popular type of seat belt extender

Types of Seat Belt Extenders

There are several types of seat belt extenders, both for vehicles and airplanes. Do you know if you need one? And, if so, what type or size you need?

Depending on your body shape, you may need a seat belt extender for vehicle or airline travel. Standard length seat belts are designed for the traveler who weighs up to about 215 pounds. If you weigh more than 215 pounds or if you carry your weight around your hips and stomach, you are probably a good candidate for a seat belt extender.

Types of Seat Belt Extenders

Choose your seat belt extender based on the type of transportation that you plan to use most often – vehicles vs. airplanes.

Vehicle Seat Belt Extenders

There are two types of extenders designed for vehicles:

  • Extended length of webbing straps – Straps of seat belt webbing with a clasp on each end that you attach to the existing seat belt.
  • Stick-like – An 8-10″ stick-like device that you click into the stationary end of your car’s seat belt bracket.

Your car or truck dealer is an excellent source for vehicle seat belt extenders. They can make sure that the extender you select is designed to fit in your particular car. Some dealers will provide an extender for the driver at no cost. Check with your dealer for the cost and availability of an extender for your car.

Car part dealers and online retailers such as Amazon also offer car seat belt extenders.

Airplane Seat Belt Extenders

Seat belt extenders for airplanes are a length of seat belt webbing with a clasp on each end. You attach the seat belt extender to one side of the existing seat belt. A flight attendant uses a seat belt extender to show passengers how to buckle your seat belt and then provides the extender to passengers.

There are three basic styles of airplane seat belt extenders:

  • Style A – This style has a square metal tongue and fits most of the jets flying domestically and internationally as well as many of the smaller jets and prop planes. This style is used on American, United, US Air, TWA, Northwest, Delta, Continental, Jet Blue, Alaska, British Airways and Air Canada. Consider this style if you want to purchase only one style of extender for your airline travel.
  • Style B – This style also has a square metal tongue but it is uniquely designed to fit most of the smaller and prop planes.
  • Southwest, Qantas and Lufthansa Airlines – These airlines have a unique style of seat belt clasp. Style A or B extenders will not work with the seat belts on the planes of these three airlines. You will need to request a seat belt extender from the flight attendant.

An airline seat belt extender is typically 24-25″ in length. You can adjust the extender to lengthen a few inches or up to the full length of the extender.

There are many online sources for seat belt extenders including Amazon. When selecting your retailer, make sure that the seat belt meets or exceeds federal standards and, in the case of airplane extenders, that they are FAA approved.

aisle inside airplane

5 Steps to Getting a Comfortable Airline Seat

Small seats, limited leg room and planes packed to capacity all can keep you from getting a comfortable airline seat, particularly if you are a plus size passenger.

Planning Leads to a Comfortable Airline Seat

Traveling on an airplane does not have to be uncomfortable. With a little planning, you can meet the challenges of airline travel by following a few time-tested tips:

  1. Select a size-friendly airline – Some airlines are more sensitive to the plus size traveler. Others are just plain rude. GrandStyle has a helpful recap of which airlines treat big people well.
  2. Schedule flights during non-busy times – Weekday evening and overnight flights usually have fewer passengers than an early morning or late afternoon flight. Less passengers increases your chance of having an empty seat next to you — which will certainly give you a more comfortable flight.
  3. Research size-friendly seat accommodations before booking the flight – Each style of airplane has a different seat layout — seat 10B could be an aisle seat on some airlines and a middle seat on other airlines. The airline can tell you the type of aircraft used on a specific flight and you can research the airplane’s layout on the airline’s website or on a seat research site such as SeatGuru or check out the legroom info provided by CheapFlights.com
  4. Eat and use the restroom before boarding – Eating, drinking and using the restroom during a flight can be an uncomfortable situation for a plus size body. The tray table may not lay down completely flat, making it difficult to use with food and drinks. Airplane restrooms are very small and may be too small for some passengers to use.
  5. Board early – Take advantage of the opportunity for early boarding. Having a little extra time can come in handy getting down the jet way, settling into your seat or getting your seat belt extender ready-to-use.

For More Help and Ideas on Plus Size Airline Travel

Plus Size Holiday Airline Travel: 4 Hacks for Success

Plus size holiday airline travel can become unbearable. In addition to the small seats on the airplane, the holidays add the stress of crowded airports and planes.

Tips for Plus Size Holiday Airline Travel

To maximize your comfort and minimize your stress, consider these four travel hacks:

1. Travel when the plane is least crowded.

Even during the holidays, planes are less crowded over night (i.e. from 9 PM to 6 AM). Flying on the holiday itself will also be significantly less crowded than flying a few days before or after the holiday. For example, two uncrowded flight dates are Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

2. Fly on a size-friendly airline.

Unfortunately, not all airlines are size-friendly. Some have procedures that automatically charge a large passenger for two seats or have been known to ask the passenger to disembark if they won’t pay for the additional seat. Others have histories of flight attendants being openly rude to larger passengers after being asked for a seat belt extender.

In addition to price and flight schedules, be sure to consider whether the airline is size-friendly.

3. Reserve the best seat on the plane.

Not all airline seats are the same. Different types of planes have different seating configurations (such as the amount of leg room) and they have different widths of seats.

Before you make your reservation, check out the type of airplane which is assigned to the plane trip you are considering. It is usually shown on the airline’s website along with arrival and departure times of a particular flight. Then, check the seat dimensions of that particular type of airplane on SeatGuru. Seat dimensions in coach can range from 17 to 20 inches.

Once you pick your flight, SeatGuru is also an excellent way to decide which seat numbers will be the most comfortable. Their airplane seat maps show which rows are 2-across versus which are 3-across and which have more legroom.

4. Bring your own seat belt extender.

The flight attendants use seat belt extenders to demonstrate how to latch and unlatch your seat belt. After the demonstration, they provide the extenders to passengers who need a little more length to latch their seat belt. All passengers must be latched in with a seat belt before the plane takes off. If there are not enough seat belt extenders, one or more large-size passengers run the risk of being asked off the plane.

Consider purchasing your own seat belt extender. Many seat belt extenders can also be used in your automobile.

Don’t let your size keep you from having an enjoyable flight. A little pre-trip planning can result in more comfortable, lower stress plus size holiday airline travel.