General chatter - Size-24, will I have a problem flying?

03-10-2006, 11:53 PM
Hey Everyone -

I'm headed to India on late April, and I am sooo worried that I might not fit in the airplane seats or the buckle won't fit! I haven't flown in 6 years and I was skinny back then. I'm a size 24.

Please help me put my mind at ease!! OR, offer advice.. if the buckle doesn't fit I'll probably burst into tears!!

03-11-2006, 12:02 AM
Oops I just realized I should have posted this in "general chatter" anyone know how I can move the thread there?

03-11-2006, 02:21 AM

I saw your post and just wanted to say what I know about this... from experience...

About a year and a half or two years ago, I was a size 24 and I fit into the seat (albeit uncomfortably and I did put the arm up to make it a little more comfortable) and I wasn't charged for another seat or anything like that (though it is probably different from one airline to the next and I'm not sure how you would find out what the airlines policy is on size or whatever). I did have to ask one of the flight attendants for a seat belt extender. It's usually something like the seat belts that the flight attendants use to demonstrate how to operate the seat belts. That was a bit embarrassing, but you may be able to fit the regular belt without the extender - my sister was the same size as me and she didn't need the extender. If you feel daring enough to ask, some flight attendants will be fine about letting you move seats to an area of the plane where there is more room, but some may not. It's the typical (possible) prejudice that you have to deal with when you are overweight.

I hope that helped a little. I'm sorry I couldn't tell you more. I hope everything works out well for your trip and that you have a great time!


03-11-2006, 10:54 AM
When I was a size 24, I could still fit into a regular seat without a belt extender - barely. I had to extend the belt out all the way. I would suggest making sure that you get an aisle seat. That way, you can kind of "claim" some of the aisle space if you need to. I guess it really depends, though, on where you carry your weight - hips and butt vs. waist.

03-11-2006, 04:14 PM
I carry a lot of my weight in the "gut" area (where the lap belt crosses you)and I am a size 28. When I flew a few years back I was able to fit in the seat and the seat belt, although just barely:). I would think w/you being 2 sizes smaller than me you will be alright:) If you have to ask for an extender just motion the attendant over and just discretly tell her you need one. Better to do that than have her see you cant buckle your belt and ASK you if you need one:)

You know if a big man needed an extender no one would say a word or think twice about it. Now that's predjudice.

03-11-2006, 06:43 PM
Oh! I feel sooo much better now! One less thing to worry about :) Thanks so much for your replies. Now does anyone know if I'll be able to fit in a rickshaw? Only joking :-D

03-11-2006, 11:37 PM
Just to add my own experience. I was a 22, sometimes 24. And I took 1 or 2 trips a year. I never had a problem needing an extender, but I was terribly uncomfortable. If you don't mind the arms digging in, not being able to comfortably get to the buttons for the headphones, fearing needing to go to the bathroom because everyone will be upset with your butt in their face trying to squeeze out and then you banging your knee on everything in that tight'll be fine. LOL

But then, I saw first class. If you can afford it, it's the way to go for larger size. The seats are much much wider, and way more leg room.

Misti in Seattle
03-11-2006, 11:47 PM
Please help me put my mind at ease!! OR, offer advice.. if the buckle doesn't fit I'll probably burst into tears!!

Yes it is embarrassing but if needed just ask for an extender.... I've had to do it!! Then come back here after the trip to 3FC and keep working so next time you won't HAVE to!!!! :)

03-12-2006, 12:02 PM
Ren87, if you're a size 24, I'd say it will depend on where you carry your weight as to whether you will be uncomfortable. The last time I flew, I was a size 22 in pants. I carry extra weight in my thighs and butt, and I will tell you I was NOT comfy! I could barely get the arm down, and the lady next to me obviously wasn't pleased that I was slightly invading her space. I tend to have a relatively small waist, so I didn't need an extender but my *caboose* took up extra room!

Almostheaven speaks a lot of truth ... the darned plane is so *tight* that it's not fun for an overweight person to try to maneuver. It's one of the reasons I'm fighting so hard to get my weight off. I'm retired, and in traveling mode, and hoping my XL/1X body (and getting smaller) will fit better on the next trip!!! :-)

I believe Southwest is the only airline requiring you to pay for an extra seat if you *spill over.* Between now and late April, maybe you will make more progress on your program, and that seatbelt won't be as tight as you fear!!! Good luck, Bon Voyage and hugs to you!

Misti in Seattle
03-12-2006, 12:10 PM
I agree about where you carry your extra weight being an issue... AND getting an aisle seat helps. I tend to carry ALL of my weight in my stomach and boobs so can get my butt into the seats okay.... but LOL I end up crossing my arms over my chest half the flight to keep my topheavy top half where it belongs LOL.

Another thing to consider.... American Airlines is advertising as having slightly larger seats and I found this to be the case. Also... if you have to fly partway on the small commuter planes it can be a problem... so try to book a direct flight on the largest plane you can.

03-12-2006, 04:18 PM
Hi, I carry alot of weight in the butt/gut so those seats are a major pain (literally). I recommend visiting the website for seatbelt extenders. They are life & embarassment savers! I'm planning a 14 hour flight to Australia this summer, which is my MAJOR motivation to stick w/WW. I found a card that has an airplane on the front & "excuse me ma'am, we cannot leave the gate until you're seated ... and from the looks of that ***, this flight is canceled!". This is on my fridge! Good luck & enjoy your trip!

03-12-2006, 04:25 PM
I travelled to Australia from the UK at my fattest. I could get the belt around me without an extender. I wasn't comfortable, and spent a lot of the flight on my feet. I adopted babies!!! Mums always need an extra pair of hands on flights, so I helped out!!!

I went Singapore Airlines, I don't know if they would have been accommodating if I had asked, but it was incredibly uncomfortable. I am hoping now I will feel a lot better. I go in June!!!

Misti in Seattle
03-12-2006, 05:18 PM
Thanks for sharing that site, Charliefan! I did not know about it. Hopefully next time I fly I will not need one :) but I am bookmarking the site!!! Not sure when I will be flying again.

03-12-2006, 05:58 PM
While you're at, check out the first class flyer. This is a blow-up cushion that puts you at a better angle for sleeping & has gotten rave reviews. You'll probably want the extender for that since it pushes your behind closer to the front of the seat & the seat belt is needed for support. I bought one for the return flight from Hawaii, but had food poisoning & didn't dare relax long enough to sleep -- eesh! I look forward to using it this summer. That site also has good tips for travelling "large". Highly recommended. Also remember, that flight is only a small part of your trip -- enjoy your stay!

03-12-2006, 06:49 PM
Ren-How long is the flight? Even after I lost my weight and got to a size 14, I would be miserable in a coach seat for more than 6 hours. To the point for me that I would choose not to go or find a way to go first class.

03-13-2006, 02:55 AM
Wow, great replies everyone. Thanks a lot!
I'm still dreading the flights, especially when I think of inconveniencing the people next to me. I'll definately try to get an aisle seat. And I'll probably buy that set of extenders, just to put myself at ease.
Unfortunately it isn't possible to get a non-stop to India from here.. so I'm going Portland-Chicago-Frankfurt-Hyderabad. I imagine the longest flight is 10 or 11 hours? From Chicago to Frankfurt.
Not fun at all! But, I'll be in India for 6 months so hopefully the combo of heat and spicy food and lots of walking will help me lose weight and I'll be thinner on the way home :-)

03-13-2006, 07:59 PM
One more thing, a long-distance flyer told me to go bra-less & non-constricting clothes. So I bought some shelf-bra syle cami's from Roaman's & juicy-style sweats for the flights. My niece (who's a flight attendant & very style concious) says to wear band-aids if you get worried that you might get a little "nippy". You can also layer another top over the cami if you feel too exposed.

03-13-2006, 10:19 PM
Ren.. you may already know much of this... but, just my 2 cents as a frequent flyer. In fact, I've flown 3 different airlines just in the past few weeks. They do vary a lot. But... only once in all my times I've flown have I had to ask for an extender ( I THINK it was on continental, but I couldn't swear to it). I was mortified, but the attendant was very blase about the whole thing, so it seemed like it was a regular, no big deal, kind of thing to her.
I'm still bigger than you are right now, and I haven't had to get one on any recent flights. Some seats have been very uncomfortable, some have been absolutely fine. Some belts have been fine, some have been tight---hard to generalize.

But... here are my words of wisdom, if you will...
If you bring your own extender, you're all set.... you can do it fairly subtly, if you're trying to be discreet. No one will even know.
If you don't bring your own -- you might want to either:
WHILE you're getting on (and there is ALWAYS a back up while people are trying to get down the aisle, and there are alwasy attendants standing at the front) simply quietly tell the attendant that you may need an extender. S/he may be able to hand it to you right then while everyone else is too busy to notice, or they can at least get it to you without you having to lean over someone else and ask. or...
try to get to your seat quickly so you can sit down and gauge it for yourself. Then, if need be you can still try to discreetly mention your need to the attendant while they are moving about.

If you're traveling with someone, it's a bit easier, because you can lift the arm rest that is between you. If it's a stranger in the seat next to you, they might want it down, but you can at least raise it until you get settled.

Aisle seat is probably best because you can stretch your legs a bit... however, you also are the person who has to get up every time someone else wants to go to the bathroom, etc.... pros and cons though, because then at least you're not the one squeezing through when YOU want to go to the bathroom. And,.. on long flights you should make sure you get up and walk a bit about every hour or two. So... six of one, half dozen on the other.

My biggest advice, to tell you the truth, is to get there as early as you can and, when you get your boarding pass, try to get an exit aisle. On flights that are so long, you'll want to be able to have the tray table down for drinks, dinner, doing other things. I think that's more often a bigger problem then the seat belt. Once in a while, the exit aisles have seats with arm rests that DON'T move up... that's a pain if you're wide in the hips. If that happens, you can always tell them you don't want to be in an exit aisle and almost anyone will jump at the chance to trade with you. Trust me :) You don't have to tell them why.

Can you tell I've thought a lot about this? lol because I fly a lot, this is on my mind everytime I get on an airplane.

Honestly, though, I don't think you'll have trouble at all with the belt. Like I said, I'm a size larger than you -- and most of my weight is my middle -- and I've been ok on almost all airlines.

Depending on what you're flying, there will be some options. Usually overseas flights seem to be a bit more accomodating, and often use planes that are more comfortable. Hope that happens to you.

Have a great trip!!

03-13-2006, 11:31 PM
I have flown on my highest weight.. never been an issue. U can go on the airline website and find out their seat measurements :)

03-14-2006, 10:51 AM
My advice would be to pay for business class or better. Can you imagine HOURS wedged into a space that is exactly as wide (or less) as you are?

I have had overweight friends who could not be seated in the exit row due to the honest physical limitations they had concerning ability to help other people off the plane. The aisle is for walking and delivering drinks/food, not extra seating space.

Before you think I'm worthy of your hatred and loathing, hear me out. I have flown for work and have been seated next to an extremely overweight person MANY times. The seats are small, the plane is cramped and flying is just plain uncomfortable regardless of size. It is ****. I paid for those seats to have full use of the space and have had legs in my leg space, arms wedging me into my seat, food shoved onto my tray because they couldn't get the tray down, and, well, you get the picture. I even had a guy cuss me out SEVEN HOURS into a flight for making him get up so I could use the restroom. This after seven hours of him painfully elbowing me into the window so he could have more room.

Be considerate and you will be more comfortable, too. Spend the money for the seat you need. Don't use someone else's space and money.

03-14-2006, 08:32 PM
I seriously doubt that there is a need for someone who is a size 24 to spend extra money for a seat on any flight. Nor do I expect that there would be any hindrence in helping out if need be in an emergency for someone who is simply overweight, and not incredibly so. Perhaps REALLY extremely heavy people who have other complicating factors... but certainly not someone who is simply a size 24.

Sounds like you have been seated next to some Class A idiots and rude people, not heavy people, Lafayette.

I don't think that even sitting on the aisle you can "spread out" into the aisle to the point of hindering others movement... but I do think that the aisle seat or even the window seat has advantages over the middle seat, even if it's for a bit of extra ability to lean one way or the other a bit.

Again, Ren... other than being cooped up in planes for so long, I bet you will be fine, size wise. Just don't forget to walk around every once in a while and keep hydrated. Have a great trip!

03-14-2006, 10:39 PM
Sounds like you have been seated next to some Class A idiots and rude people, not heavy people, Lafayette.

Definately. I've been up to a 24, and even I'd have had a hard time with that guy. I'd have likely blurted aloud "Either move and stop complaining about it or I'm gonna piss on you instead of in the bathroom since it's your elbow that's been knocking my bladder around the entire flight!" :D

03-16-2006, 11:12 AM
I went to and looked at the average seat widths for international flights. There's quite a range:

31-35" for Economy
36-78" for Business
54-94" for First

I guess the main question is, would you want to be seated next to yourself?

Misti in Seattle
03-16-2006, 11:18 PM
I guess the main question is, would you want to be seated next to yourself?

Yah but the problem with that thinking is that "Wherever I go, I take ME with me."

03-19-2006, 08:38 PM
Ren--On my last trip as a 24, I was able to get by without a seat belt extender on one plane but going the other way on a different plane, I had to ask for one. Definitely try to get an aisle seat if you can. Maybe if you can get even a little extra walking in between now and late April, you'll have more fun on your trip as well as ease your fears a little bit about the seat belt. Hang in there!

03-21-2006, 10:29 AM
I flew continental last week, round trip with a lay over both ways so a total of 4 different planes. I am a size 14 carry it all in my thighs & bum, I swore I would never do that to myself again, I will not get back on a plane that large unless absolutly necessary. It was a real motivator, I didnt need an extension or anything like that, but boy was it uncomfortable, I was so lucky to be next to my hubby so we could lift the arm rest, but seriously, it was uncomfortable. I would totally spring for the better class, I was much smaller when I flew over seas last, and even then I wished I had sprung for the bigger seats, I would think at my size today it would feel terrible. This was just my experience, so take it for what its worth.... :)
Good Luck and enjoy your trip!