Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Flying High and Low

Last week was a busy week. I had two back to back plane trips. I had to share these pictures of two of my favorite non-scale victories post weight loss surgery. These NEVER get old... being able to put down the tray table on a plane and using a seat belt with out an extender.



Pre weight loss surgery I dreaded flying. Before I even left the house, size 26/28 garments took up a lot of room and when you have only a few stores to shop in, that may not be in the city you are traveling to all the "just in case" items have to be packed. There was no such thing as a little carry-on for me, even weekend trips turned into several suitcase productions. I'd get to the airport where if I was traveling with others the comments would start "Wow!?! you pack a lot" "You do know it's just for the weekend right?" Ummm yeah. Thanks.

On to the ticket counter...now I never actually had them make me pay for another seat but I've had a few threats of it and comments like: "Will one seat be adequate for you ma'am?" I stopped flying when this started. 

We're off right? wrong. Upon entering the plane, I would discreetly ask the flight attendant to give me a seat belt extender and often it was passed quietly to me but every once and awhile I'd get a flight attendant who would call down the length of the plane to her co-worker "Janet do you know where the seat belt exxxxxtttteeeennnnddderrrr is?" Can I die now?

OK I've got my extender and heading down the aisle. Here come the stares and nasty looks by the people that saw me coming. You could just read their face, "Please don't let her have seat 9B" and then "Damn!" with a look of disgust when you do indeed have seat 9B. BE KIND TO EACH OTHER, since 93 million Americans are affected by obesity chances are one of them is your mom, grandma, pop, uncle, best friend, daughter. Think about them being on the receiving end of those looks.

Finally you are snug as a bug in your seat and ready for takeoff. It's all good until drinks and food begin. Try balancing a cup of coffee and a hot meal on your lap because the tray table down and my body in the seat weren't happening at the same time. I prayed no one was sitting next to me or someone I knew so I could share their tray table. Now I won't even begin to talk about if God forbid I had to pee.

I am thankful those painful memories are memories but so many of my friends are still living it. I'd like to see airlines stop overbooking flights so that reasonable accommodations can be made for situations like someone needing a little extra space. I once had to sit next to a woman with very strong perfume (a migraine trigger for me), another time I had a very tall man's knees pressed into the back of my seat for 6 hours. I would have loved to have moved seats but the plane was overbooked. Save a few seats for situations instead of cramming us in like sardines. We are people. We come in different shapes and sizes.


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17 comments:

Anonymous said...

you nailed it right on the head. we are not sardines, we did not ask to be compressed into your seats.

thank you for all you do.

ramona
cajunlady70518@yahoo.com

Jess said...

You. Nailed. It.

I actually purchased a seat belt extender to avoid part of this. Not one flight attendant ever was discreet. Ever. Ugh.

My surgery date is nearly here...I fly again in November. Maybe I can ditch the extender.

Recently found your blog--it's one of the best I've found. Thanks for sharing such amazing ideas and your story!

jennxaz said...

those NSV's NEVER get old!!!

Julie McHood said...

Couldn't agree more!!!

Tracy @ www.mytinytank.net said...

Amen. We need to learn to be accepting of each other. I remember the extennnnnnnnder well.

JeannieOH said...

I'm also pre op. I fly to meet my 2nd grandson in June. Every single thought about a large person flying is what I'm crying myself to sleep about since booking the ticket. Why do ignorant people have such a hold on us. I should be celebrating the joy of seeing my daughter, grandson, and my soon to be born grandson. Your post was timely for a reason - to help me. I will walk on that sardine can of a plane with confidence and ask for a seat belt extender audibly. Thank you!

Elaine M said...

I agree -- it was on a 15 hour flight from SFO to Hong Kong that I decided I needed to look at WLS. My company is too cheap to pay for business class or even for "coach plus" -- so I paid for the coach plus myself. Even so, it was still an awful flight.

I'm now 10 days out from having a VSG -- I have lost 40 pounds since my journey started and 15 pounds since the day of my surgery.

I am so glad I did this!

Anonymous said...

This is right on! As a post opp, I am thankful for the same. I also have much empathy for those still affected. My soul and memory still vividly remember every detail of these struggles. I wish there was a way of letting others know we understand besides wearing a tshirt that says "I used to get a seat belt extender too" or "I know it is hard to get out of your set" or "it's okay, you can have the arm rest"

WalksbyF8h said...

I had my RnY 11/12/12 and it's the best thing I've done for myself. I flew to Missouri this past Friday and ... I didn't need that extender, I was able to sleep, AND I was able to CROSS MY LEGS! :-) Thank you for this blog.

WalksbyF8h said...

Last summer, I flew to Florida and was miserable being stuffed into the seat. Trying not to 'overflow' onto the next person, etc. On 11/12/2012, I had my RnY procedure and I am so glad that I did! I am also glad to be able to come to this blog and learn how to walk out this new lifestyle. Not only wasn't the extender needed, but I was able to sleep and CROSS my LEGS!! You are helping us out here and I thank you.

Jenn said...

I nearly cried last week when I was able to fly coach and fit in the seat and not need a seat belt extender. For the last 10 years I've been shelling out for business/first class. I've never been so proud to sit in coach. Keep up the good work. You inspire me to try and inspire others

Kat said...

Nice blog. Flying is a squeeze for everyone now. I am glad I am not 6 feet tall too lol.

SunnySusan said...

I so remember when it was "announced" to give me a seat belt extender. I was mortified. It was then I decided to never let this happen again.

I had my RNY Dec 4, 2012 now 76 lbs down and never looking back. I so love all your recipes. I make the 5 minute cakes alot. They make me feel like I can still eat a little sweet and still maintain my way of life.

Susan

Skin Tightening said...

Wow. It's amazing how such simple things in life like getting on a plane are a whole different experience. Thanks for sharing.

Tina said...

I just had my first flight where the tray table went down and I had no struggle with the seatbelt. I've never felt so free as I did just then. Thanks so much for sharing. It's so nice to know I'm not alone in this journey!

Anonymous said...

THIS. I fly a lot for work and every thing you wrote could have been coming from my head. My first trip post-op (2 months after) I was able to fly without an extender for the first time in years. What an amazing feeling!

Tina said...

Oh Shelly--just read this and I had to smile and cry at the same time because it was as if you were inside my mind! I am flying in 3 weeks for business for the first time since my surgery (08/20/13), and am excited to see how much of the slack I can pull on that lapbelt and just because I can put that tray table down for the first time in many many years! So far I am down 74 lbs and several sizes but more importantly its wins like these that are more victorious for those of us who have lived that struggle and been a part of the discrimination that goes on every day. God bless you and thank you for providing us all a site to live by and build strength together!