You are currently viewing A plus-size traveler wants an extra seat for free (but free means you will be the one paying)

Would you be willing to pay more for a plane ticket if it meant someone else could enjoy a free extra seat to be more comfortable? If airlines give a free extra seat to plus-size travelers, the cost will be passed on in every passenger’s airfare… so this topic is dividing travelers.

A self-described plus-sized travel blogger has sparked some controversy after starting a petition to make the government make airlines protect overweight passengers including by giving out a free 2nd seat.

The plus-sized traveler has said that having to pay for a second seat to accommodate her body is discrimination. The issue has been dividing opinions in the travel world recently, and we want to know what you think as a traveler. Here are the details.


Free seats for plus-sized passengers

Here are the basics:

  • Blogger Jaelynn Chaney created the petition
    • She is a plus-sized travel and lifestyle creator
    • She is based in Vancouver (Washington) but travels often
  • The petition asks for free extra seats (1 extra seat or even 2)
    • To accommodate larger bodies when flying
    • For any passenger who needs more space to travel comfortably
  • The alternative demand is for airlines to refund the cost of extra seats
    • That’s basically the same thing with the same effects
  • The petition also asks for improvements at security checkpoints
    • To end “mistreatment” of plus-sized travelers
  • The petition has gained over 17,000 signatures
    • It’s addressed to the government (the FAA, the U.S. DOT, the TSA) and to airlines

The petition is the latest thing to go viral and cause drama in the travel world.


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A post shared by Jaelynn Chaney (@jaebaeproductions)



Should plus-size passengers get free seats?

The petition and the associated social media posts and press have been causing a big divide. Some people think airlines should cater to plus-sized passengers who experience “discomfort and discrimination” when flying. 

In her petition, Jaelynn Chaney states;

“Airlines should offer a refund for plus-size passengers who purchase additional seats independently.”

She also claims:

“All plus-size passengers should be provided with an extra free seat, or even 2 or 3 seats depending on their size, to accommodate their needs and ensure their comfort during the flight.”

The full list of demands in the petition includes training staff to help them handle “sensitive” situations better, free seats or seat refunds, the possibility of changing seat arrangements, offering wheelchairs, and easier-to-access bathrooms. 

In interviews, when it was pointed out that airlines would most likely pass the cost onto other passengers by raising ticket costs, Chaney admitted that others would shoulder the cost. 

While some have praised the petition saying it is necessary and would make flying more accessible for lots of people, others are furious at being asked to pay extra so others can fly. 

Many think that those who are plus sized and need extra seats should be the only ones to pay for said extra seats.

What do you think? 


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A plus-size travel blogger and thousands of supporters want extra seats for overweight passengers to be free for them and subsidized by everyone else onboard a plane (because the cost would be passed along in everyone’s ticket price), while other travelers are quite opposed to that.

What would you like to know about free seats for plus-size passengers? Tell us in the comments below.


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Featured image: The petition organizer (photo credit: JaeBaeProductions on Instagram)

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Emily Derrick

Now based in France, Emily is a writer from the UK with a passion for travel. Her love for adventuring was sparked during her time living and traveling in Canada as well as multiple trips across Europe. Emily always takes the scenic route to get to the heart of a country and when she isn't writing, she can be found outside with her two dogs Hugo and Suzette.

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Zofia

    Seriously? I used to be twice the size I am now and the discomfort was mine to bare and mine alone. It’s not the same as being disabled, while a small percentage of obese (yes, obese, I refuse to see this medical term as a slur and will continue to use it) people are this size due to illness, most of us got there on our own accord. And weight on a plane matters – there is a limit a plane can carry, just like we pay for excess luggage, we should pay for excess body weight when it’s way above average. And for extra seats. Airlines and their passengers are not a charity. Life is not fair, tall people are uncomfortable on planes too. Some people never fly at all because they cannot afford it. And you’re asking them to pay for your extra seat? Do you ask the restaurant to give you an extra portion because you eat more? Seriously people stop being so entitled.

  2. Pat Parsons

    Airplane seat size has continued to shrink through the years, making a lot of people extremely uncomfortable. We always pay extra for a seat extra couple inches of legroom but upgrading to a wider seat is well out of or price range. My husband’s shoulders alway extend beyond his seat back, which puts his elbows into the aisle (he has been bruised by flight attendants’ carts on their return trips to the service area) or into my much needed space. This man is very, very slender, but 6’2. Not an unusual height these days. Disabling the recline feature would be a start, but rethinking economy seat size is the real issue. Start there, and then address those with special needs.

  3. LS

    I am 5’11” and my husband is 6’2”. We always pay extra to try to get the emergency exit or the bulkhead. It is a cost we incur to fly. When we can’t get it, the flight is very uncomfortable. I often see people who are very short in these seats. Should I be complaining that it’s unfair or discrimination and demand those seats should be saved for tall people at the expense of others?
    I’ve sat in a regular seat before and had a plus size person beside me, spreading their legs into my area or their body overflowing into my seat. I have to sit directly straight forward, losing my paid leg space, with my knees jammed into the seat in front. If I accept purchasing a seat to have more legroom, then a plus size person should have the option to purchase a second seat to have the space they need.
    I think all tall flyers would like two free seats so that they can sit sideways to accommodate their height. I’m sure everyone has a “right” or preference that would justify more room on an airplane.
    Where do you draw the line?

  4. Roxy

    I think it’s not anyone else responsability then the person who needs it. I gain a lot of pounds during pandemic and the only person to blame is myself! The airline and the other passengers should not have to pay extra for it. Traveling is a privilege and I personally think it’s very entitled to ask for special treatment like this or to expect other people to pay for it! It will be discriminatory for the rest of us if we need to pay for them 🤷🏻‍♀️

  5. TL@

    If you’re that large you need 2 seats, you should pay for 2 seats. When you go to McDonalds and need 2 McMenu’s because 1 isn’t large enough, you pay for 2 don’t you?

  6. Irene Power

    No and no. Not a dime…

  7. Linda Foy

    I feel that airlines need to accommodate plus size people.
    I also think that the airline needs to accept that they need 2 seats
    And must accept that it is their responsibility to fly people to their destination and if that means 2 seats to accomplish that then 2 seats it is.
    No cost for extra seat and they should not be charging more of other people or the plus size person.
    I am not a plus size person but feel everyone should have an opportunity to travel without paying double.

    1. TL@

      That’s not how an economy works. An airline isn’t a charity, 2 seats cost more and somebody is going to pay the extra seat. Since nobody forces you to eat more and I don’t beleive that somebody needs to pay for anyone elses problem: the plus size (apparently it’s not done anymore to call someone fat) person needs to pay for the extra space they need (just like when you take more luggage with you)

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