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Obesity possible disability, especially while travelling?

jedimasterbooboo

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  • Added on: January 15th, 2007
Well, since the 4th grade of elementary school, I've had a very close friend who's obese, and might be considered morbidly obese.

Her life is different from other people's in ways a smaller person might not have considered. The obvious issue for travelling could be airplane seats. When I flew Cathay Pacific Economy class from L.A. to China, I knew there was no way my friend could have joined us for that flight. The seats were unbelievably small.

While searching through airlinequality.com for my upcoming class, I found a post from a woman who needed an extension for her seatbelt. She was posting a thankyou to Freedom Air for the way they handled giving her the extension belt she needed. They were very discreet.

" I am a larger woman and normally have to request an extension belt for my seat. I asked an attendant at the door of the plane who whisked away and dropped it discretely into my lap on her way past. That was very appreciated when you are a large person."

She went on to say that on some airlines, the belt is a bright yellow and attracts attention.

This is just one of the countless things my friend has to go through.

Also, in the Philippines for transportation, we would have to take Jeepneys everywhere, no tricycles. Also the people would really give her a hard time. I've seen that here. I haven't discussed with her visiting me, and she hasn't brought it up, but we both know why we aren't discussing it...it's the big pink elephant in the room so to speak.

I'm wondering if we have any large sized travellers that have to make considerations or adjustments for things while travelling. What must be considered? Any tips for large travellers?
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Landire

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  • Added on: January 16th, 2007
I have naturally wide hips. They aren't fat, its just me. Sitting in seats on a plane I have to make sure that at least one of the arms raises or else I am forced to sit slightly tilted. This makes it so I cannot take an emergency exit seat.
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Keppie

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  • Added on: January 25th, 2007
quote:
Originally posted by Landire:
I have naturally wide hips. They aren't fat, its just me. Sitting in seats on a plane I have to make sure that at least one of the arms raises or else I am forced to sit slightly tilted. This makes it so I cannot take an emergency exit seat.


What do your seatmates think of the arm being raised? Are they pretty understanding?

Personally, if I was sitting next to a stranger, no way I'd let them lift the armrest... not to be mean, but I value my personal space.
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Landire

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  • Added on: January 26th, 2007
quote:
Originally posted by Keppie:
What do your seatmates think of the arm being raised? Are they pretty understanding?

Personally, if I was sitting next to a stranger, no way I'd let them lift the armrest... not to be mean, but I value my personal space.


I often get lucky and have no one next to me. But when I do I usually wait until they fall asleep and lift the arm just high enough so my hip fits comfortably under it. Or I raise it before they get to thier seat and they never seem to notice its not down. If those tactics don't work I just suffer and hope the next flight isn't as crowded.
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DreamerHelen

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  • Added on: January 30th, 2007
I am considered to be obese...and I don't mind talking about it because at the moment I am trying to lose weight with a healthy eating plan...

I am also 6 feet tall...so my travelling life is not always easy..LoL.

I don't always have to have a seatbelt extension, depends on the Plane and the Carrier...usually I do with most Budget Airlines...

However I spend most of the journey with my knees up around my ears and can barely walk when I get off the plane...this is partly to do with my Height...but also to do with my weight because my legs are quite large...

I have to pack extra clothes because i know that in most countries I won't be able to find any extra's to fit me...the one excception to that is the USA where I can even get clothes to fit me at WalMart...which is great.

I also find, the other thing, is that because I'm fairly unfit it's difficult to walk around too much...which I found exhausting when in Paris and I was walking pretty much constantly...

I don't usually get looks, because I don't think I'm huge, just big...but I was walking up the huge stairs in MontMarte to get to the Sacre Couer and I had to keep stopping...partly cause I had jarred my hip the week before but also because I was out of breath and a few people that passed me kinda looked at me...

I'm also a little self-conscious about beds when I'm travelling...some of them look pretty frail and I keep thinking "What if I break it" and how embarrassing would that be!!! Luckily so far it hasn't happened (touch wood!)...

Buses/Coaches are a nightmare because they have these tiny little seats and if I sit next to someone else they kind of shuffle across and sigh at me under their breath...which I find a little embarrassing.

So yes, there ARE downsides to being obese and being a traveller, but I haven't let it stop me so far...and I AM doing something about it...even losing a few stone (just under 50 pounds) would help...and would make my life easier...

jpwic

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  • Added on: April 23rd, 2007
I havent done any serious travel yet and I am on the large side (6'3" 300+ lbs at the moment. 50 pant size.) While I don't find walking on level ground bothers me too much I tend to get winded pretty easily walking up inclines. I want to join a gym but trying to justify the $500+ each year while trying to save is difficult. My personal worst fear isn't that I wouldn't be able to handle the walking but not being able to fit in the planes seat and being forced to buy a second ticket if I still wanted to go. Just let me state I am not ashamed at my size but I'm the type of person who just has to look at food and the pounds start adding up.
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DreamerHelen

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  • Added on: April 24th, 2007
Well so far jpwic I haven't been asked to buy a second ticket to fly...but I have heard of this happening in the USA and I'm sure it happens in other places...

Walking isn't too much of a problem for me, although I DO get a little tired if I walk too far or up hills...but the best thing for that is for you to just go out on long walks...

Don't bother joining a gym if you don't want to...and if you can't afford it or don't want to spend the money...instead go for long walks instead of using your car, play basketball or football with your friends, get a cheap treadmill that you can use at home...there are plenty of ideas to do some exercise.

I'm not ashamed of my size either and in fact I've been finding it rather difficult to lose the weight because I can't seem to find the motivation. but I DO know that I need to lose weight...just for myself...

HoneyBear

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  • Added on: April 24th, 2007
Hello all, it's been a while since anyone looked at the thread but I wanted to put a few words in. I'm obese as well and have arthritis in both knees as well as an injured calf muscle and I have to use a cane. We only travel Garuda Business Class now (we have only been going to Bali)which gives you more seat and leg room. I still struggle at putting the tray down to eat though as it hits my belly.
I usually ask for a seatbelt extender when I board although I have been asked if I require one (discretely). I don't care what people think. I also organise a wheelchair at the airports due to the long walks from the plane to customs etc.
The whole point of writing this is that you have as much right to travel in comfort as everyone else and if that necessitates using aids then so be it. Travel and the world is for everyone. Sharon.

DreamerHelen

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  • Added on: April 25th, 2007
I agree Sharon!! Travelling is not some exclusive club that only a few people can join...it should be for everyone, young and old and everyone in between...disabled...fat/thin/tall/small and all the variations under the sun!!

Losing weight is hard work, and some people are happy with their size, which is great!! I however DO want to lose weight, mainly for my health and to make it easier for me to travel...

michey_b

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  • Added on: April 25th, 2007
interesting thread i didnt know that you could get seatbelt extensions i just manage to get mine shut whilst cutting off blood supply!

My one fear is bunk beds - and i panic where i go to a hostel that has pre assigned beds. I really fear that one day im going to have to get on that top bunk.

It almost happened once in Prague - with those stupid bunks that have no ladders - where you have to pull yourself up - thankfully this one guy saw that i was panicking and swapped with me - he was my saviour.

Mich

DreamerHelen

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  • Added on: April 26th, 2007
I know what you mean Michey!! In Poland I had a bottom bunk at first, which was great (except that I almost put my knee through the wood!!)...but we switched rooms and I had to go on the top bunk...

Luckily they had ladders but it was still hard to get up there and the beds were really really shaky so I lay there all night being terrified to move!!

I always try to get a bottom bunk if I can...

Zopa

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  • Added on: April 30th, 2007
My friend _a____w is a rather large dude. we went to see an imax film and the bar that comes down to keep you in your seat crushed him so that the only thing that could give way was the seat, so he ended up crushing the seat. he was very embarassed and pissed off and i felt bad for him.

same homeboy also walked 200 miles of santiago de compostela w/lots of naysayers staring, mouth agape.

i have been w/him many times when people were staring and sometimes, in my home country of america, when they speak another language and assume that the mysteries and intrigues of their language woud escape our simple minds, point and giggle and make comments when he is nearby. more than once, i have wanted to inflict some sort of act upon them to demonstrate to them that giggling and making fun are universially understood and thta they should take their ugly selves out of our presence real quick-like, lest i select from one of the wide array of crimes widely available in our culture as my gift to them.
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Whistler

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  • Added on: May 1st, 2007
Didn't know about seat extensions either but do get the belt done up by a whisker - just! I always ask for an aisle seat as I find this is a little easier than trying to squeeze in-between others, plus you can stretch your legs a little in the aisle. And yes, those little fold down trays on the airlines always dig into my stomach, even when the person in front doesn't recline their seat. I only pull it down if I'm drinking anything.

Having arthritis in my knees (and neck/shoulder area), I can relate to bunk bed problems. Try asking for a lower bunk when booking, explaining you're unable to climb up. I have found that the hostels(YHA) were very understanding and gave me a bottom bunk. In Christchurch NZ, they even placed a written sign on the bed saying "Reserved for S......".

Even on buses, when at home or travelling, I always sit in the aisle seat, easier for me, and less embarrassment too, and I always pray that a thin person will sit next to me.
Is it just my imagine or did seats everywhere used to be bigger a long time ago?


Have a nice day, Whistler.


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travelclown

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  • Added on: May 3rd, 2007
Hi everyone,
I just wanted to encourage you all to keep on traveling!
Obesity isn't a problem for me but I am tall and have multiple sclerosis. You should know that everyone who is different gets stared at...a cane, a wheelchair, or depending on where you go, just being white could be a reason! Don't let people's ignorance stop you. The more overweight people will travel, the more "normal" (for lack of a better word) and easy it will become. You may not be able to climb on a top bunk bed, but I can't either! The world is full of obstacles and some people have more then others. But you can overcome them! You only have one life to live and you deserve to roam our beautiful planet as much as anyone else! So dare to pack your bags and don't give a s*** about what people think! Good luck!

DreamerHelen

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  • Added on: May 3rd, 2007
Thanks travelclown, that's a really great post!! Smile

I have just re-started my Diet today...still not sure how it will go but even if I only lose a few pounds I'm not going to worry about it...

My main thing is being able to live out my dreams and go where I want to go, when I want to go!!

And I agree, people will always get stared at no matter where they are and who they are and what they look like...it's not just people who are overweight...


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