Squeezed In

April 27, 2009

in Portly Stories

This event occurred on a flight back from LAX to DC on a business trip. I am not a big guy; I am on the short side and only weigh 155. My original seat on this flight was a middle one towards the rear. After boarding we sat at the gate for about 45 minutes because of an issue towards the front of the plane. A little while later a flight attendant came back asking passengers with middle seats if they would switch with a passenger up front because 3 “big” people, as she referred to them, were all put in the same row. They were offering flight coupons or something like that, for whoever was brave enough to do so. Awesome.

I was pretty irritated at this point, I just wanted to get home since it was almost 10pm and I wouldn’t be getting home until really late. When she asked me I agreed to switch because I just wanted to takeoff. Man what a mistake. When I got up to where my new seat was (after passing the 3rd, hugely embarrassed, larger woman, whom I was switching seats with, with much trouble in the aisle), I about had a conniption. The gentleman that was in the aisle seat had to have weighed over 350, the woman at the window was even worse; she had to be over 400…and she wore a Mumu, flabby arms exposed and all.

As I took my seat (with much struggling and shimmying), I noticed that the woman had the seat belt strapped across both her arms. I realized later on, when this belt is released, she could not hold her shoulders tight enough and basically took up half my seat. When the man in the aisle seat took his place he too had to strap the belt across his arms. Even with this setup I could not lean back. My shoulders can fit in a single seat just fine, not with them on either side of me though, I had to lean forward. I looked around for some help. What had I gotten myself into?

As the plane took off, I tried to find something to take my mind off the coming back and neck pain I was sure to follow this bad posture. When the plane leveled off I put my tray down (barely) and placed my elbows on it for support. I managed to dig my book out of my laptop bag (pays to know what your bag feels like since I couldn’t bend down to look at it) and commenced reading. About an hour later I glanced to my right and noticed the woman’s arm was almost completely blue. I guess she noticed this too because she loosened her seat belt and released a torrent of Mumu covered fat all over my seat and most of my right side. If I was uncomfortable before, I was in pain now (and very offended/grossed out). The man in the aisle seat loosened up his belt too, but it was not as bad from him (his cell phone on his hip was digging into my side though, not pleasant when being pushed into it).

A little while later the FA came by and asked if I wanted free beer for my troubles. Heck yes. I had 4. Then the food came, the woman to my right bought 2 servings worth…and ate it all. I know this sounds cliché, the fat woman eating more food, but it really did happen, and it got me madder. We finally got into DC 4 hours later and I had to pee so bad since I had not been able to the entire flight. When we got to the gate I sat down for a good 10 minutes so all my cramps would go away. Never again…

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

laura April 17, 2009 at 6:03 am

I thought people who were that overweight had to pay for two seats.

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Joe Mama April 17, 2009 at 11:33 am

Heh heh… as they tell you in the military, never volunteer for anything.

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jimbob April 17, 2009 at 12:02 pm

laura… your dumb. that would be a lawsuit waiting to happen. as for the author you had a right to stay in your seat you gave it up. its your own fault. you should post your story on http://www.ineedtowearahelmet24/t.com

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jimbob April 17, 2009 at 12:03 pm

sorry for the typo. the correct address was http://www.ineedtowearahelmet24/7.com

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Trixi April 17, 2009 at 1:42 pm

Laura isn't dumb, many commercial airlines are now making large people buy two seats. Jeez, you're the one named jimbob, I mean, really!

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Karl April 17, 2009 at 3:38 pm

Volunter to give up my seat to sit between to fat slobs? You deserve what you got.

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Sarah April 17, 2009 at 8:47 pm

On "The Apprentice" and "Celebrity Apprentice", Donald Trump said, "Never volunteer for execution." and with that, he fired the person who had volunteered to come back into the boardroom.

Now you know how important the moral of that story is.

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MJ April 18, 2009 at 6:33 am

OH MY GOD. She had her "flabby arms exposed and all?" You mean fat people should cover themselves up so your poor eyes won't have to be "offended" by their "grossness?"

Look, airplane seats barely fit a medium sized person. Of course you don't want half your seat taken up by a large person who can't fully fit into one seat.

But…

1. You volunteered. And now you're complaining? Get over it for that reason alone.

2. You can explain what happened without being an asshole. Or maybe you can't. I don't know you personally.

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Poco April 18, 2009 at 10:02 am

MJ: May I assume you're a large person?

The asshole here isn't the writer, he's just an idiot for volunteering.

You're absolutely correct, airline seats don't comfortably fit even a regular person which is why the two behemoths on either end should have taken steps to ensure a more comfortable trip for themselves and others. They could have:

1. Purchased a larger first class seat

2. Sucked it up and bought two tickets

3. Used a different form of transportation, denying the overcrowded airlines their money.

Instead, they chose to purchase a single, tiny, coach seat, constrict themselves until their extremities turned blue and still grossly inconvenience their fellow fliers.

And you think the author is the asshole? Really?

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Amit April 20, 2009 at 9:04 am

Don't defend morbidly obese people, MJ. You will never win that argument. And the reason why the OP is disgusted by the exposed flabby arms, is because they are disgusting. Fat to that magnitude is not attractive, not healthy, not usually very clean, and people should be ashamed of themselves for allowing their bodies to become that way. A handful of people have a medical reason for obesity, but 95% or more eat garbage and never exercise and we pay for them with our medical insurance premiums, etc. If you feel persecuted by these statements, then I am happy. With over 20% of the US population categorized as obese, you need to be shamed into taking charge of your life and your health for your own sake, and for the sake of society. You are literally weighing us all down and deserve no sympathy; only a shove in the right direction to start taking care of yourselves and STOP MAKING EXCUSES!

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Dianna April 22, 2009 at 2:33 pm

I agree with MJ, actually. The author did volunteer for the position, knew (approximately) what he was getting himself into, and doesn't need to be a jerk about it. The author makes it clear that the people were very embarrassed about the situation, and probably weren't having too much fun either. In retrospect, yes, they should have probably purchased two seats for themselves, but it's likely that they had a situation where they couldn't – maybe they were having to make an emergency trip and didn't have the money or something. All I'm saying is that you should give them benefit of the doubt.

And Amit, there is ABSOLUTELY no need to attack obese people like that. Yes, chances are it's their fault, but that doesn't mean that attacking them will help them to change – it probably makes them feel even worse, to tell the truth. "Shaming" them is probably part of why they ended up getting so large in the first place – you make them feel like crap about themselves and so they turn to food for comfort. It's not a far-fetched idea.

And, for the record (though I did contemplate not putting this at all just to see what people would reply…), I'm 5 foot 8 and 125 – a "normal" sized person. I just don't think it's right to attack people for being in a situation they can't really do anything about.

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John May 1, 2009 at 9:44 am

"I just don't think it's right to attack people for being in a situation they can't really do anything about."

That's just it… they can do something about it. At the time of my High School graduation, I tipped the scales at a beefy 330lbs. 2 years later, I was a lean 180 (I am 6 feet tall). 9 years later, I am still trim and in good shape. I have no sympathy for most obese people because, seriously, putting down the damned bag of MacDonald's and getting off the sofa took that weight off quicker than you'd imagine.

Being fat is a choice. If you choose to overeat and live a sedentary lifestyle, then you're also choosing to buy two seats on a plane, shop at specialty stores and deal with the assorted and sundry health problems that go along with that choice.

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Rob May 27, 2009 at 6:38 pm

Weird agreeing both with Dianna and John.

There is no reason to attack fat people for being fat, until selling fat-food is illegal. And also noreason to defend fatness.

Eating has to be learned today, and often what makes you fat is hidden.

As a 160lb 5'9" man, my weight hasn't changed in 20 years….I have also opened approximately 10 cans or boxes of food in that time. Eat fresh, small portions, and eat as often as you like. In the 10 minutes each way to McDonalds, plus the 4 minute wait (always a lineup, no recession there) I could have a healthy meal ready. And for less than it would cost to only feel hungry 2 hours later.

Eating is as much about education now as anythign else. In my 20's my doctor tested my cholesterol…He said "the scale doesn't go that high". All I had to do was stop eating cheeseburgers every day. Now it's about 2X a month.

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Laura Cardwell May 27, 2009 at 9:06 pm

I would have volunteered to do that too, if only so I could have a funny story to tell later.

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Atari May 30, 2009 at 8:23 pm

It's really obnoxious the way people attack others who never did anything wrong.

The guy VOLUNTEERED to help these sickeningly rotund people.

Later, on a website, he chronicles the details, mentioning that it was an unpleasant experience (because it obviously was) and is insulted for the trouble.

Way to go MJ and that other guy! You've lambasted a guy who was a good sport the whole trip and only mentioned his grievances in transcription for all of us kind folk to read.

Why insult him?

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