I fly a lot and it has been made clear to me by people’s ridiculous complaint letters that get published on the internet, and even a few fellow passengers, that some not-fat people are irritated that fat people want to access the same modes of transportation that they do, and that it’s much more convenient for them to blame fat people for existing than to blame plane manufacturers for ignoring the fact that fat people exist when they make the planes, and most airlines for ignoring the fact that fat people exist when they make their policies. I have more to say about this in a minute, but first I’d like to suggest that, even if you are engaging in fat bigotry while you fly, here are 10 things that are way more annoying than flying fat people. All of these are things that I’ve personally witnessed:
- Gets off the plane, walks up the jetway, walks through the door into the airport and stops dead. Dude, are you serious? This activates my throat punch reflex. Remember all those people who were behind you on the plane? They’re still behind you on the jetway – move into the airport, find a seat or place out of the way and get your bearings. If the person stops in the doorway and checks their cell phone I become homicidal.
- Person using a wheelchair is waiting for the one accessible stall in the bathroom. There are about 10 open stalls that are not wheelchair accessible. Woman comes out of accessible stall, looks at woman in wheelchair and says “I’m not disabled, but it’s just so much easier to use that restroom when I have all this stuff and shrugs.” No apology. Woman in the wheelchair says “Well, as long as you’re comfortable I guess I’ll just hold it.”
- Roller bag, laptop bag, big ass bag from Disneyworld, bag from the bookstore in the airport, giant coat. First she ignores the rule for how many things she can carry on. Then she ignores the flight attendants imploring people to put only one bag in the overhead bins. When they make the announcement again she looks at me, smiles and says “Do you think that’s for me?” I don’t smile and say “yes.” She says, “If they ask me to move it I will.” Moments later the flight attendants announce that they’ll be checking bags because there’s no more room in the overhead compartments. She looks at me and cheerfully says “Sounds like they’ve got it taken care of!” I say “Sounds like you’re incredibly selfish.” We didn’t talk after that.
- Guy stops dead in the middle of the main walkway at a large, busy airport. Puts his suitcase down, opens it up and proceeds to – at a pace that could be described as leisurely, meandering, some might even say moseying – take off his jacket fold it up and lovingly put it away, rearranging his suitcase to make sure that the space for the jacket is optimal. Meanwhile people are veering around him like a fender bender on the freeway at rush hour, almost tripping over him and his sprawling stuff.
- Woman across the aisle from me spends the entire flight ignoring every signal from her seatmate (checking her phone, reading Skymall, answering with a noncommittal and progressively more irritated Mmm Hmmm etc.) trying to convince her that she needs to do the [Massive National Self-Improvement] Forum. I’ve also seen this scenario for multi-level marketing business opportunities. Way to put the “captive” in “captive audience.”
- Mistreating gate agents – everything from condescension to screaming at them. First of all, it’s not cool – they don’t control the weather in Chicago so how about you ratchet it down a notch. Also, even if you don’t have it in you to be a decent human being, let’s examine the situation – you need a new flight, they have a computer that can get you on a new flight, how about trying to act like you have some home training instead of irritating the crap out of this person right before the rest of us have to work with her.
- Threatening loudly to report the flight attendants for making the preflight safety announcement entertaining and funny because “the safety announcements are a serious thing.” You, sir, are a dick. If you’re that concerned read the safety card provided in the seatback pocket in front of you and STFU. (I’ve been told by another Southwest Airlines passenger that if someone complains about this they actually reward the flight attendant – I hope that’s true.)
- “I know I should have brought diapers but I was in a hurry this morning and so I was just hoping she would make it through the [3 hour] flight. Do you have anything I can use? And some wipes too – it’s a poopy one!” Flight attendant acquires a diaper and some wipes from another passenger with a baby. She starts changing her baby on the tray that comes down from the seat in front of her. Flight attendant mentions that there is a changing table in the restroom “That’s ok, I’m cool here!” Flight attendant asks if she wants some paper towels to put down “No thanks, I think the tray will be more comfortable on her skin.” Finishes, doesn’t even wipe the tray with a baby wipe, just returns it to its original position and hits the call button and tries to hand the flight attendant a heaping handful of poo-covered refuse.
- Grabs the flight attendants ass. May he rot in hell.
- Fatphobes on a plane. Yes, I see the exaggerated eyeroll, yes I hear you make comments to your friend. Aren’ t you clever. Three cheers for appearance-based bigots. Or not.
You may note that I’ve left off things like crying babies, tantruming toddlers, etc. That’s because I don’t think that people existing in an airport or on a plane should be treated as an annoyance. The items above are all behaviors that people choose to engage in, not people simply existing in a space. If you think that you somehow deserve a seat and seatbelt that accommodate you while you fly but you think that other people don’t deserve the same thing and/or should have to pay twice as much as you for the same service, then congrats on being a magnificent douche. If you blame fat people for existing rather than airlines for not accommodating them, then I think that you are far more annoying than any two year old freaking out because their parent brought ducky and not goosegoose in the carry-on bag. If you want to know if a fat person’s health issues are their fault to determine if they deserve room for an oxygen or a preboard with their mobility aid, then allow me to suggest that you never leave your house or interact with other people ever again because you are just a horrible human being.
As for me, I’ll keep pushing for airline customers to get the same experience regardless of their appearance, size, or dis/ability.
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