THE OBESE TRAVELER SPEAKS


 

Lucky you, your a part of the first group boarded on the airplane,  putting away your carry on was a snap, you’ve open you book and all is right with the world until……..You see me, you notice the empty seat next to you and you start to pray…oh gawd, please not here.

At 6.4 and 377 pounds I am your day mare.

I know the look, the look of  terror!

Sometimes (when I’m in a devilish mood), I taunt the passengers, walking slowly, I look at all the middle seats, I walk by, then throw it in reverse, look at my ticket and then at you.  For some reasons male passengers are more effected by this, than female passengers.

For an oversize passenger, nothing is more stressful or uncomfortable than air travel,sitting in plastic chairs and director chairs are a close second.

WATERBOARDING OR THE SEAT

If you weigh less than 180 pounds and under 5.10 you may be thinking  that the obese should be banned from the seat next to  yours.

First lets examine the seat, in the last twenty years, what was four seats across is now six seats.   The average width of an airline seat is 17.5 inches, if you ride RT the width of the bus seat 19inches, Amtrak 20 inches.

Here’s the fun part.  Anyone over 5.10 can relate.   The seat pitch (legroom) average on domestic planes (with Boeing’s 737 being the favorite) 31 inches compare that with RT and Am track’s 35 inches.  In some cases you you have more leg room in rear seat of  a Ford Focus.

I am a huge fan (no pun intended) of Jet Blue.   I choose the airline because the airline fleet.    On the Airbus 320 passengers  are treated to seats that have 34 to 38 inches in legroom AND the seat are wider.

Before the airlines began assessing fees for everything, I used to request the exit rows.  Now airlines charge up to $50.00 per leg for the privilege of sitting in that row.  This could mean an additional $200.00.

 INCIDENT AT DFW

The first leg of my flight to New York was perfect out of Sacramento, they were able to confirm exit  row seats on both legs, generally people are nice if your nice.  In Dallas, my wait was less than an hour.  For comfort I generally ask for an belt extension as I board, usually within seconds the attendant discreetly hands me the belt.

Again, the day was perfect, I was part of the first group boarded, I took out my book and began to read.  Minutes passed and this man poked me on the shoulder and told he I couldn’t sit in the exit row, before I could question him, he was gone.  A few minutes went by and a stewardess stopped by and said you cant sit there and left.  She returned and said that the flight wasn’t full and I would have to take a seat in the rear, I explained to her that I am a frequent traveler and usually request the exit row.  “I’m sorry you will have to move” and she left.

Passengers are now unbuckling to see whats going on.   The first man returned with a book, it seems there is a rule, that says if you need an extension, your not able to assist other passengers in the case of an emergency.

My demeanor changed as I was exiled to the rear of the plane.   Other passengers watched as I was escorted by five employee.  One good intentioned but very loud steward, announced, “oooh, you get the whole row to yourself.  The humiliation continued as this man announced that he was bringing me extra food, because I looked hungry.   I clearly remember this young pigtail child tapping her family turning around and watched me eat.

Like an embarrassed second grader,who said Is-land instead of  island.   I sat in my seat and waited for every one to leave.  Hoping never to see those passengers again.  The mean stewardess said good bye through her teeth, the good intentioned steward waved enthusiastically as I was leaving.

Like the embarrassed second grader my plan wasn’t completely thought out as forgot about the luggage carousels   There they all were, some looked down as I found a place to wait.    I over heard one women ask , I wonder what he did?

In New York, I Fed Ex a letter to the Airline. Who added extra mileage to my account, and sent. me a free ticket

A  LOT OF PEOPLE FEEL THE OBESE SHOULD PAY MORE

73% of U.S. Population Overwieght or Obese

The latest National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in the United States has found at 72.9% of the country’s population is overweight, obese, or extremely obese. The big news from this study is that more people over 20 years of age are now obese (34.3%) versus those who are simply overweight (32.7%)

Yes and no.

When I go to the theater, I buy a orchestra ticket or a lodge ticket because I have long legs its a small premium but worth it to me..

Southwest is a well run airline, they are  efficient and on time.  Several years ago they instituted a (POS) Person of Size to purchase a second ticket.  I discovered this on the A&E reality show Airline, where this poor  man called his girlfriend or family member for a credit card to purchase  another ticket , the man was in tears.

For several years  I’ve flown  Southwest without incident, then on one flight to Portland I was asked to purchase an additional  ticket on a flight that wasn’t full.  Southwest did refund my money when I returned to Sacramento   Today, I no longer fly Southwest..

I’m not sure if there is an immediate solution airlines are strapped for cash.  They have chosen to fly smaller fuel efficient planes, filling every inch with a human being.

My reality is at 6.4 and 377 pounds, I should pay more.  But I should get more, a wider seat with extra leg room. Would I would have no problems paying an extra $50 to $100 on a domestic flight? absolutely!    Problem is  many airlines want twice that amount and if there is a connection, you are charged for each leg.   If your flight has three legs, that extra comfort could cost you an additional $600.  Worse. they consider an extra inch and a half of leg room luxurious seating.

If you are not obese, and over 5.10 and two hundred pounds, how comfortable is your seat?

Everybody inhale.

 

Update(2012)

Southwest Airlines is in midst of a 60 million dollar overhaul.  The Airline is adding slimmer and thinner seats increasing its seating capacity from 137 to 143 seats. The airline says” passengers will hardly notice”

Fewer flights, and fuller planes is the rule.  Last summer the average flight was over 84% full.

There are options:

Seatguru  www.seatguru.com

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One thought on “THE OBESE TRAVELER SPEAKS

  1. Boy do I relate to what you say! As a 5'10" woman with a big butt, the seats were tight for me. I also requested the seat belt extension as discretely as possible and met with mixed response- some stewardesses being discrete in return,,, some less so…And counter staff placed me in the exit row three times and I was asked to leave the row three times before someone explained to me that people on seat belt extensions couldn't be there. One humiliating trip of 6 hours, I had to leave my partner in the exit row and sit in an aisle seat at the front of the plane with everyone watching. I fumed for the whole trip, even refused the food as I felt so humiliated. What was to be a romantic start to our holiday became a shameful one that I never recovered from.So now, some kilos light, I fit okay but still need a seat belt extension because of about 2 inches. Now all I have to worry about is getting cramps in my legs so that when it's time to leave the plane, my legs and knees just don't want to work too good…Ditto to seats in theatres, movies, restaurants etc. I always scope it out and can't remember the number of times I have missed events as I knew my wide rear wouldn't fit in chairs… It is better now I'm thinner, but I still plan for a thin seat. Thanks for a great story!

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