'We all deserve to be happy, to travel, to be loved, to love ourselves, to experience life to the fullest and so much more,' she stated.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on August 12, 2022. It has since been updated.
A 25-year-old content creator has sparked an important discussion about the many struggles plus-size individuals face when traveling. Jae'lynn Chaney, who has more than 103,000 followers on TikTok, gained attention after her series, "Plus-Size Travel Struggles," amassed more than 19 million views collectively. "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," Jaelynn told BuzzFeed.
In the videos, Jaelynn talks about a number of things she hates when it comes to flying and visiting different places. "These are some of the struggles that plus-size travelers face. Travel is possible for everyBODY, but it definitely comes with challenges and should be more accessible," she captioned the first video in the series. In the short clip—which has been viewed more than 15 million times—Jaelynn mentions eight inconveniences she faces when using air travel: When the tray table can't come down, worrying about asking for a seatbelt extender, having little to no room to move, narrow aisles and bulkhead seats, tiny airplane bathrooms, worrying you're going to break the toilet, getting pat down because you're fat and tiny airport chairs with armrests.
In the second video of the series, Jaelynn points out how the travel industry is not kind to plus-size individuals with real-life examples, including towels that are too small, souvenir shops that don't carry a wide range of sizes, getting stuck with two twin mattresses instead of king, etc. The TikTok user shared a few more examples in the third video from the series before leaving her followers with an empowering message: "Despite the challenges, travel is worth it."
Sharing her thoughts on what the travel industry can do to better support bodies of all sizes, Jaelynn 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. 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."
"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," she added. This is a message Jaelynn often spreads through her social media profiles. "I will never stop advocating for people of all sizes and abilities to feel empowered when traveling," she wrote in one post. "I came from a broken home and was homeless 8 times before I moved out on my own at 17. As early as the age of 7, I was told regularly that I would never amount to anything. That I would never graduate high school. That I would never go to college. That I would never be worthy of love. That I would never be considered beautiful. That I would never do anything with my life. That I would never get the chance to do things like travel."
"I’ve been proving those people who told me those things wrong my entire life and I will continue to do so. We all deserve to be happy, to travel, to be loved, to love ourselves, to experience life to the fullest, and so much more," she added. "If someone is telling you that you can't do something, PROVE THEM WRONG. You can do anything you set your mind and heart on. I believe in you and I'm rooting for you every step of the way. You got this!"