I have a number of friends that consider themselves as ‘plus size’ and always tell me of the horrors of flying on a plane when going either on holidays or visiting friends and family. They would rather not fly at all most of the time. When I came across this article I thought it is such a helpful piece of writing to help calm some of the nerves for people like my friends. Enjoy the read!
PLUS SIZE TRAVEL – TIPS FOR FLYING
I’m really excited about my trip to LA but am stressing about the flight. This is a long haul flight Sydney – Auckland- LA. I’ve traveled quite a lot and spent a year working as a full-time tour guide in Europe. Everything I had for the entire year had to fit into one backpack and a carry-on bag. I consider myself an expert at packing, folding and how to minimize my individual plus size clothing for maximum outfit combinations.
As a plus size traveler, there are a few extra things to consider starting with s-q-u-e-e-z-i-n-g into the economy size seat. Business Class is only but a dream for me. I’ll certainly try chatting up the check-in staff in hopes of an upgrade to Economy Plus section and scoring a cheeky 5 extra inches but I know the chances are slim (even if I’m not). At 5’3″ a seat upgrade is more about extra thigh room rather than long legs. Here’s my top tips for plus size travel.
BEST DAYS TO FLY
I’m concerned about my comfort and the person sitting next to me too! So failing a big butt upgrade, if the flight isn’t full I’ll request the seat next to me to be vacant or blocked. If I end up next to another big girl then we’re both in for an uncomfortable trip I’m afraid. I avoid busy travel days: Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday mornings and usually book Tuesday, Wednesday and super early Saturday morning or Saturday night. Red eye flights are also a pretty good bet, especially on Saturday night. Just think “when would most people least like to fly” and generally that’s the best time to go for plus size travel!
The aisle seat is always my first choice on long haul so I can get up and go to the bathroom whenever I like without having to wake up to strangers and ask them to get up and move. As much as I like the view on take off and landing a window seat makes me feel trapped (more shoulder room but same hip room). I know a meal cart slamming into you is the trade off for the aisle seat but I’m willing to take that risk on a 14-hour flight (at least one thigh and half my bum will be free range). SEAT GURU is a website where you can check the seat dimensions on all airlines. This is a great tool for plus size travel and is easy to use, just plug in airline name, flight number and date boom it’ll tell you all the numbers.
ARM REST & SEAT BELT EXTENDERS
I may need to ask for a seatbelt extender if the existing one doesn’t fit. I’ve never done this before and am a little nervous but I won’t be the first or last person making this request so a quiet word to the flight attendant will sort that out quick. The flight attendant will also ask to put the arm rests down for take off but as soon as that bird is in the sky I’m lifting that sucker for extra room. Fingers crossed if there’s someone next to me they’ll be happy to leave it up otherwise it’s rather squishy experience.
I’d love to work on my laptop for the full 14-hour flight but there’s just not enough room for a plus size person in Economy to have the table down comfortably. Boobs and bellies get in the way and the person in front will more than likely have their seat back. I bring my laptop with me but only to keep it safe rather than use it. However, if the seat next to you is vacant then that is a plus!
FREE DRINKS & BATHROOMS
I love free booze on international flights but the last thing I want to be on a 14-hour flight is drunk and needing to pee every 5 minutes. Those airplane toilet cubicles are tiny so the less time spent there the better! On a side note, anyone who reckons they’re a member of the Mile High Club surely must be lying. I just can’t see how two people (of any size let alone travelers in the plus sizes range) can fit in an airplane toilet stall and let alone get busy and get anything out if it. In any case, once the boarding announcement goes over the PA I head to the toilet for a last visit just to be sure then I’m usually good for a few hours.
LUGGAGE WEIGHT LIMITS
I’ve never been able to tell how much my bag weighs and have been caught at the airport throwing things away so I can make the weight limit. Yes, I’ve even had to wear winter coats and even my plus size evening wear on flights in just to save on excess luggage fees. Electronic Luggage Scales are a big help! There are a few on the. If you’re planning on shopping on your trip I’d also suggest taking it with you so you don’t have to pay excess baggage on the flight home too!
Here is the link to their website: http://www.blogher.com/plus-size-travel-tips-flying