Traveling while fat.

It doesn’t matter where I’m going or how long the flight is; I cannot stand traveling by plane. I hate the entire experience – immigration, waiting rooms, baggage claims. I especially hate the fact that I’m always chosen for a “random” security check. What – is it the tattoos and piercings?

Being fat puts a whole other spin on the ordeal too, and all of my concerns have been brought to the surface with my trip to the USA next month.

//// Luggage Weight
Yep – being fat means needing more fabric to cover our bodies, which in turn means a single item of clothing can be double or even triple the weight of the average thin person’s. When I look at my little sister’s medium sized suitcase and how I have to have a large suitcase just to fit the same amount of stuff in, I have to admit that it gets frustrating. When airlines have a 23 kg limit, and I have to bring toiletries, cosmetics and even hair appliances (it takes a lot of effort to make this girl look good!) there’s a very good chance I’m going to have to pay the overweight luggage fee if I plan on buying anything while on holiday.

//// Plane seats
I have been very very fortunate to have been able to travel on premium economy and business class whenever I’ve had to do a long-haul flight. In fact, I can only remember ever sitting in economy for a flight over 7 hours long in 2000 when I was visiting my godparents in Hamburg and I was only a size 16-18 then so it wasn’t such a terrible experience.

I was hoping to fly on Qantas to New York because my parents are frequent flyer members and I wanted them to upgrade me. But to purchase an upgradeable ticket costs AUD3500. And – after forking out that ridiculous amount of money – you may end up stuck in economy anyway because you don’t know whether actually get to upgrade your seat until a few days before your flight. Lame, Qantas. Really lame.

So, this time, I’m flying Cathay Pacific. Economy. Eight hours to Hong Kong and then 16 hours to New York. And to be honest with you, readers… I am so dreading the flights that I’ve had a bit of a cry about it already.

I am a size 22. I need a seatbelt extender. I am not at all embarrassed about needing one; I am completely fine with requesting one loud enough for other people to hear. But, as I’m sure you can all deduce… if you need a seatbelt extender there’s very high chance that the armrest digs into your sides and some of your belly may even spill over a little. I can handle this for about 6 hours but anything more and it becomes torture… because when you spill over the armrests you can imagine just how limited your attempts at getting comfortable are. You can’t put your legs up, you can’t turn and sleep sideways.. you’re basically doomed to sit upright for the entire flight.

//// Bathrooms
I can fit quite comfortably in the cubicles. But as soon as I need to do something that goes outside of the usual standing straight, bending over to pull my knickers down, or sitting down manoeuvres, things get tricky. I mean, even trying to put a tampon in can be a huge acrobatic feat. Last time this happened, I knocked my elbow so hard against the wall of the bathroom that I had an attendant banging on the door to make sure I hadn’t collapsed inside!

//// Lack of Sleep
The rest of the above issues wouldn’t be so bad if I could just fall asleep on the plane. But I can’t. I think the longest I’ve ever slept on a plane is about 3 hours. So I always try to keep myself busy by writing, reading and watching a tonne of movies. My iPad will be choc full of entertainment. And thank God Cathay Pacific is equipped with charging docks in economy.

So, do any of you have any tips on making a long-haul flight more comfortable especially when it comes to sleep?

Please let me know. You could save me a lot of tears, believe me!

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