Traveling while plus-sized…and tall…and anxious…
Posted on September 10 2022
For the Labour Day long weekend, I took a trip to Comox, British Columbia to hang out with my (favourite) aunt Marilou and her adorable dog Essy. I had a flight booked from Calgary to Vancouver, a short layover and then off to Comox for a 3-night stay.
Well…that didn’t exactly go as planned. Once I boarded the flight to Comox, we sat in a very hot puddle-jumper for about 45 minutes (longer than the actual flight)…then were asked to de-plane while they addressed a mechanical issue. I hung out in the terminal before we were eventually told the flight was cancelled. While I waited for my bag, I called WestJet to see if I could be moved to a later flight. I thought luck was on my side and was rescheduled to fly out later that evening. Easy peasy right?
I was just about to go through security again when my aunt texted…your new flight is cancelled?!? Huh 😳?!? I went back to the check-in desks to find out…yup sick pilots = cancelled flights. I wouldn’t be able to fly out until 9:30pm the next night, which would have taken another day out of my trip.
Rather than waste another day in the Vancouver airport, I asked WestJet to cancel and refund that portion of my trip. I was able to book a flight early the next morning with Harbour Air. Here's me at the Olympic Torches in Vancouver on my way to my first seaplane ride - hooray!
Now the fun task began of finding a hotel in downtown Vancouver. Little did I know I was up against long weekend tourists and the Poison/Def Leppard Stadium Tour. I finally found a hotel with an available room and off I went. This came with the added bonus of having DoorDash bring me Tacofino for dinner. I love technology!
Traveling for me at the best of times brings out my anxious side. There are many things out of your control when you travel, and I don’t like feeling out of control. I do my best to focus on what is within my control, but throw in COVID-19, being hot and sweaty in a mask, etc. People (ie. me) get cranky and emotions start running high.
I was definitely annoyed at having my plans derailed. But no one was purposely trying to “ruin” my weekend. I looked for the silver lining of how I could turn this into an adventure. I’m fortunate that I have the means to be able to book a hotel room and an alternate flight on short notice. I certainly felt for the families who were traveling with little kids all day!
Now layer in being tall and plus-sized on top of that. Things get a little more interesting! But here’s what I learned from this experience: It’s OK to ask for help and advocate for yourself!
When I got on the seaplane, I really had no sense of how tiny those planes are. There is one row of single seats and another of “double seats.” I had picked my seat ahead of time and asked for a single seat. Honestly, I find on those tiny planes, it’s “easier” to pick the single seat when you’re plus-sized. I’m sure many plus folks have felt the scathing glare from someone who doesn’t want to get stuck sitting beside them on a bus, plane, event, etc. Heaven forbid your shoulder touches a fat person!
After crouching and maneuvering to get into the plane, I sat in my seat to find out that the seat belts were not long enough for me. Fortunately, the pilot was standing beside to me so I could quietly ask for a seat belt extender. I’ve never had to do that before. It felt uncomfortable…like is everyone staring at me because I need a special seat belt? It takes hard work to get that voice out of your head and focus on YOUR NEEDS. It was about me focusing on what I needed to be comfortable for the flight. If someone judged me for that, it says more about them than it does about me.
I hadn’t experienced flight cancellations for many years, so I was honestly pretty confused about what to do. I’m generally pretty hesitant to ask for help, but I had to swallow my pride and ask A LOT of questions. "I haven’t done this before…can you please help me?" Overall, I do have to say the WestJet and Harbour Air staff were all fantastic, helpful and compassionate.
I eventually made it to Comox the following morning after a very relaxing sleep at the Exchange Hotel in downtown Vancouver. Comox is a truly beautiful seaside town - definitely worth the trip if you ever have the opportunity! Here's a photo I took from Air Force Beach in Comox on an early morning walk during low tide. Absolutely breathtaking!
Plus-sized folks deserve to see the world and experience all of the adventures every bit as much as straight-sized people. Here are some great blogs to follow about traveling while plus-sized. Be sure to give them a follow!
Until next time – be well!
Aymie | The Curvy Shop