'The industry needs to realize that the average woman is no longer a size 14. They are now a size 18 and beyond.'
Traveling as a plus-size person is extremely hard as amenities are made for a standardized form of body shape. People are judged, forced into uncomfortable situations and made to adjust. Jae'lynn Chane, a travel blogger and plus-size advocate, is trying to educate people about the struggles faced by plus-size women while traveling and helping them understand how they can let go of their biases. Jae, who has more than 108,000 followers on TikTok, recently became known for her series titled "Plus-Size Travel Struggles," in which she describes the challenges in a sector still hostile to people of all body sizes and shapes. In her videos, the TikTok user analyzes her experiences and clarifies how airlines, hotels and other businesses routinely fail to accommodate larger-bodied travelers. Her TikTok videos have received more than 16 million views.
Jae explains in her videos things that she completely despises as a plus-size traveler. It includes people who are staring at her all the time, chairs with armrests and not being able to find clothes of her size anywhere. She told BuzzFeed, "I decided to start documenting and sharing the struggles that plus-size people face when traveling because a lot of plus-size people can relate to these struggles, yet they are rarely talked about, especially by someone my size."
She lists a few things that she hated about flying and one of them is having little to no room to move freely. She also hates narrow aisles and bulkhead seats and said that is a struggle when the tray table can't come down. She has anxiety about asking for a seatbelt extender and feels uncomfortable in small airplane bathrooms. Moreover, she worries about breaking the toilet seats wherever she chooses to travel and can never find accessible hiking trails and paths for plus-size people.
The blogger notes that she is patted down often at airport security because she is fat and always wonders if she is going to fit into public transportation. She also thinks that pool ladders or as a matter of fact, any ladders are also inaccessible and there are very limited seating options available for her in the poolside area. Moreover, there are restaurants that have no seating for plus-size people posing a major struggle while traveling.
She said, "The industry needs to realize that the average woman is no longer a size 14. They are now a size 18 and beyond. Yet as we’ve gotten bigger, things like airplane seats, clothing, and everything else have gotten smaller or stayed the exact same." Jae continued, "To see a true change, the industry needs to stop ignoring the needs of plus-size individuals and start expanding to meet our needs and become truly inclusive."
"People of all colors, sizes, and abilities exist, and we deserve to have access to things that others have had for years."
She also gives the example of turnstiles and how she worries she will get stuck and the numerous hate comments she gets for being a fat traveler. However, she is doing everything she can to advocate for change. She said, "As an advocate for people of all sizes and abilities I wanted to share that while there are many obstacles when traveling as a plus-size person, it’s still totally worth it."
By enabling passengers to share their stories, she aids in the representation of travelers' voices by creating the research-driven "Flying While Fat" animation documentary. She is also more than willing to discuss the frustrating, unpleasant and stressful issues that plus-size people encounter. Her videos help plus-sized people find options to make their travel comfortable and let others know what struggles they face. She writes in a caption of a video her response to why she will never stop talking about plus-size travel, "I came from a broken home and was homeless 8 times before I moved out at 17. People told me I’d never get the chance to do things like this. So I’m proving them wrong now and you can too!"