Influencer calls on airlines to provide extra seats for plus-size passengers

Jaelynn Chaney, a plus-sized influencer, says that airlines must provide accessible seats or shell out to provide larger customers with an extra seat, free of charge.

She’s circulating a petition among her 133,000 TikTok and Twitter followers – and it’s being well-received by individuals who say that it is time that passengers stop being harassed and squished into small seats.

“Have you ever felt that it was unfair that plus-size travelers are forced to pay for an extra seat or are humiliated for their size while traveling on airlines? I have, and that’s why it’s time to demand fair treatment for everyone, regardless of their size,” the woman, who is a size 6x, writes on her Twitter.

Chaney relayed a bad experience that she and her fiance recently had on a flight – she specializes in plus-size travel tips and videos – where she says that she was forced into a tiny seat and was left in “pain” and bruised after being “forced to occupy only one seat.”

She wrote: “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.”

Large-size influencer standing in green/yellow dress
Jaelynn, from the US, has set up a petition arguing for airlines to reimburse travellers who have to buy two seats because of their size

plus-sized woman in green dress
Jaelynn Chaney is known as the plus-size travel influencer, giving out tips to larger customers to better their experiences

“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. Unfortunately, plus-size passengers often experience discomfort and discrimination when flying. Studies have been done around the topic of weight discrimination and flying, which concluded that this is a common experience – and will get to be more common.

“The lack of a uniform customer-of-size airline policy is unacceptable and must be addressed.” She has recommendations for airlines that are truly helpful to bigger individuals. Some already offer full or partial refunds to individuals who use more than one seat when traveling.

About 41 per cent of Americans and 25 per cent of all UK adults are considered medically obese – which means they also require certain accommodations that do not currently exist on airplanes, busses, trains, and other public areas that are not equipped. In Canada, obesity can be claimed as a disibility – but Canadian airlines don’t have a standarized set of rules when it comes to disability and extra seat policies.

plus size woman talking in video, screenshot
Chaney says she has been left in “pain” and with “bruises” after being “forced to occupy only one seat”

“Wondering what a customer of size policy is? Here’s a simple explanation! Remember, these policies aren’t just for plus-size travelers. They are for ANYONE who physically needs more space when traveling on a plane. This includes plus size travelers, tall travelers, travelers with disabilities, and many more!” she wrote as the caption on one of her videos where she shares reviews of these rules.

Chaney began circulating the petition months ago, and previous reports have gotten her a slew of hate-filled comments on her social media pages. Fatphobia was the driving factor behind most of those comments, but the influencer had previously stated that these types of individuals only fueled her to continue her advocacy work.

She wrote on the petition, which is circulating on that, “”We are not asking for special treatment or luxury accommodations, we simply want enough space to travel comfortably and safely without fear of being discriminated against because of our size.”

“These passengers should be provided with an extra free seat, or even multiple seats, to accommodate their needs and ensure their comfort and safety, as well as those around them, during the flight. By implementing official customers-of-size policies, airlines can ensure that all passengers have a positive flying experience, regardless of their size or physical needs.”

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