Oversize Travel Blogger Criticized for Giving Travel Tips on Free Seats for the Corpulent

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AP Photo/Ashley Landis

It seems there’s an “influencer” for everything now. 

Kirsty Leanne is a 30-something British woman, who regularly gives out online travel tips for the “plus-sized,” including how to get things like free extra seats, and she’s taking some heat for it — mostly from regular travelers who are not “plus-sized” and object to being smashed into a row with one of Ms. Leanne’s followers.

In one of her most popular videos, she discussed “one of the most daunting things about flying as a plus-sized person” — which she said is not knowing how much room she will have in her economy seat. 

Leanne advised others to ask a flight attendant at the gate if there are “any seats where there’s two seats next to each other free.”

Hint: You won’t have enough room in your economy seat. And you only paid for that seat, not a portion of the seat next to it; someone else paid for that. And they expect to have the full use of it.

She noted that it doesn’t work on every flight — especially fully booked flights — but said that it’s worth the ask.

In another video, Leanne shared a video of herself spread out across all three plane seats. 

She included additional tips in the caption, such as looking for a neighbor-free or customer-of-size airline policy, checking in late to see what additional seats are free — and choosing seats in less-desirable spots on the plane for a better chance at finding an empty seat in the row. 

Some airlines do have “customer of size” policies; I wrote of one such only days ago. That’s fine. The airlines (while subsidized) are private companies and can institute what policies they see best; rest assured that in cases like this, we here at RedState will continue to inform you of policies like this, so you can make an informed decision when booking flights.

Here’s an idea; why not charge, not for the seat, but for the weight carried? A passenger-of-girth shows up at the gate, is weighed, and informed there is a “girth surcharge” — say, the amount of a second seat. The airlines charge extra for overweight luggage; why not for overweight passengers?

Here’s the thing: Actions have consequences. In almost every case, a person like this has only themselves to blame for their corpulence. While Ms. Leanne could clearly profit from an exercise program, starting with pushing herself away from the dining table, she alone should deal with the consequences of her plus-sizedness; not the other people in that aluminum tube with her. And the airlines should be concerned; imagine an emergency requiring the aircraft to be emptied immediately. A “plus-sized” passenger clogging the aisle could very well get themselves killed, along with anyone stuck in the aisle behind them.

That’s a possibility the airlines should take seriously. Granted, that’s a small possibility; the airlines today have an unmatched safety record. The more cogent point is that the passengers who are capable of putting down the fork in time have paid for a seat for which they deserve full use.

“People of girth” may complain that the airlines are being unfair by expecting them to pay for the extra seat that their own actions have made necessary for them. Well, that’s too bad; they can’t fit in a standard airline seat, nor can they be an Olympic sprinter or a champion gymnast. Life isn’t fair, and the vast majority of these people have only themselves to blame for their issues while traveling.

Travel is stressful enough without these worries. It’s a small wonder that Ms. Leanne is, as the article notes, taking some criticism for her advice. Too many of us have had to deal with these people on flights to have much patience with someone dishing out advice on how to get free perks that the rest of us never get.

One final suggestion: We noted recently that the airlines are proposing to burn food as fuel. Maybe Ms. Leanne could volunteer to turn over some of her food budget to the ethanol producers. Two birds, one stone!

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