July 24, 2015

Flying While Plus Size - Seat Belt Extenders - United Airlines

For those of you who follow me regularly, you will know that earlier this month I went on vacation. I had to fly from Maine to Montana, which is pretty much flying across the country. Prior to this vacation, the last time I flew on the airplane was in the mid 1990's to Disney when I was a child. So a good 20 years or so ago.

I won't front, I was nervous about so many things. The biggest fear though was my weight. I have heard horror stories about being plus size while flying, and it really got to me. Would I fit into the seat? Would I fit into the seat belt? How do I get a seat belt extender? Will I be judged? You name it, I thought it. As soon as I found out about this vacation (I won a trip), I began searching online. What I found was pretty blah. Either old posts from 5 to 10 years ago, or posts in other countries. After reading through old forums, checking out SeatGuru, and searching Yahoo, I came to the determination that I would need a seat belt extender on my flight. This idea terrified me. When do I ask for one? Do I have to pre-reserve one? How embarrassed will I be?

I did some research on United Airlines about seat belt extenders. Their website didn't offer much help, so I sent them a email asking how I would go about getting one. No reply for a few days, so I took to Twitter and asked. The person there said I would have to ask prior to boarding. I looked at other websites and they said that I would have to pre-reserve one. I was lost. So I just left it alone.

At Chicago O'Hare Airport

Finally the day of flying came. I would be flying on 2 different types of planes in total. The first was a smaller plane, 2x2 seating, that would take me from Maine to Chicago O'Hare. Then I would board a regular sized plane, 3x3 seating and head to Montana. As I walked through the gate and got on the ramp, I was sweating bullets. I was about to swallow my pride. As I stepped onto the aircraft I asked the flight attendant for a seat belt extender. She said she would bring one to me aft er everyone is seated. Okay, that wasn't too hard at all. I made my way to my seat, and sat down. The seat was small, but it wasn't tight, or uncomfortable. It was just small. I grabbed the seat belt, and figured I'd give it a try. I loosened it all the way, and to my utter amazement, it buckled. And I could pull the belt a bit to make it tighter.

I literally wanted to jump up and dance! I didn't need the seat belt extender. I got worried for absolutely nothing! Anyways, at this point everyone was settling into their seats, and the flight attendant came over to me and I was able to proudly say that I ended up not needing it. Again I did a little happy dance in my seat, and prepared for take off! However the journey didn't end there, I still had 1 more plane to get onto at my connection in Chicago. I wasn't sure if the belt size would be the same since it was a totally different style aircraft. So when we landed into O'Hare, got to the next gate, and started boarding the plane, I just figured I would try the seat belt first before asking for a seat belt extender. I again went to my seat, sat down, and the belt buckled, and was the same as the first plane. I was over joyed! I felt so proud of myself. Prior to my trip I started a weight loss journey, one which I am still on, and it payed off!

I now feel so much more confident about flying, and honestly, I would fly with United a million times again!

I also have been asked some questions on social media about flying while plus size, so here are my answers to those!

Q: I am plus size and flying for the first time. What seat would you recommend sitting in?
A: I sat in both the aisle seats and window seats on my flights. I won't lie, neither seat was the best, but they both were better than sitting in the middle. The window seat is nice for obvious reasons, you get the best show in the house. But you are kind of scrunched into that little corner. Plus if you have to get up for any reason, you have at least 1 or 2 people to climb over. The aisle seat is nice because you do have one side that has more open room. The down side is that people are constantly walking down the aisle, and the food / drink carts are coming down the aisle as well. In those seats I found myself having to tuck my arms in quite a bit.

Q: Do you have to pre-reserve a seat belt extender with United Airlines?
A: Nope. As I boarded the plane, the flight attendants were there greeting the passengers. I simply asked her for one, and that was it. She later came to give me one once everyone was seated.

Q: Was the flight attendant nice about giving you a seat belt extender?
A: The flight attendant seemed un-phased by it. She simply walked over to hand it to me, no big deal. When I told her I ended up not needing it, she was perfectly fine about it.

Q: Were you comfortable on your flight, or did you feel uncomfortable?
A: The first hour of my flights, I wasn't too bad. However the longer I was on the plane, the more sore my butt got. The seats aren't the most comfiest things in the world. It seems weird to me that with the price of airplane tickets, and the amount of time most flights are, you would think that they would at least have comfy seats. But that's not the case.

Q: Was Chicago O'Hare Airport scary?
A: Not in the least. It was actually quite user friendly and easy to navigate. I was in Terminal 1 and had to go from Concourse C to Concourse B. I made it from one gate to another in about 5 minutes or less. Honestly I thought it was going to be a lot more scarier, busier, and hectic than it was.

If you have any questions relating to this post, feel free to leave your questions in the comments below!

1 comment :

  1. I am about to travel and fly for the first time and am scared about this as well. I was wondering if you knew how many inches you are or what size so I could think whether I would fit or not. Thanks so much.