in a plane scared me. I’m also type 1 diabetic and the thought of managing my medical condition on the plane, in an airport and over the timeline worries me!

    So many people (in Australia) consider travel a key part of the “rite of passage” (or the “cultural cringe”) but as a fat person with a medical condition I totally missed out on this. Even as a 30 year old people are shocked and horrified that I’ve never been overseas, and it totes makes me feel like less of a worldly person ๐Ÿ™

    I don’t wanna end on that bummer note so, THANKS GUYS FOR BEING AWESOME! ๐Ÿ˜€

  12. Rachel Says:

    This episode cracked me up more than a few times about a subject that scares me to death. After the Kevin Smith debacle, I had a seat booked on a Spirit flight for a business trip. I was terrified and had nightmares for weeks leading up to the flight in fear that something similar would happen. It didn’t– I was saved by a super severe storm and I didn’t have to go on the trip. For some reason, like Marianne, I can mostly fly JetBlue. Their seats are more comfortable than any other airline I’ve flown. I dread taking American. And now that I sprung for my own extender (I don’t always need it, but when I do–I really do), I feel much much more relaxed about the whole thing. It was worth the $$ for me, since I fly several times a year for business. Still, I’d always prefer the train ๐Ÿ™‚

    FYI, I hope part two will talk about subways! Everyday I encounter sighs and other miseries sent in my direction because I’m bigger than a bread box.

  13. Veronica Says:

    Exercise!! Ahem, sorry. What I mean to say is; I really want to hear an episode on the practicalites of fat exercise. It’s something I haven’t seen that much on around the Fatosphere ( except perhaps bellydancing;), ), and I would really like to. Just a suggestion. *Hugs* from a fan

  14. Barbara Says:

    Actually in some of the newer planes they have 4 classes. Economy, the classic coach class where everyone is crammed in like sardines. Economy plus, you get more leg room. Business, the classic big leather seat with lots of leg room. And the new First Class….they get a lounge chair. A FUCKING LOUNGE CHAIR!!

    And of course now that airlines are charging to check your luggage, all these people are bringing two or three rolling suitcases onto the plane to put in the overhead bins. And they’re bitching about me taking up a little more space. The last time I flew was in February, I was going to my great Uncles Funeral. He died suddenly after having hip surgery. I had problems finding space for my messenger bag which was the only bag I carried onto the plane with me besides my purse. Now these people feel that it’s perfectly acceptable for them to take up all the available cabin space by bringing on all their luggage to avoid a $20-30 charge, yet they don’t think that fat people are entitled to the same thing but for their bodies and not their luggage. Bunch of hypocritical *grumblegrumblegrumble*.

    Anyway love the show, you both have great senses of humor, and I can’t wait for the next episode.

  15. Carolyn Says:

    First off, I love your podcast.
    While I was listening to fat travel it got me thinking about amusement park rides and how I’m always anxious when I go now. I’m a smaller fatty and very active but am bigger in the thighs and mid area. When I was 20 I went to Cedar Point with my friends and they made me get in a test seat for a rollercoaster before I could enter the line. It was humiliating on many levels to have to do that in front of my friends on my birthday no less. I was able to squeeze in but ever since I have been hesitant to even go for fear that I won’t fit in the rides and will be asked to leave the line.
    Three years later I went to Kings Island and was worried that I wouldn’t fit in the seats or the seat belts will be short an inch and I will be asked to leave the line again. Surprisingly when I got there they had redone all the seat belts so they are retractable like in cars and have a lot more slack.
    So if anyone has this issue and likes to ride rollercoasters at least one theme has modified their rides to accommodate for more body shapes (seat belt wise…width could be an issue because some seats have dividers).

    Keep up the great podcasts…I listen to them while I work and makes the mundane task go by faster.

  16. Lesley Says:

    Great podcast! I’m very interested in hear about non-flying modes of travel!

    Also, if I may, the sound is much improved! Thank you so much! I’m only 30 and already a little hard of hearing in certain circumstances, so I very much appreciate it.

  17. Living 400lbs Says:

    FYI, I wrote up info on Flying while 400lbs (which links to other posts I’ve made about flying) and on going to Disney World – which I did with a cane.

  18. Amy Says:

    Last night I had a dream that I had to travel to London for some mysterious reason and I had forgotten to pack my clothes and underwear. I had all my clothes folded up ready to be put in a suitcase before I left and somehow got on the plane without it. In my dream I was seriously wondering, “Where am I going to buy new clothes and underwear!” This got me checking out the plus size offerings of the UK . Though I don’t think ASOS has an actual physical store but this was a dream! So basically your awesome podcasts are taking over my dreams ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. Bree Says:

    Um, guys? Can I ask you where you learn more about the magical moving armrest in windowseats?

  20. Nana Says:

    thank you thank you thank you soo much. i heard this podcast and am finally ready to travel. ๐Ÿ™‚ i’ve never traveled as a result from these same anxieties of being a Death Fatty.
    now i feel more knowledgeable as to what to expect.

  21. metermouse Says:

    ok I know this is an old-ish podcast, but I just flew and had to share.

    I for some reason decided to fly Delta (which I never usually do) when I sat down and went to buckle my seat… I kept trying to extend the belt… but realized, that’s as far as it goes! AND one side was SUPER short, and the other long, so I had to turn all super towards the aisle, trying desparately to fasten my seatbelt since I hadn’t already asked for an extender (didn’t know I’d need one!). Somehow I got it shut.

    Return flight: I had a pre-assigned seat. I was working up my courage while boarding to ask a stewardess as discreetly as possible for an extender. I was even more self conscious because I was flying back from a whirlwind weekend trip, had had no sleep (but had memories of a great Phoenix concert, so its good) no shower, and the same clothes I had been wearing since Friday. I sat down, and to my surprise… my seat already had an extender on it!! I was so grateful to whoever sat there before me. Much more relaxed after that. Fat-Providence!!!

  22. arcane_scholar Says:

    Hey ya’ll!

    I know this podcast is a little old; however, I’m catching up! I just wanted to post because I did a lot of travel this year and I’m 375 pounds. First, I took the bus from Portland, Oregon to Athens, Georgia. It took 66 hours. It was on Greyhound. It cost me and the hubs $350 to go that way. The bus seats weren’t bad, even with us sitting together. It was hotter than hell though, and the bathrooms at the stations weren’t always that great. However, overall it wasnรขโ‚ฌโ„ขt horrible. It was my second bus trip (the first from Athens, Georgia to Portland, Oregon), and most everyone was very nice. There were a couple asses who gave me “the look” when I was walking down isles. Or got scared-face when I got on, like OMG SHE MIGHT SIT NEXT TO ME. lol

    Once, we got on a bus and there weren’t two seats together. So the hubs asked if anyone wanted to let us sit together, and no one moved. Thus, I was like “If you don’t let us sit together, then you’ll have to sit next to me and I’m FAT. You won’t like it. I swear.” *evil grin* A guy ended up giving up his seat. LMAO

    And I recently flew from Portland, OR to Kaohsiung, Taiwan which was mostly harmless. We asked for the flight attendent (in Portland) to see if there was room on the plane for me to have an extra seat, like if the plane wasn’t full, and I was lucky that it wasn’t full so I got a free extra seat. In Canada, we asked for a second seat, and again I got one no problem. We were told that in Canada, they can’t charge us for another seat, it is against Canada law. When we transferred planes in Hong Kong, however, it got a little scary. I went to sit in the seat and almost didn’t fit because they have solid armrests. It’s like a little flap next to the seat, instead it is a solid side that goes straight into the seat. I was able to squeeze in, as the plane was full and there was no way I could get an extra seat (not that the arm rest lifted anyway). Thankfully it was only a short 1.5 hour flight to Kaohsiung.

    I never had any problems with finding seat extenders, or getting one promptly from the flight attendants. I didn’t feel like I received any “looks” or “sighs” either. I was so thankful for this. I had panic attacks every day for a week worried about how this flying was going to go. I had only been on a plane once before, when I was much smaller in size, and the seatbelt didn’t fit then but I was able to lie and say it fastened. I was terrified I would be kicked off and I had no money for another seat. This was back in 2004.

    I flew Air Canada, if anyone is interested. When we flew from Atlanta, Georgia to Portland, Oregon the week before, we flew Alaska Air. I didn’t have nearly as good of an experience. They charged me for a second seat, though they waived the taxes and fees, and they couldn’t guarantee that I could get a seat where the armrest lifted. So, I paid for another seat but there was no assurance that I would actually be able to /use/ that seat. Alaska Air does have a policy, however, that they will refund your extra seat is the plane is empty on all legs of your flight. Unlucky for me, that didn’t happen.

    Anyway, that’s the short of it for my recent travels. I hope this helps someone. I really enjoyed my travels with Air Canada. Everyone was very nice and professional and accommodating. There were tons of complimentary drink services and free snacks, and on the larger plane I even thought I would probably be able to fit into the bathroom if I needed to.

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