Plus-sized flyer demands FAA accommodate fat travelers, decries ‘discrimination and discomfort’

Few experiences can be more traumatic for obese people than air travel where plus-sized passengers are forced to squeeze their larger-than-normal bodies into ever-shrinking seats and tiny closet-like restrooms, spurring a travel blogger who is fed up with the FAA’s lack of accommodations for fat folks to demand changes and she is urging action with an online petition.

The blogger, Jae’lynn Chaney from Vancouver, WA, called for the FAA to implement multiple changes for plus-sized travelers, including free seats, larger restrooms, seat belt extenders, and the introduction of mandatory special training for airline employees for dealing with obese passengers.

“Air travel should be comfortable and accessible for everyone, regardless of size. As plus-size travelers, my partner and I have unfortunately experienced discrimination and discomfort while flying. During a flight from Pasco to Denver, my fiancé was subjected to hateful comments, disapproving looks, and even refusal to sit next to them, amounting to discrimination. Similarly, on another flight, I was forced to occupy only one seat with immovable armrests that caused me pain and bruises,” Chaney said, making her case for the changes.

(Image: Screengrab/Change.org)

“Being forced to occupy only one seat can result in pain and vulnerability to poor treatment from fellow passengers, including hateful comments, disapproving looks, and even refusal to sit next to them,” she added. “This mistreatment of plus-size passengers is unacceptable, and it highlights the urgent need for better policies that protect the dignity and rights of all passengers, regardless of size. Unfortunately, plus-size passengers often experience discomfort and discrimination when flying. The lack of a uniform customer-of-size airline policy is unacceptable and must be addressed.”

“Have you ever felt that it was unfair that plus-size travelers are forced to pay for an extra seat or are humiliated for their size while traveling on airlines? I have, and that’s why it’s time to demand fair treatment for everyone, regardless of their size,” Chaney wrote on Twitter.

“Discrimination against plus-size travelers is not only unfair but also a violation of our human rights. We need to raise awareness and demand change to create a more inclusive and equitable world,” she added. “Plus-size travelers are not asking for special treatment, we are simply asking for equal treatment. We deserve to travel without fear of discrimination, humiliation, or being forced to pay for an extra seat.”

“The impact of weight-based discrimination can be severe and long-lasting, affecting not only the physical but also the mental health of individuals. It’s time to put an end to this harmful practice,” Chaney said. “By signing the petition, we can send a powerful message to the airline industry that we demand change and we will not tolerate discrimination against any group of people. Let’s work together to create a more just and equitable world for all.”

Among the list of demands in the petition are: “Provide accessible additional seats: All plus-size passengers should be provided with an extra free seat, or even two or three seats depending on their size, to accommodate their needs and ensure their comfort during the flight,” as well as reimbursements in the form of a “refund for plus-size passengers who purchase additional seats independently.”

“Airlines must provide additional airport assistance to plus-size travelers if necessary, including wheelchair assistance and priority boarding. Airlines should also create accommodations for larger passengers, such as larger bathrooms, seat belt extenders, and alternative seating arrangements,” the Change.org petition reads.

In addition, there must be federally enforced training on the special handling of plus-size people, “Airlines and government agencies that regulate the airline industry must train all employees on how to accommodate plus-size travelers, including handling sensitive situations and providing appropriate customer service.”

The petition also calls for new guidelines for government gropers at TSA checkpoints: “To provide a safe and comfortable experience for all travelers, the TSA should implement clear guidelines for screening plus size travelers, train agents on how to respectfully interact with plus-size travelers, offer sensitivity training, and provide accessible screening equipment. It’s time for the TSA to recognize the needs of plus-size travelers and take action to ensure they are treated with respect and dignity.”

Chaney previously offered up tips for the experience of “flying when you’re fat” in a video posted to YouTube.

(Video: YouTube)

“By implementing these requirements, airlines will create a more inclusive and welcoming environment for all passengers, regardless of their size. It’s time for the airline industry to take a stand and commit to creating a more inclusive and accommodating environment for all passengers. Join us in demanding that the FAA take action to protect plus-size travelers,” the petition concludes.

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