Weight Loss Support - Airplanes: The worst place to be fat




Sunday115
01-14-2013, 03:48 AM
Brief synopsis of my story to begin: I'm a college student, due to a death in the family I took a semester off. The first year I went to Chicago for College (2.5 years ago) I went in and 290 and in just 2 months got down to 265. Since then I have gained all of it back and more putting me at my heaviest around 320. Finally yesterday, I got to come back to school in Chicago from California, and for the first time in my entire life I had to ask for an extender. Humiliating doesn't even cover it. The good news is, I live with a friend who is going on the weight loss journey with me, I have a "free" membership to the school gym, and we can keep each other on track.

Just venting, SO frustrated.

Any similar experiences?


Hotaruchan
01-14-2013, 06:47 AM
Ugh...I've never had that happen to me, but airplanes are uncomfortable enough without adding in humiliation. *Hugs* I'm sorry that happened, but you're making changes for the better, so it'll probably the last time it happens to you, at least. Good luck to you and your friend! You've managed to lose decent amount of weight in the past, so you can most certainly do it again. Go go go!

Misti in Seattle
01-14-2013, 07:04 AM
Oh for sure I've had to ask for the extender... especially on the smaller commuter planes. But I am pretty sure I won't have to do it next time I fly... here's hoping!!


annieway
01-14-2013, 11:05 AM
I think it was the extensive travel I have to do with my job that set me on my journey about a year ago. I never needed an extender but it was a close thing on some airlines - seatbelts vary in length by a lot from airline to airline. It was also feeling so crowded in middle seats and not being able to bend at the waist enough to reach under the seat in front to get my stuff.

betsy2013
01-14-2013, 11:11 AM
Oh yes, I've had to ask for an extender. I took to only flying first class when I do fly, but since I'm retired basically just decided to drive everywhere. That was easier than losing the weight!:(

Aside from the seat belt extender humiliation, there's the joy of trying to get the tray table down or out of the arm rest and not being able to get it situated correctly. But my absolutely worst time was when I was in an aisle seat in coach and the two seats to the right of me were still empty. An older couple realized they'd be sitting next to me and the husband said to his wife in a voice loud enough that everyone in the area could hear "You sit next to the fatty -- I don't want her flab touching me." Thought I would just die right then.

jp4ga
01-14-2013, 11:27 AM
I do not fly often so I have not had that experience. However, I had to get off of a roller coaster because the bar would not click shut. This is AFTER I sat in the test seat outside of the ride to ensure a right fit. I have never been so humilated in my life.

Robin41
01-14-2013, 12:17 PM
When I got to a point where I was worried about fitting in the seats and using the extender, I simply did not fly anymore. Lots of excuses out there for driving instead, and I used them all.

Last time I flew, I could actually cross my legs while sitting. It was awesome and it's one of the things that I think about when I consider eating too much of something that's not good for me. Helps keep me in line.

Radiojane
01-14-2013, 12:22 PM
Not going to lie, a huge motivator for me starting this diet in August was the fact that I was supposed to go to Mexico next month with a friend. Even at 75 pounds lighter, I'm afraid to travel because I don't know how I'll fit in the seats.

At my heaviest last January, I went to a comedy show held in an arena. I was in tears by the end of it, because I couldn't fit in the seat properly, and my back and thighs were pinched. It was humiliating.

Fast forward to this October, after losing 50lbs. I went to a concert in the same arena (I'd purposely booked seats in the back row, so I could just stand directly behind instead of sitting), but I decided to try the chairs, and I fit! It was a victory, and tangible proof that I actually had lost as much as the scale said.

You'll have that moment, and it will feel awesome.

Wheresmychin
01-14-2013, 12:29 PM
I laugh now, but I was stopped by a guard who shouted at me for not taking off my wallet belt which I was " concealing" under my shirt. I had to lift my shirt to show my fat stomach and prove I was not concealing anything.

Sad to say that even that wasn't my rock bottom.

MegaMegan2012
01-14-2013, 12:37 PM
At my heaviest I had to get off of a roller coaster....that has been one of the most humiliating moments I have had related to my weight. Since then I have lost about 50 lbs. I was on a plane in July at 275 and was very afraid of having to have an extender, but I was surprisingly pretty comfortable.

Radiojane
01-14-2013, 12:38 PM
I don't think I've even attempted to get on a fair ride since I was 15 and at my slimmest.

CherryPie99
01-14-2013, 01:33 PM
I learned to ask for an aisle seat as well as an extender - I then lifted the outside arm rest and could hang my fatness into the aisle and not terribly crowd the person next to me.

In 2009 I flew a red eye flight and had this petite little thing next to me - she was so nice. She casually asked if I wanted to put my drink on her tray because it was obvious I could put my tray down. I was so embarassed even though she was trying to make it no big deal.

Fast forward to August 2011 - I was down to about 150 pounds and could fit easily in the seats. I was in the Atlanta airport and there are booths with HOMELAND SECURITY written over them. A very tall, beefy, no nonsense black woman montioned me over. She started at my license, at me, back at my license and then in a total DEADPAN voice she says "You're all set and congratulations" and hands my license back. Confused I was like "Excuse me?" She says again in a deadpan voice but also like she is talking to a child "You are ALL SET and congratulations on the weight loss." She could tell from my license pic. I muttered thanks and dashed off.

That was a great flight - tons of room to spare in the seat!! A WINDOW seat.

Jen

April Snow
01-14-2013, 01:45 PM
The last few times I've flown, it's usually been with my very skinny kid, so I got to take advantage of lifting the arm rest between and using some of his extra room, and using his snack tray sometimes too.

Here's hoping my next flight, I fit more comfortably in my own seat!

April Snow
01-14-2013, 01:48 PM
Oh yes, I've had to ask for an extender. I took to only flying first class when I do fly, but since I'm retired basically just decided to drive everywhere. That was easier than losing the weight!:(

Aside from the seat belt extender humiliation, there's the joy of trying to get the tray table down or out of the arm rest and not being able to get it situated correctly. But my absolutely worst time was when I was in an aisle seat in coach and the two seats to the right of me were still empty. An older couple realized they'd be sitting next to me and the husband said to his wife in a voice loud enough that everyone in the area could hear "You sit next to the fatty -- I don't want her flab touching me." Thought I would just die right then.

That is so awful. I guess all you can do is remember that weight can go up and down, but an ugly personality lasts forever.

sugarfreedom
01-14-2013, 01:54 PM
I hear ya. We often fly those little tiny commuter plans. Mr. SF and I usually try to get the two-person seats so we don't have to crowd anyone else. One of the last times we flew, the stewardess had Mr. SF lift up his stomach to show her that he had his belt buckled. I could tell he was embarassed :(

elvislover324
01-14-2013, 01:57 PM
All of your posts made me nod and understand almost exactly how you felt going through this. I only fly when I have to and it's always with my husband lately. I always take the window seat and practically hug the wall so I don't make him uncomfortable (he's awesome and thin and never thinks twice about it being a problem, in a nice way). I'd rather have my body touching him than some stranger having to deal with me.

I wrote this on another thread but I thought about it again reading this post. I wish there was a place we could test out a seat and seatbelt prior to actually being on the plane. Even if it was in the airport outside of the secured area. It's not like we are the only dozen people who have this problem. And the anxiety just thinking about it now is enough to make me sick.

I once had a flight attendant ask if I was buckled in (I wasn't). I nodded and showed her the part of the belt that wasn't tucked up into my sweatshirt. We both knew I was lying but she didn't say anything else. I was so thankful.

Radiojane
01-14-2013, 02:12 PM
That reminds me of my dad. I can't remember a time he could actually do up a seat belt in his truck ( we actually removed the back seat from the last one - one of those 1980's suburbans - and pushed the front seat back further. I vividly remember he got pulled over for speeding by a new cop. Generally he wasn't stopped by the locals because he was a vet and it was assumed he was hurrying for an emergency, and even when he did speed it was maybe 10km over the limit.

Any way, this new cop came up to the window and gave him **** for speeding and not wearing a seat belt and went to run his license, at which time another cop showed up, and after a few words the first cop came over and apologized for stopping him and sent him on his way. It was the first time I really realized how big he'd gotten, and how respectful the community was of his feelings.

I got pulled over at my heaviest without a seatbelt on (I know I know, but in fairness I had kidney stones and was trying to get to the hospital for a shot of toradal. If you've ever had kidney stones, you know that it sort of takes precedence over common sense). The cop was beyond rude, and said "I suppose you can't even do the belt up at your size. Well maybe you shouldn't be driving". I whipped the belt on and buckled it, and said "Write me the ticket and make sure you print your name so that I can tell everyone what a jerk you are to anyone over 120 pounds".

I didn't get the ticket.

eliza422
01-14-2013, 02:25 PM
This so resonates with me.

The actual impetus for me to start getting back in shape was the first time I had to fly in one of those small commuter planes after a few years...this was 2009, and I had to ask for an extender. I had *never* had to do that before.

I've always found it uncomfortable to fly, always getting an aisle seat so you can hang over, just the humiliation and frustration of it all.

That was in 2009, and just a couple of months after that I started getting myself together.

I fly a couple of times a year and I always use that as my progress gauge - the way some people use their biggest pair of pants.
I measure with my hand how much extra seat belt there, my comfort level, that sort of thing.

When I flew this past June in a smaller (medium size plane) I actually crossed my legs!
At Xmas I flew a regular jet - 737, I think - and I had my spread hand's width of seat belt left over! I can cross my legs, I can put the tray down even if the person in front of me is reclined, I can walk down the aisle straight down (not turned sideways), I don't get "the look" anymore...and I now feel OK getting window seats which I prefer!

I now no longer dread that part of flying - all the rest of it still sucks, but at least I would say I'm almost comfortable :dizzy: in the airplane seat.

sontaikle
01-14-2013, 03:18 PM
It's kind of ridiculous how the airline seats are and how the industry treats people. When I was a 14/16 I just fit into the seats...and that's around the average size for a US woman!!

Also, you can buy airplane extenders so you don't have to ask for one/deal with a possibly nasty flight attendant: http://www.amazon.com/distributed-by-Dynamic-Living-com-Airplane-Extender/dp/B001KVW6EQ

April Snow
01-14-2013, 03:44 PM
re: buying the extender belt - the FAA released a memo last year saying there were not allowed. I would guess most of the time, no one pays that much attention but it's possible you might get a persnickety flight attendant who won't let you used it.

http://www.faa.gov/other_visit/aviation_industry/airline_operators/airline_safety/info/all_infos/media/2012/InFO12012.pdf

Em Coconut
01-14-2013, 04:04 PM
Haven't had to ask for an extender, But have had my share of tray issues, where I have hardly been able to get it comepletely down. Sat by an exit once where the tray was in the arm rest and I wasn't able to use it at all. Luckily it was possible to switch seats, and could blame it on not being comfortable sitting by the exit...Admitting the real reason would be too humiliating. There really should be more room.

Vex
01-14-2013, 04:52 PM
Oh yeah, except I never asked for the extender, I'd just lay my shirt over top of it. Silly, I know.

What a difference losing weight has made. Last time I flew was around 200 lbs and it was flat out awesome.

I hope you'll able to find a way to turn mortified into motivation! :)

gailr42
01-14-2013, 05:28 PM
I am retired from a commuter airline. Our little planes with their two on one side, one on the other seating are actually more comfortable and have more room for carryons under the seat than a big plane. Just had to brag.

I am fat, but I am a small person. Even heavy, I don't take up as much room as a normal man. I don't see how the airlines manage to get anyone in their seats. My butt is not the heavy part of me and it just barely fits in the seat. Flying is miserable no matter what size you are. And the employees [of other airlines, not us :D] mistreat everyone equally.

mnemosyne
01-14-2013, 05:58 PM
I have been guilty of flying while fat and definitely have learned to request an extender belt from the flight attendant when boarding if I think I need one. Generally, I have needed one. Who knows, now?

However, I have to say that I have never been treated poorly by a flight attendant for that reason. If you are flying and need the belt, please ask for it! When you are done, roll it up and return it politely to the attendant as you exit the plane, and they will be happy and so will you.

Seriously, I have flown internationally, on connecting and internal flights, and never had a problem making myself understood with attendants, even on a regional airline in Peru. It is much more comfortable to have the extender and not worry that you will be 'caught' than to try to lie and conceal it. As unpleasant as I have found flying, I have not really been treated poorly by either flight attendants or other passengers.

And hope to be much smaller on my next flight!

mandypandy2246
01-14-2013, 06:15 PM
I whipped the belt on and buckled it, and said "Write me the ticket and make sure you print your name so that I can tell everyone what a jerk you are to anyone over 120 pounds".

I didn't get the ticket.

That took courage! If that happened to me I'd probably cower and cry afterwards. Good for you. Go you for standing up for yourself and bigger girls everywhere!

Radiojane
01-14-2013, 07:14 PM
Oh I cried. For a long time. I was humiliated. But my temper always kicks in first.

KittyKatFan
01-14-2013, 10:16 PM
re: buying the extender belt - the FAA released a memo last year saying there were not allowed. I would guess most of the time, no one pays that much attention but it's possible you might get a persnickety flight attendant who won't let you used it.

http://www.faa.gov/other_visit/aviation_industry/airline_operators/airline_safety/info/all_infos/media/2012/InFO12012.pdf


I bought extenders and never had a problem EXCEPT for one of the most humiliating experiences in my life. I was on a tiny commuter plane and belted myself in with the extender. The **** flight attendant checked every belt and noticed that the belt color on my extender wasn't the same color as the regular belt. She said, very loudly, that I couldn't wear my extender and that she would have to eat me an extender.

She returned with an extender in her hand and said "here, use this one." Everyone around me was watching. I wanted to die. And when I left after the flight, she asked, very loudly, if I had the extender with me. I told her it was on my seat. How embarrassing.

I never had any "Fatty" comments, at least not to my face. But I could see the disappointment when someone had to sit next to me. And I remember flights where I could not eat the in-flight meal or have a drink because I couldn't put the tray down. I, too, stopped flying coach and only flew first class when I had to fly, which is obviously expensive.

I just took some flights, on a commuter plane, then in the coach section of a normal sized jet, and am so happy I didn't need the extender. No looks of disgust from the people who had to sit next to me. And lots of $ saved by sitting in coach (some of the flights didn't have a first class section anyway).

KimL1214
01-14-2013, 11:18 PM
First... :hug::hug::hug:

Two years ago I spent almost 11 hours on a flight to Hawaii... I didn't have to ask for an extender, but I did have bruises on the outside of my thighs when I landed in Honolulu...

I have to fly in exactly a month from yesterday and I'm worried. I don't think I'll have to ask for an extender, but I also haven't flown Jet Blue in a long time, so I have no idea.

Good luck on your journey! You got this and are so lucky to have a friend to work with!

Sunday115
01-15-2013, 12:16 AM
Wow everyone! Sorry I didn't get to you guys sooner. I had a lot of errands to run today to get ready for my first classes tomorrow. Most importantly, replacing my lost ID card so I can start going to the gym again! Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences I hope to never ever ever need an extender again. Last time I flew before this I barely fit and that was maybe...30 pounds ago. The amount of anxiety before even getting on the plane was paralyzing! Over an extender! Haha. I'm definitely excited to finally get the ball rolling, it's a lot harder when I am with my family as I was for the last 8 months. My room mate and I who have been friends since we were kids ( she moved to Chicago with me) went grocery shopping and took all of the food that was unhealthy and eligible for donation to a food bank. I really can't express enough what all of your posts mean to me, thanks, I was really down.

Misti in Seattle
01-15-2013, 08:58 AM
I have been guilty of flying while fat and definitely have learned to request an extender belt from the flight attendant when boarding if I think I need one. Generally, I have needed one. Who knows, now?

However, I have to say that I have never been treated poorly by a flight attendant for that reason. If you are flying and need the belt, please ask for it! When you are done, roll it up and return it politely to the attendant as you exit the plane, and they will be happy and so will you.

Seriously, I have flown internationally, on connecting and internal flights, and never had a problem making myself understood with attendants, even on a regional airline in Peru. It is much more comfortable to have the extender and not worry that you will be 'caught' than to try to lie and conceal it. As unpleasant as I have found flying, I have not really been treated poorly by either flight attendants or other passengers.

And hope to be much smaller on my next flight!

For sure! Great post! And not to mention the results if there is ever an actual emergency and you need it! It could be a difference of life and death. Those seatbelts are there for a reason.