It felt like it was going to be one of those days. It was gray, raining. I didn’t have time to make cafe con leche since I had to get on the road pronto, LaGuardia bound. I had an early flight, only to be faced with insane traffic on the Harlem River Drive. When I arrived, 20 minutes before departure, I had a feeling this weird feeling that the plane wouldn’t wait for me. And then, to make matters worse, the self-service check-in kiosk couldn’t read my credit card. Shit. I was surely going to let the students at Spelman College in Atlanta down.
Because i’m not a quitter and was determined to make my flight, I somehow got a second-wind. With 15 minutes to go, I ran to the gate seconds before a huge crowd of non-English speaking Asian tourists could beat me to the punch, and flirted my way through having to take off all my jewelry at security. Done. I borderline skipped my way over to pick up a tall skim no-whip white chocolate moca and water before boarding. On a roll, I texted my better half to let him know all in the world was turning daisy as I stepped foot onto the 757. And then I arrived at seat 23B.
I’m going to be sandwhiched between a morbidly obese woman and another, medium built woman (like myself). When I struggled to sit down, I found that the armrest would not be able to go down. And the left side of my seat was arrested by the lady’s right butt cheek and thigh. As much as I’ve traveled, this has never happened to me before. I tried to smile at her—I wouldn’t want someone to suck their teeth or growl at my sister or even a friend if she found herself in that position—and she turned over to me and whispered, “Sorry. I don’t know why Delta hasn’t made any of these seats bigger. I mean, it’s common sense.” Um, i thought. I’m not responding to that. I smiled politely, even chatting her up a bit. And then I heard the airplane door shut and I suddenly panicked. People were staring at us. Shooting me over pitiful glances. Looking at her disapprovingly (as if they didn’t have their own issues!). And I, admittedly self-conscious and terribly claustophobic, bolted up and out of my seat. I tracked down a stewardess and begged her to change my seat, which she did.
So at the hotel, I come across this article on Bloomberg which stated that as of today, many of the major airlines are going to start charging some obese passengers for an extra seat on a plane. With over 34 percent of our countrymen and women fitting squarely into this demographic, I wonder how it will fly…and for how long.