The travel and lifestyle influencer is advocating for the Federal Aviation Authority to take action to safeguard the rights of plus-sized passengers. The goal for Jaelynn Chaney is for airlines to make flying-in coaches a comfortable and accessible experience for individuals of all sizes. She also wants airlines to be mandated to refund overweight flyers for any extra seat they’re forced to purchase when booking.
‘As plus-size travelers, my partner and I have unfortunately experienced discrimination and discomfort while flying,’ the plus-size influencer wrote in her petition.
She added in the petition since signed by over 4K people, that “all plus-size passengers should be provided with an extra free seat, or even two or three seats depending on their size, to accommodate their needs and ensure their comfort during the flight.’ Addressing reimbursements, Jaelynn stated: ‘Airlines should offer a refund for plus-size passengers who purchase additional seats independently.’
The influencer also said of the refund suggestion: ‘This should be a straightforward process that can be accessed online or through customer service.’
Jaelynn acknowledged that if her advocacy efforts are successful, it may, however, result in increased ticket prices and further claimed that ‘during a flight from Pasco to Denver, my fiancé was subjected to hateful comments, disapproving looks, and even a refusal to sit next to them, amounting to discrimination. Similarly, on another flight, I was forced to occupy only one seat with immovable armrests that caused me pain and bruises.’
Currently, Jaelynn uses seatbelt extenders for comfort. And so far, she hasn’t addressed why she doesn’t opt for business or first-class seats, which often offer larger seating options.
In addition to her advocacy, Jaelynn stressed the importance of training for airline crew members. Per DailyMail, she believes crew members should receive training on how to effectively accommodate plus-size travelers, including handling sensitive situations and providing appropriate customer service. She advocates for TSA to implement specific training and clear guidelines for screening, including training agents on how to respectfully interact with plus-size travelers.
Jaelynn highlighted the need for accessible screening equipment that can accommodate passengers of varying body sizes.
She also suggested the inclusion of wheelchair-accessible bathrooms on all new airplanes. ‘This change will improve accessibility for passengers of all sizes and abilities, allowing them to use the restroom comfortably and without difficulty. “This will promote a more inclusive and accommodating travel experience, demonstrating the industry’s commitment to serving all passengers equally,’ Jaelynn wrote. While she doesn’t have an answer on who would bear the cost of the changes suggested, Jaelynn believes the changes would outweigh the costs.
“It is difficult to provide a one-size-fits-all answer to the question of who will pay for the policies mentioned in the petition,’ she told Fox News in a statement.
Jaelynn added: “Implementing policies to accommodate plus-size passengers may come with associated costs, but these costs must be weighed against the benefits of creating a more welcoming and inclusive travel experience.” She pointed out that airlines could stop overselling tickets, so they can be used to accommodate larger passengers and says she believes the ‘government may have a role to play in funding or incentivizing these policies, as part of its responsibility to promote accessible and equitable transportation for all citizens.’
‘In the end, the question of who will pay for these policies should not be a barrier to taking action,’ she further told Fox, while she also said in her petition ‘by implementing these requirements, airlines will create a more inclusive and welcoming environment for all passengers, regardless of their size. It’s time for the airline industry to take a stand and commit to creating a more inclusive and accommodating environment for all passengers. Join us in demanding that the FAA take action to protect plus-size travelers.’
Through videos posted on her Instagram account, Jaelynn documents the challenges she faces while flying.
These videos have shown where she and her boyfriend have been tightly packed into seats, as well as where fellow passengers have made insensitive comments, including asking her if she purchased two seats. ‘They say it’s not fair to the person who has to sit next to me if I don’t,’ read an overlay on one of the videos. ‘When I tell them I do, they say I’m selfish for taking a seat from another.’
When Jaelynn is unable to secure additional seating to accommodate her size and is forced to occupy only one seat, it often results in discomfort, pain, and chafing.
The Vancouver-based explained: ‘This mistreatment of plus-size passengers is unacceptable, and it highlights the urgent need for better policies that protect the dignity and rights of all passengers, regardless of size. Unfortunately, plus-size passengers often experience discomfort and discrimination when flying. The lack of a uniform customer-of-size airline policy is unacceptable and must be addressed.’