Bad Advice: Plus-Size Passenger Tells How to Get Free Seats

by Anthony Losanno

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Lately, there have been several plus-size passengers making news. One needed two seats and caused a woman returning home from Montego Bay to be stranded. Another passenger of size scolded a teenager for fat shaming when she switched seats. A third faulted United Airlines because she couldn’t squeeze down the aisle. And, another wants taxpayers to buy her a second seat. Now, a new “influencer” has popped up with some bad travel advice.


A few other things to bear in mind are: ✨ The sooner you board and ask, the better. FAs work on a first come first serve basis and if you’re last to board, all the free empty seats might be allocated. ✨ Don’t ask the first FA you see. Get to the ‘section’ your seat is in and ask the person who is then standing closest to you. If you’re at the back of the plane, it’s unlikely someone at the front will be able to help you. ✨ Don’t just move. It’s always better to ask so that FAs are aware you want more space. They also may tell you to wait until after takeoff to move and will save the space for you. ✨ I also ask at check-in as often, they can change your ticket to be in an empty row. A lot of the time, however, I’m told it’s a full flight even if it’s not. If you get this answer, don’t be disheartened – people don’t show up or miss their flight, leaving extra seats. #plussizetraveltoo #plussizetraveltips #travellingwhilefat #fattravel #plussize #flyingwhilefat #plussizequeen #flightghack #travelhack #fatandhappy #plussizetraveller

♬ original sound – kirstyleanne•plus size travel

Kirsty Leanne is a UK-based social media influencer with more than 115K followers on TikTok. She often shares tips for plus-size friendly travel and started a travel service for plus-sized women, called Plus Size Travel Too. One of her latest videos has her detailing some bad advice on getting a free seat on almost every flight she takes.

One of the most daunting things about flying as a plus-size person is how much space you’re going to have. And with the airlines making it so difficult to book a second seat, this tip has definitely saved me so many hours of uncomfortable flights. It’s always better to ask so that FAs [flight attendants] are aware you want more space. They also may tell you to wait until after takeoff to move and will save the space for you.”

Leanne claims that she asks flight attendants if there are any places with two seats open. She never mentions paying for two seats and honestly, is giving out advice that will likely not work. Planes are full. There are not magical rows with empty seats. It’s a matter of poor planning and trying to scam the system and get something for nothing.

Extra Seat

We’re taking a short hop on Ryanair in a few weeks. Neither of us are plus size, but I bought an extra seat in the bulkhead so we’d be more comfortable. It was simple to do. This option easily pops up on most airlines. The example above is on JetBlue. Leanne saying that it’s difficult is just laziness. I disagree with her when she says agents will not know what you are asking for if you want to buy an additional seat.

Anthony’s Take: These “influencers” need to just stop. If you can’t reasonably fit in a seat, then you need to purchase two or buy up into a premium cabin with more space. Inconveniencing others and making staff scramble to find you extra seats is just not right.

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Aaron June 18, 2023 - 8:38 am

The medical term is OBESE. Time to stop promoting poor life choices that will likely have a significant impact in a shorter lifespan. Not our responsibility to subsidize them being uncomfortable because they have no self discipline.

RP June 18, 2023 - 6:46 pm

I am sick of people wanting something because they feel entitled
Lose weight or buy 2 seats, I fly every week for work and I know what it’s like with someone oozing into the seat I paid for

C June 19, 2023 - 8:54 am

thank you thank you thank you!
The sense of entitlement of these fat pigs is out of control !

Sherri June 19, 2023 - 8:18 am

First of all the it is time to Stop the insulting attitude towards obese individuals. No other group of folks is more degraded and humiliated. Perfect example is saying they have no self discipline..that is a myth. Some folks are genetically predispositioned to be larger, others may have medical conditions, to include psychological conditions. You don’t know what someone else’s situation is. If accommodations are made (which I do not know if they are) for those with disabilities than accommodations should be made for them. If accommodations are NOT made for those with disabilities then pay for the extra seat. It’s about equality.

Dilbert June 19, 2023 - 10:48 am

About 40 percent of people are obese. Are you saying that almost all of those people are obese because of a medical condition? Only a small percentage of obese people are 9bese because of a medical condition. The vast majority are obese because they refuse to stop eating so much and also won’t, not can’t, but won’t exercise. If a person won’t exercise and won’t stop eating, why should others accommodate them on an airplane? Just wondering because when I was body building, because of my muscle mass I was as wide as many overweight people. I made it a point to ensure that I wasn’t encroaching on other people’s space. Why shouldn’t someone that’s overweight by choice not do the same?

Jess June 19, 2023 - 10:53 am

As a physician, I’d like you to justify your comments. What portion of obese individuals have genetic conditions? Can you even name them? Or even one? I doubt it so let me help. Less than 5%. Being adipose latent books down to one thing, more caloric intake that output. It’s not a generic disease that causes a person to put the food in their bodies. Do I like running at 5am, no… Your rights end where my seat begins. I’d be willing to bet you don’t live sweaty people crowding you on a plane.

Chris@Oak June 18, 2023 - 2:26 pm Reply
Tom June 19, 2023 - 6:40 am

How bad did we eff up these kids of today by giving them everything from participation trophies to being over protective parents who wanted to be buddies with their kids? They actually believe they should get everything they want! Lose some weight and think of the passenger that has to sit next to your far a**. Now go cry and get on social media and cry some more!

Johnsmith June 18, 2023 - 10:18 pm

Perhaps whales need to learn how to learn how to free UP seats. “My weight doesn’t affect you!” Yes it does, whales!

boxo June 19, 2023 - 1:59 am

This isn’t bad advice at all and I’m not even chubby.

Bryan Poe June 19, 2023 - 5:22 am

The thing that isn’t getting mentioned is that airplines make a precise calculation for fuel needed for a flight, and if you are very overweight, it throws that off. An aircraft running out of fuel has much more dire consequences than your car running dry. Just saying.

Adam Kennedy June 19, 2023 - 7:07 am

Brian Poe-
You are an idiot. That’s not how flight/fuel planning works, at all.

Dilbert June 19, 2023 - 10:56 am

Actually, that is how it works. That’s why you have to weigh all of your checked luggage and why they’re weighing people now. They’re trying to calculate a new average weight because it’s went up so much. The average weight of each passenger that they use to calculate fuel is 170lbs and their carry-on luggage is 15lbs. The airlines have realized that the average weight they should be using is well over 200lbs and the carry-on weight is 20-25lbs. Fuel consumption is a big deal on short flights and even many cross country flights. It is a big deal for international flights.

Marie Buckley June 19, 2023 - 6:48 am

If you take up more space than one seat allows buy another seat! I am not fat shaming. I am asserting to my right to the full space my seat allows.

Alicia June 19, 2023 - 8:51 am

I myself am very plus size. I don’t agree with a plus size person getting a free seat. If they happen to have an open seat somewhere after everyone board and the person next to them would like to move then fine, but just automatically getting one for free is not right. Pay for it or don’t fly. However I am disgusted by some of the descriptions and words to describe obese people by supposed adults and losing weight is not as easy as just do it.

Dustin June 19, 2023 - 7:29 am

Fat pig

Janis June 19, 2023 - 8:08 am

Honestly the airlines have to account for weight and mass. You are paying for a certain amount of SPACE!!!! If you use more than you pay for…. Buy what you need!!!! Or stay in your rented space.

Diane Lebovitz June 19, 2023 - 9:33 am

This is all the airlines fault for reducing airplane seats so small.
Stop blaming individuals. Go after airlines for being piggish about profits instead of individuals.

Tina H June 19, 2023 - 9:42 am

I have always struggled with weight; It’s not about being a fat pig or eating too much. If only… Let’s just get that straight. However, it is my firm belief that if you don’t fit in a seat, you should either be denied boarding or forced to pay for 2 seats. Not sure why that is such a difficult concept for the airlines. People are fat, they know they’re fat and they need to acknowledge it. I once traveled with a coworker who was literally squeezed into the aisle because an extremely obese brother & sister act took the window and middle seat. And she had literally nowhere else to go. I understand why people are upset, But it is the responsibility of the airlines to mitigate these situations.

Dilbert June 19, 2023 - 11:06 am

Why should the airline be responsible for someone being too fat to fit in one seat? Being fat is the responsibility of the fat person. Whether it’s because of eating too much, not exercising enough, or a medical condition. If they need two seats, they should pay for two seats. They knew they were fat when they reserved their seat so it should come as mo surprise that they need two seats. Especially if they’ve flown before and they needed two seats the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd time they flew. Also, fat is an adjective just like skinny is an adjective.


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