Unless you're fortunate enough to nab a first class seat, flying can be pretty uncomfortable, with airlines' ever-shrinking, cramped seats. But if you are a plus-sized person, that discomfort can be even more severe — especially if your fellow passengers aren't so understanding.
In a post on Chatelaine, writer Lora Grady got real about the time she had to call out a fellow passenger for body-shaming her during a flight as she sat next to him.
Grady wrote that she was recently traveling to Mexico, and was seated next to a young couple in priority seating, where there's a little extra room.
"When we sat down, the dude and I both went for the armrest and, almost immediately, he began complaining that he was uncomfortable to his girlfriend," she wrote. "He then asked her to switch seats, so she would be in the middle and he could lean against the window, and I heard him murmur, 'Oh, she’s definitely comfortable.'"
"Instantly, my skin got hot and prickly," she recalled. "Was he talking about me? My heart started racing and I wanted to cry and yell all at once — a reaction I’ve had to fat shaming before. I managed to compose myself and stay calm, but 15 minutes later, I decided to say something: 'Excuse me, were you talking about me before?'"
Both the man and his girlfriend denied that the comment had anything to do with her, instead claiming that the man just really didn't want to be in the middle seat.
"Despite their protests, I explained that I’m not able to help how much space my arm takes up," she wrote. "I’ve had both hips replaced, so the extra space is more comfortable, but I often find people who pay for the extra legroom feel entitled to sprawl out like starfish, and get more huffy when they see a size 20 woman in the seat next to them. These reactions also have to do with discomfort when it comes to physical contact between strangers (“OH GOD, WHY IS HER ARM AGAINST MINE, THIS IS SO AWKWARD”), and trust me, I hear you. This isn’t an ideal position for me, either."
Traveling can test our patience in unique ways — but as Grady's post proves, it can be needlessly humiliating if the plane doesn't accommodate your body. So the next time you want to get angry at someone who you think is taking up your space, remember that it isn't their fault that planes seem to keep getting smaller, and they have a right to space just as much as you do.
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