September 7, 2021
What to Expect With Air Travel for Big People
Whether your flying locally, or across the world, it’s no secret that air travel including airports, airplanes, and security measures can be overwhelming. After you finally make it through security, you now have to rush through the airport to try and find your gate. Once you get there, a sense of relief floods your mind. Until, you realize you have to make your layover, and your current plane is running behind. By the time you actually take your seat, you’re exhausted.
My point is, that flying can be overwhelming from start to finish. And, as a bigger person, it can be even more difficult. Of course, there are times when everything goes smoothly, all your flights are on time, and the lines are short and simple, but there are times where you may experience a few bumps in the road. However, this shouldn’t discourage you from traveling. Every bad experience I’ve had on a commercial airplane has been well worth it once I got to my destination. I only wanted to write this post to prepare you for what to expect at the airport, and flying in general, as a plus-size traveler.
Trying to check in with TSA is always an experience. Normally, more times than not, the TSA agents are less than friendly. The busier they are, the more abrupt the security staff can be. I understand they need to keep the line moving, but sometimes it can be stressful trying to unload your pockets, take off your shoes, and remove items from your carry-on in the short amount of time they give you. As a bigger person, it’s hard to move as quickly as they would like you to. With the pressures of a long line behind you, it can cause you to make a mistake and leave an item in your backpack that was supposed to be taken out. This of course upsets the TSA agents, and you have to be searched in front of everyone, which can be quite uncomfortable.
If possible, I would suggest taking earlier flights. Not only is the airport basically empty, but the TSA line is a breeze. You can take as much time as you need, and the agents are a little more welcoming since it’s just the start of their shift. If you’re unable to take an earlier flight, you may want to check out TSA early pre-check. This allows you to skip the line, and usually, there aren’t as many people waiting on you. If neither of those options is possible for your trip, then don’t worry. Ultimately, it’s their job to help you through. And, you will get through! Just make sure to prepare for extra time, that way there is no chance you will miss your flight.
I would say a majority of airports are huge. Most of the time, you will have to take a monorail to get you to the correct terminal. The great thing about big airports is that if you have a long layover, you can do some shopping! Also, they have a ton of restaurants to choose from, which is super convenient if you’ve been flying all day. It can be super easy to get lost in the airport, so make sure you stop and look at all the directory and gate charts. This will be super helpful as you navigate through the airport.
Usually, each airline has an app you can download on your phone that will direct you through the airport. The app will also notify you if there has been a last-minute gate change and normally give you directions on how to get there. Not only are the apps great for mapping out the airport, but they also update your seat changes, plane features, and arrival times throughout your trip.
It’s super important to choose a layover that offers a decent amount of time. Unless your first flight takes off at 6 AM, most of the time, your plane will end up being delayed by a few minutes. If your layover is under an hour, it may be hard to make it on time. If you’re a plus-size traveler, like me, you want to allow for extra time to de-board the plane, ride the monorail, and run to your next gate. I always like my layovers to be at least an hour. I think that’s enough time to ensure you don’t miss the second leg of the flight.
It’s no secret that plane rides are extremely uncomfortable, especially for bigger people. Not only are the seats way too small, but so are the bathrooms and aisles. It can be very challenging trying to adjust and be comfortable, especially on a lengthy flight. I always suggest purchasing two seats. Or, you can purchase an exit row seat, which has more legroom than the average seat. Unfortunately, with both of these options, there is an upcharge. So, you could always just choose an aisle seat, as they are the most comfortable than the middle and window.
As I said, my goal for this post wasn’t to hinder you from the airport but to prepare you for what to expect. I feel like if you’re prepared, it won’t be as overwhelming. Now, if you fly all the time, you’re probably well aware of these tips and tricks. But, for my followers who don’t fly often, I hope this post was helpful to you. I must say, traveling the world makes all the uncomfortable seats, cranky TSA agents, and airport runs totally worth it! Stay tuned for more of my adventures to come as I fly around the world!
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Big Guy Big World is a travel blog, following Mark Jacoby’s journey as a big guy on a bigger journey, exploring the world during a global pandemic. Follow along as we experience some of the world’s most beautiful and exotic places.