The Size Of Airline Seats: Another Reason To Hate Being A Fat Guy!

by Khaleef "Fat Guy" Crumbley on October 5, 2011

in Daily Update

Fat Guy in Airplane Seat

Many of you know that I flew to Chicago recently to attend the first annual Financial Blogger Conference. Although I had a wonderful time once I got there, the flight was anything but enjoyable because of the size of airline seats!

The Size of Airline Seats

I’m a fat guy, and it’s apparent that those airline seats weren’t made for someone of my “carriage”! I’ve been on enough flights to realize that I was so uncomfortable on the plane because of how fat I am! I booked a window seat as I always do – not realizing what I was in for!

My seat was actually in between two windows, which meant that the wall jutted out right at the point where my shoulder and arm lined up. Because I was pinned up against the wall, my arm fell asleep a few times during the flight. It was at that point that those first class seats started looking pretty good (I wanted to upgrade for the flight back) – but I soon snapped back into reality and starting thinking about the fact that we have to pay off debt, and decided to suffer with the size of airline seats.

The next time that I “felt” my fat was on the way to the Love Drop community service event. Because we (my wife traveled to Chicago with me) went out to lunch with Glen from Free From Broke and Tom from Canadian Finance Blog, all the seats were taken up on the bus. Fortunately, Roger Wohlner, who lives in Chicago, offered to drive us to the event. What that meant for me was squeezing into the back seat with two other people.

Here is a video highlighting the work that we did in conjunction with Love Drop (leave a comment below if you think you found me on the video):

Three normal size humans can fit into the back of an SUV just fine; but replace one of those humans with a walrus, and you’re looking for trouble! For the entire ride over there I was afraid that the door wasn’t completely closed, and that I would suddenly start rolling down some highway in Shaumburg! Of course, I could have just filed a fast food lawsuit if that would have happened!

We got a few t-shirts at the conference, but I didn’t bother to try them on. I think we all know what would happen if I did. Maybe I’ll put one on and take a picture for the website ;-)!

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Money Beagle October 6, 2011 at 8:51 am

Airline seats and other similar accommodations are designed for the middle of the bell curve. It sounds like you’re on the outer fringe which is of course going to make things uncomfortable. Also sounds like you’re a good sport about it though, which is commendable.

Fat Guy October 6, 2011 at 10:01 pm

I have to admit that I don’t remember them being as uncomfortable the first time I flew, but I was 100lbs lighter and it was an overseas flight – the plane may have been larger.

I have to find humor in it, especially since it’s 100% my fault for being this size!

Denise @ The Single Saver October 6, 2011 at 11:47 am

Well, I’m a skinny (ish) woman and I find those airline seats terribly uncomfortable, too. I think they are secret torture devices our government is testing! Have you tried Amtrack for travel? Those seats are awesome and there is usually a lot less hassle in dealing with the train versus a plane in general.

Fat Guy October 6, 2011 at 10:03 pm

Hahahahahaha…your “secret torture devices” coment has me laughing so hard right now!

I have never taken a train for long distance trips – it just never crosses my mind. I will definitely look into it the next time I have to travel.

Outside of the seats, do you find that there are other advantages to taking the train?

Jake from Debt Sucks October 8, 2011 at 3:27 pm

It’s a boatload cheaper! There’s your other advantage. I got to FinCon from south central PA and back for $100 each way.

Fat Guy October 17, 2011 at 7:07 pm

You guys have me ready to take a train on my next trip!

Kay Lynn @ Bucksome Boomer October 9, 2011 at 5:00 pm

It’s easier to work on the train and is enjoyable when you have the time to use it.

Fat Guy October 17, 2011 at 7:28 pm

I hope to get a chance to ride the train soon…I’ll write about it if I do.

novel investor October 6, 2011 at 1:46 pm

I feel your pain. Unfortunately at 6’6″, there’s nothing I can do to make travel any easier, except amputation. My legs never fit comfortably on any trip.

Fat Guy October 6, 2011 at 10:04 pm

Amputation?!? You guys are on a roll in the comments today! lol

When I was getting my boarding pass, they gave me the option of adding 5 inches of legroom for $39! At first, I couldn’t imagine doing something like that, but in your case it may be worth it.

Have you ever used that option or flown first class?

Amanda L Grossman October 6, 2011 at 7:02 pm

That photo above of the man squeezing into the seat is incredible! I can’t believe he flew like that, though I suppose the alternative is to not travel.

Fat Guy October 6, 2011 at 10:05 pm

I can’t believe they allowed him to fly like that either. Usually, the airline will force you to pay for 2 seats if you are that large!

How would you have reacted if you had to sit next to him?

Adam Underhill October 7, 2011 at 1:11 am

Wow dude! You’re being too harsh on yourself! I mean, own it, yes we did this to ourselves, but dude slow down. Name calling, fat jokes our yourself won’t get you anywhere. You are changing and that is what matters. We are losing the weight and we need the accountability. Keep it up!

Fat Guy October 7, 2011 at 8:09 pm

Hey Adam, thanks for the encouragement. Don’t mind me, I’m always making jokes about myself. I don’t take it too seriously – it’s not like I have a disability that I have no control over. I like to have fun with it – if you notice that my posts start to get too serious or grim, then you know there may be a problem.

I would never make the jokes or things concerning another person, because they may be sensitive in that area. I just can’t wait until I’m laughing about the past and not the present!

Anna October 7, 2011 at 1:01 pm

I was a flight attendant years ago and I remember one full flight where a rude couple asked if there was a more comfortable seat for the woman that was next to them. They asked this right in front of her! I was floored. This lady was a little bigger, but she was in her seat just fine. After I picked my jaw off the floor, I offered him another seat on another flight.

Fat Guy October 7, 2011 at 8:10 pm

I can’t believe that they were that rude! I’m glad you were able to handle the situation with class.

Have you ever worked on a flight where someone was required to purchase 2 seats?

Anna October 7, 2011 at 8:36 pm

I don’t remember anyone being required to purchase two seats. This was back in the late 90’s so it might have been before the two seat purchase requirement. I think that requirement is more recent in the last decade.

I wonder if there is research out there that shows the increase of obesity in correlation to the advancement of the internet. There is so much more to do on the computer now than back in the early 2000’s.

Fat Guy October 7, 2011 at 10:39 pm

I think it would be fairly easy to find a correlation, the only problem that I would see in that type of research is determining a proxy for the “growth” of the internet. Maybe we could use the number of broadband connections, or router sales?

101 Centavos October 8, 2011 at 8:40 am

Stick with the weight challenges you got going on, and your large size will only be temporary.

Fat Guy October 17, 2011 at 7:05 pm

Thanks! I’ve been working on my pushups, and will add in a cardio workout (the one I did before I moved) as well.

Glen Craig October 8, 2011 at 3:38 pm

Dude, let it be said that airline seats are uncomfortable for EVERYONE! Mine was only a 2-hour flight and my bum was falling asleep. Not good when you can’t get up and stretch.

And the car ride wasn’t that cramped, was it? I don’t think an SUV ever has back seats that fit 3 adults well.

If it means anything, of all the t-shirts only one fits me well (thankfully it’s the FINCON t-shirt).

I’m gonna say this, you paint yourself to be a lot bigger than you actually are. You’re an awesome guy and it was great getting to know you and your wife.

Fat Guy October 17, 2011 at 7:25 pm

Yeah, those seats are pretty small. I wonder how much money they would lose by giving everyone a few extra inches.

The car ride wasn’t terrible…but I definitely felt the negative effects of being this fat. It was great hanging out with you, and I’m glad we got to have lunch and ride together!

Robert @ The College Investor October 8, 2011 at 7:00 pm

I hate flying, even though I’m normal size. The seats are just so cramped, it sucks.

Fat Guy October 17, 2011 at 7:26 pm

I wonder if there are any airlines out there that have larger than normal seats for the same price.

Funny about Money October 9, 2011 at 10:02 am

Ugh. The discomfort and disrespect for passengers are the specific reasons I refuse to fly at all anymore. If you can’t get there by car, I don’t go.

Fat Guy October 17, 2011 at 7:27 pm

If someone flies a lot, I can see them getting turned off by the conditions. I think people put up with it because of the speed of travel. When is the last time you flew?

Financial Success for Young Adults October 10, 2011 at 11:04 am

I will second Glen Craig on that. Airline seats are uncomfortable in general. And the air is even worse. At least you won’t’ have to worry about this much longer as you journey to a lighter size.

Fat Guy October 17, 2011 at 7:36 pm

Thanks for the vote of confidence, LaTisha! It’s too bad you couldn’t make it to the conference, I was looking forward to meeting you.

Oh, every time someone coughed on the plane, I thought about the air quality! 🙁

LaTisha @YoungAdultFinances October 18, 2011 at 6:54 pm

I’m hoping to be there next year! I look forward to meeting everyone also 🙂

Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter October 11, 2011 at 10:34 am

I feel bad for those who are made to feel uncomfortable in these types of situations. I think businesses need to do a better job at making customers feel more comfortable.

Fat Guy October 17, 2011 at 8:04 pm

I think there might be room for an airline to consider comfort and gain market share!

Squirrelers October 11, 2011 at 2:18 pm

That photo is remarkable…

I think you’ve got a healthy perspective on this, which is great. Frankly I feel for those who face such issues. Those seats on airlines aren’t comfortable for most adults anyway, let alone for people who are carrying extra weight.

Fat Guy October 17, 2011 at 8:05 pm

Yeah, I can’t believe that they allowed him to sit in that one seat!

retirebyforty October 12, 2011 at 12:33 pm

Keep working on it and you’ll get there! Yeah, it sounds tough having to deal with those problems everyday.

Fat Guy October 17, 2011 at 8:05 pm

I can’t wait for my next plane ride. I’m sure it will still be uncomfortable, but it should be a little better.

Jesse @ BP October 13, 2011 at 2:00 pm

You know what, I think they’ve been secretly shrinking seat sizes…I’ve been losing weight and the seat feels just as tight as it ever did when I was bigger!

Fat Guy October 17, 2011 at 8:06 pm

How much weight have you lost so far? Care to share your story? 😉

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