There’s always a lot of anxiety and discussion around traveling when you’re oversized. Not sure if you’ll need to buy two seats on your flight, if your luggage is lost and you won’t be getting dressed as you won’t be able to shop at your destination, if you are able to participate in fun activities when you arrive. Traveling can be really stressful and emotionally draining for fat people.
If you haven’t traveled in a long time or if you still haven’t traveled in a fat body, here are some pro tips for you!
Travel with confidence with these fat travel tips
Seats have shrunk by as much as 4 inches over the past 20 years, making it even harder for oversized people to get comfortable on flights.
SeatGuru is a website that aggregates information about airlines so you can research the width and height of seats on planes. Pitch is the distance from a seat to the same point behind it. This isn’t exactly a “legroom” measurement, but gives you an approximate idea.
Seat widths can vary from aircraft to aircraft within the same airline. You can use SeatGuru to compare seat sizes to see which flight can allow you to maximize space. SeatGuru was once available as an app. But once it was purchased by TripAdvisor, it is currently only available on their website.
The site also lets you see which handrails are movable so you can raise them for more comfort. This is definitely a top recommendation for travel as it gives you a realistic idea of how much room you’ll have and you can choose the flight that’s right for you.
Protect yourself one Seat belt extender
Even when choosing the most spacious seat on a flight, there’s no guarantee the seat belt will fit properly. Seat belts can change from seat to seat on the same flight, and that inconsistency could mean you need a belt on one flight and not another. Seat belt extensions are available on all flights by simply asking the flight attendant.
Friend Maybe buy your own from retailers like Amazon, but you likely won’t be allowed to use them during the flight.
Many people choose to buy their own because they feel uncomfortable asking. However, the FAA stated that these commercially available extenders are not tested by the FAA and flight attendants may ask passengers not to use them.
Don’t Order Exit!
One thing you may not realize is that if you are a passenger who needs to extend your seat belt, you will not be allowed to sit in the exit row. Many people order at the exit thinking it will give them more legroom. While they usually offer a bit more room, a flight attendant will take you out of line if you need an expansion kit.
The reason for this cited by the airlines is that the extenders can get tangled or excess fabric can obstruct the exit if needed in an emergency. The other cited reason is fear of being much fatter- that someone needs an extender is “There may be mobility problem and therefore cannot adequately help others in an emergency.”
If you are lucky enough to have access to southernnot an option for your flight, they have a great customer sizing policy. This policy allows passengers to get a refund after the flight for a second seat or, if the flight is not full, to claim a free second seat at the gate.
The first method to purchase additional seats and get a refund is usually the preferred method. That’s because if the flight is already full when you request to use the customer size policy at the gate, you may be denied, booked on another flight, or someone else may be kicked off the flight.
Take advantage of Pre-Boarding
If you feel more comfortable sitting on a flight without a lot of people around, you always have the option of boarding first. Just ask the gate attendant if you can get on board first as you will need more time. You can also request that a seat belt extender be placed in your seat before you get there.
Smarter packaging, not harder
Depending on the carry-on baggage requirements of your airline, you may be able to pack some essential clothing items in case your checked baggage gets lost. You should always bring your medicine, anything you might need as soon as you land, and some clothes to change into in case you have to wait for your luggage to find its way back to you.
If you’re worried about packing as much as possible into hand luggage, space-saving options can help. For example, compact packing blocks can help you organize and condense your luggage.
Follow Plus Size Travel Influencers!
There are some great people on social media posting about fat travel! They offer extremely valuable personal accounts of their adventures. For example, @fattestedtravel posts about fat test games at Disney and Universal Theme Parks. He discusses his own challenges at the amusement park, tips and recommendations.
@kirstyleannetravels articles on international travel and various excursions. She also plans group vacations for plus-sized people so they can travel together without fear.
There are Facebook groups with useful information as well. “fly while fat” offers a lot of live accounts of different travel options, airlines, theme parks, etc. Any questions you have, someone will answer you!
Miss, It will be fine
Relax! That’s the best advice you should take from this list. Fat people deserve adventures and travel. Prior mental and emotional work was peculiar to living in a larger body.
But remember that you are allowed to take up space!
You deserve a great vacation! You deserve everything!