Category Archives: Plus Size Travel

Fun and comfortable plus size travel for big & tall men and larger-size women requires information and planning. You need to know what option will be the more comfortable.

Whether you are planning a car trip, an airline trip, a luxury vacation or a trip to a local theme park, GrandStyle provides tips and info to tell you what features to look for and what decisions to make to give you a comfortable trip.

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.

Airline Interior

How to Find the Best Airline Seats for Overweight Passengers

Airplane travel in your future? For the most comfortable flight, do your research now and follow these five tips on how to find the best airline seats for overweight passengers.

  1. Fly to popular, bigger airports. Bigger airports tend to have larger planes (and more of them going to your destination) which will usually result in more comfortable seats to choose.
  2. Fly during less popular hours. The plane is less likely to be crowded at midnight than it would be a 2 P.M. And, “off hour flight times” usually are not so tightly booked. So, you have more seat selection and a greater chance to have an empty seat next to you. These will make your flight more comfortable.
  3. Check out the size of the seats and leg room (seat pitch) on the airplane you are considering. Before you book your seat, check out the seat’s width and seat pitch (the space between rows) on Seat Guru. Tip: Some airlines have special areas in coach with more seat pitch. You may pay a little more for your seat; but, you will be a lot more comfortable than being crammed in a low pitch seat zone.
  4. Select your seat when you book your flight. If your booking agent can’t give you a seat selection, call the airline immediately after making your reservation and reserve your specific seat.
  5. Sit on the aisle. The seat is not any wider than a window seat but you will have more shoulder room.

One more thought: Be sure to check back the day before departure to make sure that the airline has not changed the type of airplane to be used or switched your seat selection.

Looking for more tips on finding the best airline seats for overweight passengers? Check out 13 Tips for a Comfortable Plus Size Airline Flight.

Enjoy your flight!


Airline Interior

13 Tips for a Comfortable Plus Size Airline Flight

Trying to get a comfortable plus size airline flight can be a nightmare for the larger person. Small seats with limited legroom, narrow aisles, the long walk from the check-in area to the gate, holiday crowds, and the frequent insensitivity of passengers and crew can all contribute to an unpleasant flying experience.

But, with careful planning, your flight can be safe and enjoyable. Follow the guidelines listed below in order to maximize your comfort while flying.

Tips to Getting a Comfortable Plus Size Airline Flight

1. Book Carefully

Book your flight carefully, avoiding “rush-hour” air time. Take advantage of “red-eye special” deals, where the plane is less likely to be full. The chance of the seat next to yours remaining empty is 0% if you are flying out of LAX at 0600 on a Monday morning.

2. Sit by an Empty Seat

Tell the airline that you are large and ask that the seat next to yours remain empty if at all possible. The worst the airline can do is say “No;” but, most airlines will at least attempt to accommodate. Editor’s Note: Many of the major airline carriers require passengers to purchase a second seat if they are unable to sit in the seat with the armrests down. Check with the airline when booking your flight. The second seat may be refundable.

3. Get a Seat Belt Extender

Request a seat belt extender when you book your flight, and/or ask for one when you board the plane. Do not wait for the flight attendant’s animated safety speech to discuss your need. Editor’s Note: Many airlines are now requiring customers to only use the seat belt provided by the airline. If you are a frequent airline traveler on an airline that allows you to bring your own seat belt, you can select and purchase your own seat belt extender from Amazon or DestinationXLDestination XL.

4. Shop for Wider Seat Sizes

When you book your flight ask specifically for the seat measurements of the plane you will be on. Explain your need and ask for the largest seat in your section of the plane. Even one inch can make a big difference. Editor’s Note: Check out SeatGuru for seat measurements on airline body types of all major airlines.

5. Request an Aisle or Window Seat

Request a seat assignment for the aisle or window, where you will have a little more room, and make sure that you don’t have a bulkhead seat. While you have more leg-room in bulkhead, the armrests in the bulkhead do not raise, and the tray tables come out of the armrest across your lap. Large size flyers might wish to request an aisle seat in a row where the outside armrests are movable, making it easier to slide into the row.

6. Pre-Board

Even mid-size people have trouble squeezing down the micro-sized center aisle of most planes, and this task is even more difficult the plane is already plump with passengers. For this reason, you should pre-board the plane with the rest of the passengers who need extra time in boarding. The gate agent probably won’t hassle you, but if he/she asks, just say that you’re a large person and need a little extra time.

7. Get the Armrest Up Early

When you get to your seat during pre-boarding, raise the armrest between seats. This may give you the inch or two of extra space you need during flight. The chances are that the passenger who will be seated next to you won’t say anything; if they do, smile pleasantly and say that you’ll both be more comfortable if the armrest is up. Editor’s Note: Many of the major airline carriers require passengers to purchase a second seat if they are unable to sit in the seat with the armrests down. So be prepared to lower the armrest to show how you fit in the seat if requested by the flight crew.

8. Avoid the Restrooms

Use the airport restroom before boarding your plane. Ask when booking your trip if handicapped facilities are available on your particular flight. If not, you may want to change your plans and fly on a plane equipped with an accessible restroom.

9. Get Comfortable with the Tray Table

If you cannot bring down the tray table, have the flight attendant ask the passenger in front of you to put their seat to the full upright position for mealtime. If this doesn’t help, set a pillow on your lap, and your meal tray on the pillow.

10. Agree to Be Bumped

Consider being bumped voluntarily. Not only can this be extremely profitable for frequent flyers, but your chances of being re-assigned to a partially full plane are greatly enhanced. You won’t mind the inconvenience of an odd departure/arrival time if your next trip by air is at a greatly reduced price.

11. Manage Your Second Seat

If you have purchased a second seat for comfort, be sure to let the flight attendant know as you board the plane. This will avoid embarrassment, as an unknowing flight attendant may try to fill your second seat. Editor’s Note: Some major airline carriers require passengers to purchase a second seat if they are unable to sit in the seat with the armrests down. The cost of this seat may be refundable. Be sure to obtain the necessary documents to request your refund.

12. Look for an Exit Row Seat

The exit row seats over the wings of most planes have considerably more leg room than the rest of the seats in economy class. While Federal regulations state that exit row seating may be denied to larger passengers, requesting an exit row seat may be a viable option for larger people who are tall and those with reasonably good health and mobility.

13. Use Gate Transportation

It’s usually a long walk between curbside check-in and the gate, or between gates when you have connecting flights. When making your reservations, make sure to tell the agent if you will need special services, such as the airport tram or an armless wheelchair and attendant.

The most important thing to remember is that you have the right to fly anywhere you want to go. Your needs deserve to be met, but it may be up to you to remind them of this simple fact. If you experience problems despite your precautions, write a letter of complaint to the airline. Remember, you have a right to accessible transportation.

Contributors: Jean Soncrant and Lynn McAffee.
©NAAFA Re-published with permission from NAAFA, the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance. Reformatted for readability and then updated by GrandStyle to reflect current airline procedures.

Be sure to check out the other GrandStyle travel articles for more tips on achieving a comfortable plus size airline flight.