"So, I'm on a plane today. Here's what I did to prepare to fly as a very fat person. (Thread)," begins a series of tweets from a twitter account called simply, Your Fat Friend.
Life for someone who is struggling with weight issues is not easy at the best of times.
Flying as an overweight person is a particularly tough and costly situation, also one that is sadly filled with judgement and malice.
In a series of 21 tweets, Your Fat Friend shares everything she had to do before boarding a flight:
The series of tweets begin with practicalities
I researched airlines for their "customer of size" policies, many of which reserve the right to kick me off the plane, even after boarding.
The rest require purchase of a second seat. If I don't buy one in advance, I'll be charged the day-of price. Today, that's $800 one way.
I'm charged for that second seat regardless of whether one is available. I pay double for the privilege of staying on the plane.
Even if I buy a second seat in advance, the airline may still sell it to another passenger. If they do, I won't be notified or refunded.
I bought a round trip first class ticket for this trip--about $900 more than a coach ticket, but on this flight--still less $ than 2 seats.
I brought my own seatbelt extender, so I wouldn't have to ask for one. Sometimes my extender is confiscated by the TSA. Today it wasn't.— your fat friend (@yrfatfriend) July 17, 2017
I'm not worried about the embarrassment of asking for a seatbelt extender. I know I'm fat.— your fat friend (@yrfatfriend) July 17, 2017
The tweets very quickly illuminate the true tormenting nature of the situation
"I'm worried that hearing me ask for an extender will prompt others to complain. If they do, it starts a domino effect of trouble for me. Passengers complaining to flight attendants will get me reseated, charged double, or escorted off the plane, stranded without a way home.
Over the last 2 yrs, about 50% of passengers in my row complained about me. So, my body is regularly discussed in my presence w/o my input.
Some policies don't include a refund or rebooking policy. So I could be out $1300 & still stranded. That's a risk I take every time I fly.
And no matter what happens, if someone complains, my body will be discussed loudly, with open revulsion, without regard for who hears it.
As a very fat person on a plane, I am treated like luggage--a cumbersome, exasperating inconvenience. Inanimate & unfeeling.— your fat friend (@yrfatfriend) July 17, 2017
The tweets conclude with a sense of resignation, that for this woman and many like her this experience is not uncommon
I bought a first class tickets bc they're a bit wider, but mostly because there are partitions between seats. So complaints are less likely.
Although I bought a first class ticket, and despite being ~60 lbs smaller than I used to be, the tray table doesn't fit around me.
Without a tray table, I can't work for the full six hours. I also won't be able to eat the first class meal that comes with the ticket.
I also won't request anything so the flight attendant doesn't have to reach over me, again prompting my seat mate to complain.
So I'll sit silently, arms crossed, so I don't encroach on my neighbor's space.
Today, I was lucky--I boarded & the flight took off without incident. I hope I'm so lucky on my return flight.
The Twitter user who describes herself as "fragile but tough" was quickly hit with a string of questions from people asking why she chose to fly at all if it was all such an emotional and financial struggle.
Responding to these attacks, Your Fat Friend explained that after a bad experience six years ago, she almost never flew again.
"But I fly now because I love my family, who live about a thousand miles away. I don't know what my life would be without my niece & nephew."
"I fly because my life is my own, and others' preconceptions of me & my body won't control it. But they can make it much, much harder."
"There are clear solutions. Airlines: change your policies. Everyone else: treat fat people like people. None of it is complicated."
This post was written by Holly Royce. For more, check out our sister site Now to Love.