I Sat Between 2 People of Size On A Flight & It Was Wonderful

by SharonKurheg

Not long ago, the internet was all atwitter because Australian American political journalist Sydney Watson took to Twitter to complain about how she was “wedged” between two people of size on her flight. In her rant, she essentially “fat shamed” anyone who was overweight.

She didn’t end it there, either – she continued on for 6 more live tweets about what an awful situation she was in.

Watson is no stranger to controversial subjects and she’s obviously jumped on the bandwagon of scapegoating people who are different from her or who make her feel uncomfortable. I can’t say I “get it” because I would never act that way towards people, but based on things she’s said in the past, I’m not really surprised, either. Anyway, the remarks got her the attention she appeared to be craving.

American Airlines initially slapped back and said their passengers come in all different shapes and sizes but they were sorry she was uncomfortable on her flight.

However about a week later, they inexplicably changed their tune and issued her a $150 trip credit for her troubles, as a “gesture of goodwill.”

“I can understand your disappointment with the situation not being remedied to your satisfaction,” the email said.

“We appreciate you contacting us regarding this matter. Above all, we appreciate your business and look forward to welcoming you aboard again soon.”

Watson’s response?

“I’d rather take the $150 American Airlines offered me as a refund and give it to someone who needs a PT or a gym membership.”

Yeah…she’s a real gem, huh?

Anyway, funnily enough, when I was boarding MY plane not long ago, I had a similar situation as Watson. Since I was traveling alone, I figured I’d save the money I’d have to spend by picking my seat and let the airline assign me one. Not surprisingly, I got a middle seat. But I didn’t care; I was flying home from MA and it was only a 3-hour flight.

As I approached my row, I saw that my row mates were already in their respective window and aisle seats. Both were men, and both were tall and, yes, people of size. As I went to sit in my seat, one of them said to me, “Looks like we’re going to have cozy quarters for a few hours. Sorry about that.” I brushed it off and told him, “No worries.”

Bless their hearts, neither of them were manspreaders (or maybe they were consciously not manspreading, I dunno. But if they had, I would’ve been ready). Despite that, yeah, they were both touching my hips, outer thighs, shoulders and upper arms. Neither of them was doing it in any sort of inappropriate way, of course – they were just, you know, bigger than a typical airline seat (which isn’t difficult, nowadays).

The plane was, of course, really cold (here’s why planes are always cold nowadays), and I was glad I was wearing jeans and a long-sleeved shirt.

When the flight was over, the guy who had mentioned the “cozy quarters” (when I was originally getting into my seat) again apologized if I felt (his words) “squashed” during the flight. The other guy also chimed in, with a sheepish, “Yeah sorry about that.”

I looked at both of them and said, “Are you kidding? This plane was FREEZING! You two helped keep me a whole lot warmer. Thank-you for that!” They both laughed.

So yeah – two people in the same situation, who had two totally different responses. Watson, sitting between two people of size, took the opportunity to insult an entire demographic. I, on the other hand, tried to make my row mates feel a little less self-conscious by pointing out the benefit of sitting between them.

Don’t be a Sydney Watson, y’all. Be a Sharon.

Feature Photo: Rawpixel

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Matthew - Live and Let's Fly November 1, 2022 - 7:25 pm

Nice Sharon. Nicely done.

SharonKurheg November 1, 2022 - 7:52 pm

Thank-you. I just don’t understand people sometimes, y’know?

Lisa November 1, 2022 - 7:50 pm

I agree with Sydney

SharonKurheg November 1, 2022 - 7:54 pm

To each their own. However there is no excuse for her behavior (save for attention seeking and not being a nice person).

Bryna November 1, 2022 - 8:12 pm

God, I love you, Sharon! Everyone should have just a shred of decency in this lifetime and maybe this planet will survive!

Pat November 2, 2022 - 5:32 am

I’m on Team Sharon.

tornadoburnzky November 1, 2022 - 8:25 pm

If you don’t fit in an airline seat, buy an extra seat. I am not going to share my 17 inches of seat.

SharonKurheg November 1, 2022 - 8:27 pm

That’s too bad. I happily will; it’s not that much of a sacrifice.

Danny November 1, 2022 - 9:08 pm

Thank you for making the world a better place. We will all have to stand before God one day to give an account of the good and bad we have done. You have done good on this day.

Sid November 1, 2022 - 9:18 pm

Team Sydney! What happened to personal space?

SharonKurheg November 1, 2022 - 9:23 pm

It’s one thing to be uncomfortable. it’s another to insult millions of people of size because you happen to be uncomfortable for a few hours. You can suck it up and still be polite about it.

Cookie November 1, 2022 - 9:18 pm

Thanks for being a Sharon and not a Karen (or a Sydney).

derek November 1, 2022 - 10:24 pm

I will disagree with everyone.

It’s possible that Sharon is small so that her shoulder width is a tad less than Sydney. Maybe the big men were a tad less wide than Sydney’s people. If the men were 3/16″ less wide and Sharon is 1/8″ less wide, that totals about 1/2″ more space and less compression.

I was once squeezed between two big soldiers of a South American military. I said nothing because they were stronger and the flight was only an hour. I sat twisted a bit.

Ed November 1, 2022 - 11:19 pm

I feel very uncomfortable being touched by a stranger especially in a prolonged setting where I feel trapped and can’t move away. The author has a different level of tolerance for body contact. If no other seats were available I would have endured the trip in silence. Better to swallow my misery than to spread it.

ArlMark November 1, 2022 - 11:32 pm

Disagree in part.

I don’t want to be touched and I refuse to be made to feel bad for that. I’ve been on flights with huge people who have scrunched up enough that it wasn’t a problem, so no harm no foul. But if you touch me, then why am I not within my rights to find a way to stop that. You (metaphorical general literally “you”) don’t get to dictate what I feel is comfortable; it doesn’t have to match what you think is comfortable.

However, if someone goes on a multi-week rant like she did and starts talking about gym memberships, we’ve exited the personal space discussion at that point and we’re in to a-hole territory.

SharonKurheg November 1, 2022 - 11:36 pm

And that’s fair. Don’t get me wrong – if given a choice of sitting for 3 hours with people touching me on either side or not, of course I’d rather not (although the body warmth really WAS appreciate; it was COLD in there!). But if you’re stuck in a situation like that, you can handle it with grace (like I hope/think I did), or you can be an a-hole (like I think the Australian woman was).

Mike Hulst November 1, 2022 - 11:51 pm

That’s the way to go, Sharon! For all the Sydney’s around: just make sure you never end up in the middle seat, there are lot’s of opportunities to avoid it, as personal space is always restricted there. If the people of size can avoid middle seats, the smaller people can do this as well. And otherwise, accept the consequences of not spending those extra dollars and let the airline assign your (middle) seat.


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