Hola from Miami!
I'm traveling for work this week, and was reminded that every time I travel, I want to write a post about traveling while overweight.
I used to have tons of anxiety before flights. My ass did not, and does not, still fit in the airplane seats. I've written about it at least three times (here, here and here), and it has generated a very popular email that I get from people about to take their first flights in a while.
The whole Kevin Smith debacle, the Southwest policy on having to buy 2 seats, etc, is enough to scare any pleasantly plump traveler away. I seriously used to have near panic attacks when thinking about flying. What if they kicked me off? I'm not going to ask work to pay for a second ticket! What if the person next to me complains or says something hurtful?
While I won't ever say those things don't ever happen, I will tell you that none have ever happened to me. I typically fly Delta due to my home airport. They don't have a clear oversize passenger policy, so I consider them a more “safe” route to go, although I think the same is true for US Airways.
I've stopped panicking so much before flights now because I'm used to it and have a procedure. I wanted to share it. Take it for what it's worth, but it works for me!
- When you book your flight, make sure to go through the seat selection process. I typically go to the middle of the plane as it's at its widest part. Be advised though that if you need a seatbelt extender, you will not be allowed to sit in an exit row, so avoid those.
- Before you get to the airport, check in online and check your seat assignments. Sometimes you can find a sacred empty few seats on the plane and switch seats. That doesn't guarantee they'll be empty by the time you get on the plane though. Last minute bookings, rescheduled passengers and standby passengers often fill up the seats.
- I tend to book a window seat for my flights because I somehow in my head feel I can better squish myself up against the window and “suck in” the other side of me to stay in a tight little ball during the flight. Some may prefer the aisle though, so it's all personal preference.
- If you know you need a seatbelt extender, you can ask for it when you board. When the flight attendant welcomes you onto the plane, you can quietly ask them for one. They're usually very discreet about it. Many times they'll give it to you right there, as it's usually accessible up at the front of the plane with the safety demonstration equipment. Sometimes, like today, they simply ask for your seat number, and then someone will discreetly drop it off to you. Sometimes, if you get to your seat and forget to ask upon boarding, it can get a little embarrassing as the passengers in your row have to see you fumble with getting the seatbelt from the flight attendant and put it on.
- Along those lines, I try to board near the front of the line. So if they call Zones 1 and 2 to board and I'm in Zone 3, you better believe I'm lined up and ready to hop when they call Zone 3. This simply gives me a better chance of making it into my seat and situated before my row-mate does. No crawling over the other passengers or struggling to get the seatbelt extender on.
- When you're done with the flight and have reached your destination, drink lots of water. I get major water retention any time I travel, so keeping hydrated is key for my legs not swelling up like balloons.
I was kind of bummed that I still need a seatbelt extender. It's kind of funny, but I have started to forget how really big I am until I'm put in these uncomfortable situations. Yes, I can breeze through the airport quicker and without sweating like a pig, but no one knows where I've come from in my fitness journey. No one knows me from anyone else. I'm still super obese. I need to remember to keep my head high and just keep trucking. People are too busy to notice you- just do what you do.
Here's me and my seatbelt extender today. Still a ways to go:
So that's my flying advice for the plus princesses out there who might need some help.
Also learned today:
- Swanky hotel robes laid out on your turndown service are just like any other robes- they don't fit. The luxury is lost if the damn thing hangs halfway open on you.
- I wish hotels had low carb chocolates to put on your pillow instead of these:
Anyone have some more travel advice to share?