A 19-year-old woman was on a flight from Las Vegas to New York when she encountered an uncomfortable seating situation and had to make a decision.
An Uncomfortable Seating Arrangement
Her assigned seat was in the middle, and both her neighbours were plus-sized individuals. She also noted that the small plane seats made it challenging for all three passengers to fit comfortably.
Seeking A Solution
Feeling uncomfortable, about an hour and a half into the flight, the young woman approached a flight attendant privately to politely explain her situation. She asked if there were any available seats elsewhere.
The flight attendant managed to find her a different seat a few rows behind her original one, which the young woman accepted. She felt that it was a universally positive decision, as all three travellers would now have more room.
Whilst moving to the new seat was somewhat awkward, the rest of the flight proceeded without issues. However, after disembarking, the woman she had been seated next to earlier was waiting to confront her.
Confrontation With Former Seatmate
The former seatmate expressed her feelings of embarrassment and frustration. She said that the woman ‘had embarrassed her and the other man, and that travelling while plus-sized is hard enough without “people treating fatness like a contagious disease”’.
The woman explained: “She also said that I made it a public demonstration to everyone that plus-sized passengers are an “inconvenience” and opened the door to fatphobia on flights. I really didn’t mean for it to come across that way, but I can understand how it did”.
Reflecting On The Decision
The young woman wondered whether she should have endured the discomfort and not requested a seat change. She acknowledged that while she was uncomfortable, it wasn’t to the point of suffocation, and she hadn’t intended to cause distress to her fellow passengers.
Unsure whether she made the right decision, the woman asked for opinions on the internet. Many respondents took her side, with one defending her with the following argument: “You did not make a “public demonstration” nor contribute to fatphobia in any way. You weren’t comfortable and you discretely asked for another seat”.
Take Anger Out On Airline
Further commenters defended the woman, stating that the plus-size lady should instead take her complaints to the airline. One wrote: “Her anger is misdirected. She can go ahead and be mad at the airlines for not accommodating people of her size, but it’s a normal human response not to want to be touching someone you don’t know and to take steps to make that not happen.”
A Legitimate Excuse
This shifting of blame to the airline was a universally accepted perspective in the comments. One plus-size commenter explained further: “The best answer would have been to say “these seats/airlines are really fatphobic and designed to make us uncomfortable, so I figured if there was a way to give you more space it was the kinder thing to do.”
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