Church Leader Fat-Shames Teen, Who Fights Back Beautifully

fat shaming naturalJenna went to church to sing and celebrate as a worship leader in the contemporary band at her Methodist Church. But then Sister Bonnie-Better-Than-You of the Church of Fatphobia went to work.

Bonnie somehow believed that being a “Church Leader” involved following a 19 year old into the bathroom (where the girl had gone to see if there were any updates on a hospitalized family member,) to wag a fatphobic finger at her and tell her things like “Don’t come back on that stage with those shorts. I’m warning you.”

People are going to want to see the shorts and I’ll leave a picture, secure in the knowledge that we all understand that any argument that contains “she’s not even that fat” is harmful and fatphobic.

Bonnie’s behavior would never, ever be ok, but is even more inappropriate in this situation because, as another church member pointed out, this is a “contemporary service” that is youth-focused and “guests are encouraged to come as they are.”

But this story takes a turn for the better – quick-thinking Jenna turned on her cellphone video to capture the abuse, and gave herself and her body a full-throated defense. It was emotional, and profanity-laced, and absolutely beautiful (if you’re thinking about tone-policing, rethink, and then don’t.) Despite the power and age differential that Bonnie Busy Body was trying to exploit, through tears and sobs, in a situation that should NEVER have happened to her, Jenna defended herself fiercely and fearlessly. The video can be found here, trigger warnings for fatphobia and abuse of a position of power.

For a horrible story that should never have happened, it has the happiest possible ending. The church issued a letter of apology that was crystal clear that Bonnie was wrong and did “great harm,” Jenna said that her pastor promised her that Bonnie “will never be able to be on any sort of committee/any leadership role in our church ever again. (Jenna has asked that people not attack her church, as they are working to fix the problem.)

Remember that no matter what size someone is, and no matter what they are wearing (looking at you, People of Walmart apologists), fat-shaming is never ok, and being fat is always ok.

Was this post helpful? If you appreciate the work that I do, you can support my ability to do more of it with a one-time tip or by becoming a member. (Members get special deals on fat-positive stuff, a monthly e-mail keeping them up to date on the work their membership supports, and the ability to ask me questions that I answer in a members-only monthly Q&A Video!)

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Price: $25.00 ($10 for DancesWithFat members – register on the member page)

Love It! 234 Inspirations And Activities to Help You Love Your Body
This is filled with thoughtful advice from the authors Jeanette DePatie, Ragen Chastain, and Pia Sciavo-Campo as well as dozens of other notable names from the body love movement, the book is lovingly illustrated with diverse drawings from size-positive artist Toni Tails.
Price: $9.99 softcover, $7.99 Kindle, ($6.95 + free shipping for DancesWithFat Members)

Non-Members click here for all the details and to register!

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!  (DancesWithFat Members get an even better deal, make sure to make your purchases from the Members Page!)

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

I’m (still!) training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com or on Instagram.

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

 

 

Fashion Bashing – Just Don’t

I was recently in a Facebook conversation with someone who posted this picture of  Barbie Fierra, just to tear her down:

Barbie Ferreira MTV Music Awards
Source

The person on Facebook started by assuring us that she, herself, was a size 22, then went on at some length about why she did not like the way the dress looked, including the claim that Ms. Fierra “needed shapewear.”

Through the course of the conversation, as she had done with her statement about shapewear, my conversation companion consistently gave her opinions as if they were fact (“she just doesn’t look her best”, “the outfit doesn’t do her justice” etc.) citing her job (or hobby, I’m not certain) as a “stylist” as justification for her claims. I repeatedly said that she is entitled to her opinions (and that if someone wants to pay her for her opinions then that’s great for both of them) but they are just that – opinions, not facts. I got blocked, so here we are.

Let’s start here. This woman chose to wear this outfit. Unless and until I hear that she was forced to wear it and didn’t like it, I support her right to choose what she wants to wear.

Fat women and femmes (and women and femmes in general) get enough criticism for our personal choices, so there’s no good reason to bash each other for what we choose to wear. Not to mention that the mainstream concept of fashion is rooted in thin, white, cis, hetero, classist, able-bodiedness and often ends up being just another method to enforce these oppressions.

And for the record, I don’t buy that whole “I was criticizing the fashion, not the person” thing. If the fashion is on a person, then you are criticizing that person’s choices (yes, even if they were working with a stylist.) Unless they were literally forced to wear the clothing – in which case we have bigger things to criticize than the outfit – then what they are wearing is still about their choice.

Besides which, what precisely is the goal here? Are we hoping the person in the picture will see the commentary and feel bad about themselves? Hoping to give others the message that criticizing women and femmes for their (clothing) choices is completely ok? Trying to make ourselves feel better by putting down someone else down?

It doesn’t really matter because the truth remains, this is a shitty thing to do.

I personally like the outfit because it flies in the face of all the rules that fat women and femmes are supposed to follow in order for clothes to be “flattering”  – use tight undergarments to push our boobs up and in and smush our fat around to get as close as we can to an hourglass shape, smash our belly as flat as we can, don’t let our belly outline show, blah blah. (People can wear whatever they want, but nobody needs to wear shapewear – our bodies are just fine in their natural, non-underwear-manipulated shapes.)

That’s what I personally like about the garment but, again, it absolutely doesn’t matter if I like it or not because SHE likes it, and SHE’s wearing it, and I support that 100%.

If you don’t like this look, one option is to keep it to yourself. Either way, you’ll have to talk about it elsewhere because I’m not here for fashion bashing.

Was this post helpful? If you appreciate the work that I do, you can support my ability to do more of it with a one-time tip or by becoming a member. (Members get special deals on fat-positive stuff, a monthly e-mail keeping them up to date on the work their membership supports, and the ability to ask me questions that I answer in a members-only monthly Q&A Video!)

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Wellness for All Bodies ProgramA simple, step-by-step, super efficient guide to setting and reaching your health goals from a weight-neutral perspective.  This program can be used by individuals, or by groups, including as a workplace wellness program!
Price: $25.00 ($10 for DancesWithFat members – register on the member page)

Love It! 234 Inspirations And Activities to Help You Love Your Body
This is filled with thoughtful advice from the authors Jeanette DePatie, Ragen Chastain, and Pia Sciavo-Campo as well as dozens of other notable names from the body love movement, the book is lovingly illustrated with diverse drawings from size-positive artist Toni Tails.
Price: $9.99 softcover, $7.99 Kindle, ($6.95 + free shipping for DancesWithFat Members)

Non-Members click here for all the details and to register!

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!  (DancesWithFat Members get an even better deal, make sure to make your purchases from the Members Page!)

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

I’m (still!) training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com or on Instagram.

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

 

 

The “Even Though They’re Fat” Fallacy

fat shaming naturalHad this exchange on Twitter :

First let’s get some things clear. It doesn’t matter if using drugs is or isn’t comparable to being fat, this is not okay to say, for the reasons I explained in my tweet. Anything that starts with “even though they” and end with “we treat them with basic human respect” is bullshit – because regardless of what is said in the second part, the first part seeks to deny humanity. No, just no. Give narcan to people who need it, and CPR to people who need it, period.

This is an extreme example of the “even though they’re fat” fallacy. In it, people get to perpetuate fatphobia by being clear that being fat is a most definitely still a bad thing (nobody ever says “Even though they saved all those puppies from the fire, we’re still going to treat the burns.”) before trying to take credit for still treating us with a modicum of respect as if that represents part of their commitment to community service.

This is easily fixable by replacing “Even though” with “fat people exist so….”

Let’s practice!

Instead of:

“Even though they’re fat, we should still give them medical treatment”

Try:

“Fat people exist, so we give them excellent medical care because our stereotypes and bigotry don’t come into play when it comes to our job of giving medical care to humans.”

Instead of

“Even though they are fat, they still need clothes”

try

“Fat people exist, so they should have access to affordable clothes that they like.”

Instead of:

“Even though they’re fat, they shouldn’t be bullied.”

Try:

“Fat people exist, so they should be treated with basic human respect. Nobody should be bullied, WTF is wrong with you?” (The second part is optional based on your situation.)

Sometimes this comes from a place of internalized oppression. In which case it can sound something like:

“I may be fat, but I still deserve to be treated with respect.”

or

“I should be given competent, evidence-based healthcare, even though I’m fat.”

or

“Yes I’m fat, but I should have access to affordable clothes that fit and that I like.”

When we hear ourselves say these things, it’s an indication that we’ve been duped by a culture chock full ‘o fatphobia (which, it turns out, is incredibly lucrative for those perpetuating it.) It’s not surprising that this happens, but we don’t have to continue to be a part of our own oppression.

To fix this, we heed the advice given by President Bartlet to Will – take the equivocation out of it:

I’m fat and I should be given competent, evidence-based healthcare.

I’m fat and I should have access to affordable clothes that fit and that I like.

I’m fat and I deserve to be treated with respect.

People are lots of different sizes for lots of different reasons, and none of those sizes requires an “even thought they” before “we treat them with respect.”

Was this post helpful? If you appreciate the work that I do, you can support my ability to do more of it with a one-time tip or by becoming a member. (Members get special deals on fat-positive stuff, a monthly e-mail keeping them up to date on the work their membership supports, and the ability to ask me questions that I answer in a members-only monthly Q&A Video!)

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Love It! 234 Inspirations And Activities to Help You Love Your Body
This is filled with thoughtful advice from the authors Jeanette DePatie, Ragen Chastain, and Pia Sciavo-Campo as well as dozens of other notable names from the body love movement, the book is lovingly illustrated with diverse drawings from size-positive artist Toni Tails.
Price: $9.99 softcover, $7.99 Kindle, ($6.95 + free shipping for DancesWithFat Members)

Wellness for All Bodies ProgramA simple, step-by-step, super efficient guide to setting and reaching your health goals from a weight-neutral perspective.  This program can be used by individuals, or by groups, including as a workplace wellness program!
Price: $25.00 ($10 for DancesWithFat members – register on the member page)

Non-Members click here for all the details and to register!

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!  (DancesWithFat Members get an even better deal, make sure to make your purchases from the Members Page!)

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

I’m (still!) training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com or on Instagram.

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

 

Nike’s Plus Size Mannequins Uncover the Truth About Weight Stigma

A couple of years after introducing their plus size line, (which still has plenty of room to grow as it currently only goes up to 3x) Nike has added some plus size mannequins in their London Flagship store.  And fatphobes the world over (I’d say very likely the same ones who are constantly complaining that fat people don’t exercise, as if that’s any of their business,) lost their collective shit. Reader Natasha let me know that a popular UK publication (which I’ll not be giving traffic by naming or linking to) described the mannequin thusly:

“not a size 12, which is healthy, or even 16 – a hefty weight, yes, but not one to kill a woman. She is immense, gargantuan, vast. She heaves with fat.”

Setting aside the fact that health and weight are not the same thing (there are healthy and unhealthy people of all shapes and sizes,) and that health is not an obligation, barometer of worthiness, entirely within our control, or guaranteed under any circumstances, and setting aside the fact that she doesn’t “heave with fat” so much as she heaves with plastic, as she is a mannequin, and that she doesn’t heave at all because, again, mannequin, I have to wonder what image this writer’s tribute to fatphobia and synonyms conjures up in people’s minds.

View the mannequin [insert creepy whispery voice…] if you dare…

Nike Plus Size Mannequin
Source: https://www.cnn.com/style/article/london-nike-mannequins-scli-intl/index.html

Now, we know better than to make an “it’s not even that fat!” argument, but if hysterical internet fatphobes are to be believed (and they aren’t,) this mannequin is “promoting obesity.” They claimed the same thing about the clothing line, so let me just reiterate part of what I wrote about that:

  

  

 

 

 

 

Was this post helpful? If you appreciate the work that I do, you can support my ability to do more of it with a one-time tip or by becoming a member. (Members get special deals on fat-positive stuff, a monthly e-mail keeping them up to date on the work their membership supports, and the ability to ask me questions that I answer in a members-only monthly Q&A Video!)

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Love It! 234 Inspirations And Activities to Help You Love Your Body
This is filled with thoughtful advice from the authors Jeanette DePatie, Ragen Chastain, and Pia Sciavo-Campo as well as dozens of other notable names from the body love movement, the book is lovingly illustrated with diverse drawings from size-positive artist Toni Tails.
Price: $9.99 softcover, $7.99 Kindle, ($6.95 + free shipping for DancesWithFat Members)

Wellness for All Bodies ProgramA simple, step-by-step, super efficient guide to setting and reaching your health goals from a weight-neutral perspective.  This program can be used by individuals, or by groups, including as a workplace wellness program!
Price: $25.00 ($10 for DancesWithFat members – register on the member page)

Non-Members click here for all the details and to register!

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!  (DancesWithFat Members get an even better deal, make sure to make your purchases from the Members Page!)

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

I’m (still!) training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com or on Instagram.

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

 

 

 

Dismantling Diet Culture

Diet Industry booty callIn honor of No Diet Day, I wrote a blog post for the National Eating Disorders Association blog (I’m an Offical NEDA Ambassador!) about recognizing and resisting diet culture:

Diet Culture is dangerous and harms people of all sizes, including by perpetuating eating disorders and making a full recovery almost impossible. But when it comes to identifying Diet Culture in a world that is sadly rife with it, there can be plenty of confusion. If we truly want to prevent eating disorders and create a culture where full recovery is possible, we need to learn to identify Diet Culture and speak out against it. While this list certainly isn’t exhaustive, it covers some of the main tenets of Diet Culture, as well as some options for fighting back.

You can read the rest on the NEDA blog here!

Was this post helpful? If you appreciate the work that I do, you can support my ability to do more of it with a one-time tip or by becoming a member. (Members get special deals on fat-positive stuff, a monthly e-mail keeping them up to date on the work their membership supports, and the ability to ask me questions that I answer in a members-only monthly Q&A Video!)

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Love It! 234 Inspirations And Activities to Help You Love Your Body
This is filled with thoughtful advice from the authors Jeanette DePatie, Ragen Chastain, and Pia Sciavo-Campo as well as dozens of other notable names from the body love movement, the book is lovingly illustrated with diverse drawings from size-positive artist Toni Tails.
Price: $9.99 softcover, $7.99 Kindle, ($6.95 + free shipping for DancesWithFat Members)

Wellness for All Bodies ProgramA simple, step-by-step, super efficient guide to setting and reaching your health goals from a weight-neutral perspective.  This program can be used by individuals, or by groups, including as a workplace wellness program!
Price: $25.00 ($10 for DancesWithFat members – register on the member page)

Non-Members click here for all the details and to register!

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!  (DancesWithFat Members get an even better deal, make sure to make your purchases from the Members Page!)

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

I’m (still!) training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com or on Instagram.

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

 

Things That Need to Stop Happening in Fat Fashion

Biscuit doesn't care about flatteringWhile things are getting a bit better when it comes to fashion for fat folks, there is still a whole lot of nonsense that goes on, and most of it could stop immediately. Let’s talk about some examples:

The All Shapes and Sizes Lie

If your company does not actually fit all shapes and sizes, then it is absolutely not ok to say that you do. If you fit sizes 00-22, then say “Clothing for sizes 00-22” not “Clothing for every shape and size” or “Clothing for every body.” Not only is it a lie that induces people who don’t have a chance of finding clothes that fit them to waste their time on your website or in your store trying, it’s dehumanizing. If you fit through size 22, but you say “clothing for all shapes and sizes” then what you are saying is that you don’t think people who are over a 22 count as a shape or size. That negates any good that a brand is trying to do by offering at least some sizes that are larger than average.

Self- Congratulations without Introspection

Whenever I see the all shapes and sizes lie happening, I reach out to the brand. Some brands respond positively (for example, one lingerie brand changed the language in the social media post that I commented on, and reached out to me to discuss language, we’re still working on it) Other brands just get defensive, bragging about how they are offering more sizes than some companies so I should just be happy. That’s all well and good, but unless you are making clothing for literally all shapes and sizes (as companies like Smart Glamour do,) you still have work to do, and the least you can do is acknowledge that.

The inches+ Mess

Have you ever seen a size chart like this:
Bust Measurements:
XL: 38-41
2XL: 41-42
3XL: 43-45
4XL: 45+

Wait, what? So the other sizes all have 2-3 inches of stretch, but the 4X is made out of some kind of magical infi-stretch material that fits literally anyone with a bust over 44 inches? Even those of us in the largest size deserve for you to take the fricking time to stretch the material and give us correct information, especially in a situation where we are paying for the garment, and for shipping, and if it doesn’t fit we have to pay for return shipping and don’t get the original shipping refunded, giving us the joy of paying money for a piece of clothing we’ll never wear.

Plus Size Model Who Aren’t Plus Size

If you are too small to fit in the clothes, then you have no business modeling them. The fashion industries desire not to see double chins leads to thin models being “padded out” to wear clothes that are larger than they are. There are plenty of actual plus size people out there who want to be models.

Models Who Make A Living Modeling Plus Size Clothes, But Don’t Want to Be Called Plus Size

Fuck. A. Whole. Bunch. Of. That. If you are so desperate to distance yourself from our community, then get your plus-size ass out of our clothes.

Unrealistic Clothing Portrayals

The dress that caused the controversy is modelled without the clips
Source: https://www.bbc.com/news/newsbeat-48051242

So this happened. Asos forgot to photoshop out the bulldog clips that they used on their model. This idea of “making the clothes look their best” like this, and then retouching the pictures so the buyer can’t see what was done is just false advertising and sets us up to get the clothing and then wonder why TF it doesn’t look like the picture. Considering we live in a world that encourages us to (incorrectly) blame our bodies if the clothes don’t look right, this contributes to poor body image which is the last thing anyone needs. If a brand doesn’t like the way their clothing hangs, they need to remake the clothing, not break out the binder clips.

Fashion Bashing

If someone’s commitment to fashion is about what they like to wear, and they are clear that the ability to “create your own style” is a privilege and that the clothing that others want to wear may not be accessible to them due to money, availability, or other reasons – then that’s fine. But too often, even in plus-size communities, the concept of “fashion” is used as a tool of oppression by people who are still desperate to be at the cool kid’s table, and are willing to treat others badly to feel good about themselves. That truly has to stop. Caring about fashion (especially in terms of capital F Fashion, what’s “in season” or “on trend,”) is entirely optional, and caring about fashion doesn’t make someone better than those who couldn’t care less.

The Flattering Police

This is a subset of fashion bashing. These are the folks who insist that fat people have to dress to create an optical illusion to make us look as thin as possible. As a proud member of the Fuck Flattering Club, I’m here to say that this is bullshit. People can dress however they want, for whatever reason they want, and if we don’t like it, we have the option to look away.

Fashion is a complicated and fraught thing for fat people and, like with so many other things, our attention should be focused on making sure that everyone has access to the clothing they want, and then we should mind our own business about other people’s fashion choices.

Was this post helpful? If you appreciate the work that I do, you can support my ability to do more of it with a one-time tip or by becoming a member. (Members get special deals on fat-positive stuff, a monthly e-mail keeping them up to date on the work their membership supports, and the ability to ask me questions that I answer in a members-only monthly Q&A Video!)

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Love It! 234 Inspirations And Activities to Help You Love Your Body
This is filled with thoughtful advice from the authors Jeanette DePatie, Ragen Chastain, and Pia Sciavo-Campo as well as dozens of other notable names from the body love movement, the book is lovingly illustrated with diverse drawings from size-positive artist Toni Tails.
Price: $9.99 softcover, $7.99 Kindle, ($6.95 + free shipping for DancesWithFat Members)

Wellness for All Bodies ProgramA simple, step-by-step, super efficient guide to setting and reaching your health goals from a weight-neutral perspective.  This program can be used by individuals, or by groups, including as a workplace wellness program!
Price: $25.00 ($10 for DancesWithFat members – register on the member page)

Non-Members click here for all the details and to register!

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!  (DancesWithFat Members get an even better deal, make sure to make your purchases from the Members Page!)

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

I’m (still!) training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com or on Instagram.

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

US Airline Customer of Size Policies

air air travel airbus aircraft
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I recently wrote about the many ways that airlines mistreat fat passengers. That resulted in a lot of people asking me about the policies that airlines have around their fat passengers (often called “Customers of Size” or COS policies.) I looked around but couldn’t find a fat positive comprehensive list of United States airline carriers COS policies, so I decided to create one. Here it is:

Southwest Airlines

I’m going to start with Southwest for two reasons. First, they have literally the only fair and appropriate COS policy in the United States, and second because there are a ton of misconceptions floating around about that policy. Third (bonus reason!) because they used to be one of the absolute worst airlines for fat passengers and they have turned it around and I want to reward that.

Here is the official policy:

Customers who encroach upon any part of the neighboring seat(s) may proactively purchase the needed number of seats prior to travel in order to ensure the additional seat(s) is available. The armrest is considered to be the definitive boundary between seats; the width of the narrowest and widest passenger seats (in inches) is available on our Flying Southwest page. The purchase of additional seats serves as a notification to Southwest of a special seating need, and allows us to adequately plan for the number of seats that will be occupied on the aircraft. In turn, this helps to ensure we can accommodate all Customers on the flight/aircraft for which they purchased a ticket and avoid asking Customers to relinquish their seats for an unplanned accommodation. Most importantly, it ensures that all Customers onboard have access to safe and comfortable seating. You may contact us for a refund of the cost of additional seating after travel. Customers of size who prefer not to purchase an additional seat in advance have the option of purchasing just one seat and then discussing their seating needs with the Customer Service Agent at their departure gate. If it is determined that a second (or third) seat is needed, they will be accommodated with a complimentary additional seat.

Here is my commentary to try to correct some common misconceptions (scroll down for all the other US carrier policies):

Southwest’s Customer of Size policy offers 2 or 3 seats for the price of one. This is because they are in the business of flying people from point A to point B and that requires a seat that accommodates you. Since airplanes are still being built like fat people don’t exist, this is their workaround.

You have the option of purchasing a 2nd or 3rd seat when you book. If you do that, you just need to contact them after the flight and they will reimburse you EVEN IF YOUR FLIGHT WAS FULL OR OVERBOOKED. You get reimbursed no matter what.

You are NOT REQUIRED to purchase a second seat. You can simply go through the full-service check-in line when you get to the airport, tell them that you are using their Customer of Size policy and they will book you the 2 or 3 seats that you need EVEN IF YOUR FLIGHT IS FULL OR OVERBOOKED.

If everyone shows up and the flight ends up being actually overbooked, they will use their overbook policy, which involves offering customers travel vouchers to take a different flight. You will not be treated differently in this situation because your 2 or 3 seats are treated like a single seat (because they are a single seat.)

You will be allowed to preboard to make sure that you can get 2 seats together. You will be given a document that says “Seat Reserved” to put on your extra seat. If people ask, simply say “I’ve reserved both seats, this seat is not available.

My partner and I use this policy all the time and have never had any trouble. Of course we have a lot of privilege, including and especially white privilege, and that can’t be discounted in our experience. If you do run into difficulty, you can ask to speak to a supervisor and refer them to their own policy: https://www.southwest.com/…/help/faqs/extra_seat_policy_faq…

Note: Southwest has a stated preference for people purchasing the 2 or 3 seats that they need in advance and then getting reimbursed. While I can understand that, I also understand that many people do not have the money to loan Southwest Airlines the cost of their ticket (or twice the cost if they need 3 seats) from the time of purchase to sometime after they fly, which is why the policy doesn’t require you to purchase seats in advance.

Southwest always has the option of creating a booking process for Customers of Size that does not require a loan of hundreds of dollars, which would solve all the problems that people paying for multiple tickets and waiting to get reimbursed solves.

Other Airlines

Now let’s go to the other airlines. I want to point out how when they say that they care about the “comfort and safety” of their passengers, they mean their thin passengers. If they cared about the comfort and safety of their fat passengers they would create policies (and insist on planes) that actually accommodated us, rather than asking us to pay twice as much for a solution that leaves us far less comfortable and less safe than the thin people they actually care about.

The links go to the COS policies. Last updated: 4.16.19 If you see any inaccuracies, please feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org. Thanks!

American Airlines

“For the safety and comfort of all customers, if a customer’s body extends more than 1 inch beyond the outermost edge of the armrest and a seat belt extension is needed, another seat is required. We encourage customers to address all seating needs when booking.

  • When you call to book, Reservations will make sure you get 2 adjacent seats at the same rate.
  • If you didn’t book an extra seat in advance, ask an airport agent to find out if 2 adjacent seats are available.
  • You may be offered a seat in a higher class of service that may provide more space; in this case, you’ll be responsible for the fare difference.
  • If accommodations can’t be made on your original flight, you can buy seats on a different flight at the same price as your original seats.”

Delta Airlines

“We want to do all things possible to ensure your comfort. For customers who need extra space outside the standard Economy Seat — which features 31-32” of legroom with a 17.2” width — you can ask to be reseated next to an empty seat or pay to upgrade to First/Business class. To ensure your comfort, you might consider booking an additional seat. If you have questions, Delta Reservations can assist at 800-221-1212. We’re happy to provide you with an FAA-approved seatbelt extension, but do not allow personal seatbelt extensions to be used.”

Alaska Airlines

“We strive to best serve our customers’ unique needs by providing a safe and comfortable flight for all passengers.

We require the purchase of an additional seat for any customer who cannot comfortably fit within one seat with the armrests in the down position. The armrest is considered to be the definitive boundary between seats; width between the armrests typically measures 17 inches for coach and 21 inches for First Class. The purchase of an additional seat(s) serves as a notification to Alaska Airlines of a special seating need, and allows us to adequately plan for the number of seats that will be occupied on the aircraft. Most importantly, it ensures that all customers onboard have access to safe and comfortable seating.

After you have completed travel, if all Alaska Airlines flights in each direction departed with an open seat available, you will be eligible for a refund of the second seat.

Booking instructions
Please call Alaska Airlines reservations at 1-800-252-7522 to ensure your reservation is booked correctly.

Benefits of booking ahead through Alaska Airlines reservations:

Call center ticketing fees are waived
Adjacent seating is reserved in advance
Both seats are purchased at the same low fare
Refund instructions
You can request a refund by using our online form or contacting Customer Care at 1-800-654-5669. Simply provide the name on the ticket, travel dates, flight information and ticket number. Refunds must be requested within 90 days of travel.

Seatbelt extensions
The seat width on all Alaska Airlines aircraft (armrest to armrest) is approximately 17 inches and the seatbelt length is approximately 46 inches. Passengers needing extra coverage may ask the flight attendant for a seatbelt extension, which adds 25 inches to the seatbelt length. Only seatbelt extensions provided by the specific aircraft operator may be used onboard.”

Allegiant Air

“Allegiant’s mission and responsibility per our Contract of Carriage is to provide safe and comfortable air transportation for every customer.

The airline seats measure 17.8″ from inside of armrest to inside of armrest. Passengers who are unable to lower the armrest and/or compromise any portion of adjacent seat(s) should purchase an additional ticket during the initial reservation. Two seats will be pre-assigned (at no additional charge) in order to ensure the passenger of size has two seats side-by-side. If on the date of travel, a passenger of size requests a second ticket, the agent will be unable to sell a second ticket unless two seats are available side-by-side. In the event the flight is sold out and an extra seat is unavailable, the passenger of size shall be denied travel in the interest of safety.”

Hawaiian Airlines

“Most of our seats are 18 inches wide. For larger guests, this may create a safety issue. If you are unable to sit comfortably in your seat with the armrests lowered, we will try to find a suitable alternative. However, if no safe alternative seating can be found, we may not be able to transport you on your ticketed flight.

If you may need extra room, we highly recommend booking an extra seat in advance. Please reserve your extra seat by calling our Web Support Center at 1-866-586-9419. Our agents can assist you with booking two adjacent Coach or Extra Comfort or Preferred seats. Each seat will be charged at the lowest available fare.

Note: Extra seats booked online are not guaranteed to be adjacent. To book an extra seat, please call our Web Support Center at 1-866-586-9419.”

Frontier Airlines

“Customers who are unable to lower both armrests and/or who compromise any portion of adjacent seat or aisle should book two seats prior to travel. The armrest is considered to be the definitive boundary between seats. Additionally, armrests (when fully lowered) are viewed as providing a measure of safety by restricting the seat occupant’s lateral (side-to-side) movement.

It is Frontier’s goal to ensure a safe, comfortable flight for everyone and to make every customer’s travel experience pleasant from beginning to end.”

JetBlue

“An extra seat can be purchased for customers needing additional seating room:

Follow the normal booking instructions but make the reservation for one extra person
Book the first seat with the traveler’s name, i.e. SMITH/ROBERT
Book the second seat with your traveler’s last name and ‘EXST’ as the first name, i.e. SMITH/EXST
Include the following SSR message in the record: SSR EXST B6 NN1 JFKMCO0031Y31JUL-1SMITH/ROBERT.OVERSIZED
Select adjoining seat assignments in the GDS or on http://www.jetblue.com/seats
When you purchase an extra seat, both seats must be booked in the same fare option. The fare option selected will determine your baggage allowance. The carry-on baggage allowance remains the same per person.”

Spirit Airlines

“They don’t seem to have an official policy online, but I found this in their Q&A section:

Q: Can I purchase an extra seat for myself or something I’m transporting?

A:  Yes, in fact we require it in the following circumstances:

-To accommodate a guest of size who encroaches on an adjacent seat area and/or is unable to sit in a single seat with the armrests lowered;
To transport a guest who, because of his or her particular disability, would be unable to travel without the purchase of additional space on the aircraft;
-To transport large musical instruments or electronic audio/video, medical, or other sensitive equipment unsuitable for carriage as checked baggage, as specified in the Contract of Carriage
-You can purchase an extra seat by using your name for both tickets and selecting the desired seat assignments.

NOTE: guests who require a seat belt extension may not occupy any seat equipped with an inflatable seat belt. A seat belt extension may be used in a seat equipped with an inflatable seat belt in order to secure seat baggage (e.g., a musical instrument).”

United Airlines

“A customer flying in the economy cabin who is not able to safely and comfortably fit in a single seat is required to purchase an additional seat for each leg of their itinerary. The second seat may be purchased for the same fare as the original seat, provided it is purchased at the same time. A customer who does not purchase an extra seat in advance may be required to do so on the day of departure for the fare level available on the day of departure. The customer may instead choose to purchase a ticket for United First®, United Business® or United Polaris℠ business class, or elect to pay for an upgrade to a premium cabin if there is availability to do so. United Airlines is not required to provide additional seats or upgrades free of charge.

A customer is required to purchase an additional seat or upgrade if they do not meet one of the following criteria:

The customer must be able to properly attach, buckle and wear the seat belt, with one extension if necessary, whenever the seatbelt sign is illuminated or as instructed by a crew member. Footnote*
The customer must be able to remain seated with the seat armrest(s) down for the entirety of the flight.
The customer must not significantly encroach upon the adjacent seating space. See our seat maps.
United will not board a customer who declines to purchase a ticket for an additional seat or upgrade for each leg of their itinerary when required.

Customers who do not require two seats but require a seat belt extension may request one from a flight attendant on board. Customers are not permitted to bring or supply their own seat belt extensions.

Footnotes
*The average length of the seatbelt extension is approximately 25 inches. As the seat designs on our aircraft vary, it is possible that the seatbelt extension presented on your flight provides less than 25 inches of additional coverage. Regardless of the actual additional length the extension provides, if you do not meet the first criteria listed above when using the extension provided on your flight, it will be necessary for you to purchase an additional seat or an upgrade, where available.

Additional procedures
The additional seat must be available without downgrading or unseating another customer. If an additional seat is not available on the flight for which the customer is confirmed, he or she is required to rebook on the next United flight with seats available for accommodation. United will waive penalties or fees that may otherwise apply to this change.

If the customer is away from his or her home and must rebook for a flight for the following day, amenities including applicable meals and hotel accommodations for one night will be provided as appropriate. When the customer is able to rebook for a later flight on the same day as originally scheduled, amenities will not be provided.

Baggage allowance
Checked baggage allowances are determined by the number of seats purchased. When two seats are purchased for one customer, the allowance for checked baggage is doubled. The number of carry-on items permitted is determined by the individual passenger allowances set by the TSA, rather than United policy. Consequently, the carry-on allowance is not doubled. Learn more about baggage allowances.”

So that’s it. If you know of something I’m missing here, please let me know!

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