A Fat Girl’s Travels – Seatbelt Extender

By Kyla Palin

Booking a flight to a fun destination is probably the best feeling in the world. And then it’s the most anxious for many of us. Being a person of size, travel, especially air travel can be the most stressful part of vacationing. And though something like 60% of Canadians are considered overweight or obese, airlines continue to cut costs by making seats smaller, and seatbelts shorter.

Over the years I have flown a lot. I’ve been overseas, I’ve flown major airlines and I’ve flown budget airlines.

To be honest I prefer the budget airlines because there’s no pretense with them. You know you’re going to pay for everything but the air you breathe on their flight and be treated like dirt while you do. At least it’s honest, and it’s equal opportunity. But I digress.


I recently flew to Las Vegas. As I packed, I checked off my survival tricks….suitcase checked in CHECK…small carry-on, CHECK…slip on shoes and layers, CHECK. Aisle seat, CHECK…snacks, CHECK….loins girded, CHECK.

And lastly, and this is the part that is new within the last few years. I always ask for a seatbelt extender. There are very rare occasions where the seatbelt is long enough, but my weight is held primarily in my lower half so that’s usually not the case. I remember being so humiliated the first time this happened. In fact I didn’t even know an extender was a thing! It took a few flights before I got over it. The stewards are typically very generous and discrete though if I flew more often I would look into just purchasing a seatbelt extender to have on hand. To be honest I’m actually glad that my particular issue is so easily solved. I feel for the extra tall among us who can’t simply ask for more leg room.

Possibly the hardest part about traveling is looks, stares, shaming, or other abuse from other travelers. I personally have never experienced this. Maybe my skin is thicker or I’m just that clueless. Ignorance is bliss! But I’ve heard so many horror stories that it concerns me. It’s a big part of why I’m part of the body acceptance movement. Shaming someone because of how they LOOK is NOT OK, people.

So I say to you fellow travelers. We are all uncomfortable. We are all on our way somewhere trying to get through this trial, and we’re stuck together in a metal bird, and paying a pretty penny to be treated this way. Large people, crying babies, people with a cough, and mouth breathers are not trying to make your day more miserable, we’re just trying to get where we’re going. We all have struggles. We are all worthy of compassion. And trust me, the airline is trying to screw us all equally.

My big beautiful people, please keep traveling. See the world. The flight is worth it. The cost is worth it. Ignore the shamers, knowing you are following your heart. Never let your size hold you back from exploring.   I’ll say it again. It is worth it.

Leave a Reply