‘Plus-sized’ woman demands free seats and more from airlines

Jae’lynn Chaney, a plus-size travel social media influencer from Vancouver, Washington, has started a Change.org petition titled “Demand for the FAA to Protect Plus-Sized Customers” in which she calls for airlines to better accommodate larger passengers when traveling.

Chaney’s own recent experience on a flight from Pasco, WA to Denver spurred her to act, as she and her fiancé were subjected to discrimination and received “hateful comments” and “disapproving looks” from other passengers. In her petition, Chaney claims this is not the first time she has felt discriminated against while flying, citing an instance in which she occupied only one seat with immovable armrests that caused her pain and bruises.

Chaney has proposed a number of demands, including that the FAA require airlines to implement a clear customer-of-size policy that prioritizes the comfort and well-being of all passengers and provides larger seats, seat belt extenders, and alternative seating arrangements. She has also called for airlines to provide plus-size travelers with an extra free seat or two and to fully reimburse them for additional seats purchased on their own.

Additionally, Chaney has called for larger-sized bathrooms for plus-size travelers and for the TSA to implement clear guidelines for screening plus-size travelers, providing sensitivity training, and offering accessible screening equipment.

Chaney’s petition has gained nearly 4,000 signatures of her set goal of 5,000, and she has nearly 100,000 followers on Instagram. She hopes her campaign will lead to improved air travel experiences for plus-size passengers.