Travel blogger and body-positive advocate Jae’lynn Chaney has even started a petition — which already has over 5000 signatures — urging the aviation industry to "protect" plus-size travellers and to stop discriminating against them because of their size.
The woman, believed to be in her 20s, says she knows "first-hand how uncomfortable and unsafe it can be to squeeze into a tiny airplane seat". "That's why I believe that every plus size traveller should have access to a free second or even third seat on an aeroplane if needed," she wrote in a video on TikTok last week.
Plus-size passengers are being 'mistreated' by airlines
She claims her demands aren't about "asking for special treatment or luxury accommodations" but she feels all plus-size travellers should "have enough space to travel comfortably and safely, without fear of being discriminated against because of their size".
Claiming she's not alone in her thoughts, Ms Chaney said plane seats are often "too small" even for the average person, let alone someone her size. On a recent flight, she claimed she was forced into a single seat and said it had "immovable armrests" which "caused [her] pain and bruises".
"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 wrote on the Change.org petition. "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."
Social media hits back at traveller
Ms Chaney has since shared multiple videos on the topic across her social media platforms, and while there are some who do agree, many think her request is unreasonable.
"I think is fair to have the option to have an available seat next to you but is also fair that you have to pay for that seat," one wrote on TikTok. "I'm 6'10, I get cramped but I don't deserve anything, I'm not better than anyone. Pay for what you need or make a change," another said.
Many claimed what she's asking for is special treatment, despite her thinking otherwise. Some said it's unfair for her to ask for anything more than other travellers.
"You are asking for special treatment. If you’d like more room, book an additional seat," one said. "If I pay for a seat and half of it is taken up by someone else I would spend the entire fight wondering why they weren’t made to buy two," said another.
Another pointed out that by offering plus-sized travellers an additional seat for free, airlines would likely increase the prices of airline seats meaning other travellers will be forced to fork out more.
But many claim what Ms Chaney's asking for is needed and have thanked her for speaking up.
"I am signing this petition because airlines seats are too small for normal size people let alone people who are obese and/or have a disability. It's not safe squeezing people in seats. It's also not fair," one wrote after signing the petition.
"Seating space is ridiculously small for both large and tall people. Airlines need to make seats larger for everyone's comfort especially on long flights," another said.
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