Living ~400lbs

… and believe me I am still alive

Airflight Update

As it happens, I could get the armrest down on a standard coach seat.  There was definitely hip compression going on, it wouldn’t be comfortable long-term…but it was down.


The man of the house has broad shoulders.  I mean, I have broad shoulders, and his are broader, and the two of us sitting together in 2 standard coach seats?  Did Not Fit. To our minds, the (empty) second seat was worth it.

I also had an interesting conversation with two of the flight attendants on Saturday when I asked if there were unbooked seats on the flight.   One was quite versed in Alaska’s “second seat” policy and recommended I check with customer service as soon as possible about my refund.   The other, a gray-haired gentleman who’d been joking throughout the flight, seemed appalled.   He pointed out that there’s no universal way to know who will fit in the seats before boarding, and that even if the armrest does go down, things like shoulder width can be just as troublesome.   The other flight attendant was nodding in agreement, which felt nice.

He also said that he hoped that no one had made me feel bad or uncomfortable about my size while booking my tickets.  I told him no, quite truthfully, and that getting a second seat on my own let me feel in control.   He also offered a complimentary cocktail, which I would’ve taken him up on if I hadn’t had ibuprofen.  :)


17 responses to “Airflight Update”

  1. Sometimes just having people not act like jackasses is a wonderful thing.

  2. This gives me hope for my future travels!

  3. I love it when an airline attendant is friendly. They always seem to be in a “mood”. Geez.

  4. That’s great, I’m glad the flight attendants were respectful to you.

  5. They sound really nice. It would mean a lot to them if you sent a quick note to the airline in praise. Flight attendants get more than their share of complaints, and I bet they’d love to hear someone complimenting them.

    I’m also really glad the seat purchase felt empowering to you. It reminds me that our own attitudes can make a world of difference.

  6. I have a hard time believing this. I was told by Shapely Prose that even thin people barely fit into the seats and that the “average” person would not fit.

  7. The last time I flew Alaska, there was a woman who’d booked two seats and they didn’t make her pay for the second one because the flight wasn’t full anyway. They were entirely friendly to her and didn’t make a big deal out of it. I didn’t book myself a second seat (it’s not comfy to put those armrests down but I can do it, and I can’t afford two seats!) but no one blinked an eye when I asked for an extender.

    Overall I’ve found Alaska’s customer service to be fantastic and am glad that it went well for you! Definitely send a note :)

  8. @Tara

    Did you even read the post? I’ll quote it for you dear:

    “As it happens, I could get the armrest down on a standard coach seat. There was definitely hip compression going on, it wouldn’t be comfortable long-term…but it was down.”

    She did NOT say she fit in the seat just fine and dandy. If you are going to take a dig at Shapely Prose, why don’t you start your own blog disparaging the evil that you percieve it to be, instead of calling someone a liar ON THEIR OWN BLOG!?!

    1. Well, to be fair, I had originally said it was “tight”. Tara made me reconsider and make it a bit clearer that there was compression happening…

      Still, Sweet Machine and I have very different bodies. A lot of my bulk is in my belly, aka, in FRONT of me, not in the seat. I definitely used the tray table next to me ;)

  9. Regina T: Tara is a known troll, I believe. At least, if this is that Tara.

    1. Her words certainly SEEMED troll like…..and I think I’ve seen her name elsewhere sputtering the same type of snark. Totally unnecessary here though. I mean..what’s the point??

  10. I’m thrilled that you had a good experience. It is great when people are decent about such things. Obviously, it sucks for people who can’t afford the second seat and it would be great if airlines made seats that fit a wider range of people, but while I’m holding my breath for that, I’ll second noceleryplease: “Sometimes just having people not act like jackasses is a wonderful thing.” Word.

    @Lu, I agree that a lot of flight attendants do seem to be in a “mood” but I’ve recently become friends with a woman who is one and I can tell you that if I had to live her schedule I’d be a miserable bitch 24/7. One day she’s up at 3AM to get to work, flies all day and then spends 8 hours in a Ramada somewhere and works the next day until midnight. I swear there are days I think the schedulers are conducting some sick experiment in ways to screw with the human circadian rhythm. I still don’t like dealing with testy flight attendants, but knowing her has made me much more sympathetic.

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  14. Kristen Rodriguez Avatar
    Kristen Rodriguez

    Im very close to 400 lbs and when on flights I also use a seat belt extender, and for long flights I usually get an isle seat. I have long legs and I can extend me legs a bit farther and also I wouldn’t be too uncomfortable with arm room, but the only thing is if the stewardess or someone going to the bathroom walks by then they usually bump into me. I do fit in the seats but my legs are pressed against the arm rests.

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About Me

Former software tester, now retired heart patient having fun and working on building endurance and strength. See also About page.

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