Plus Size Air Travel Tips: Making Air Travel Fun Again

I travel A LOT for both business and pleasure.  Like, once a month or sometimes more. For a long time I was miserable during EVERY. SINGLE. FLIGHT.  The craziest part is that most of this misery was self-induced, but some of it was out of my control… at least that’s what I thought!

Over the years, I have finally figured out the most important tips & tricks for a stress-free and comfortable flight.

What I’m about to share with you really, truly changed my life and eliminated 99% of my travel related stress.

This picture was taken at the airport before heading to Aruba for our honeymoon in 2016. I am a big fan of neck pillows and my husband thinks I look ridiculous. Thankfully, he loves me anyway!


I have a million plus size travel tips that I’ll share with you over time, but for now I wanted to let you know about my top three tips to make air travel a little less miserable.


Take advantage of Southwest’s “Customer of Size Policy”. To my knowledge, Southwest is the ONLY airline with a policy like this… and it is truly incredible! In short, with the policy you are able to get a second seat FOR FREE simply by asking the Southwest agent at check-in at the airport. You’ll get a second ticket along with a pre-board authorization so that you’re able to get on the plane first and ensure you’ll have two seats together for your comfort.

If you’re uncomfortable asking the gate agent for the second seat, you also have the option to book the second seat online and then request a refund after your trip. I used to do this because I was worried about the whole process but now choose not to deal with spending the $$ and waiting for the refunds.

Southwest employees are known for being really kind and I’ve never had a bad experience taking advantage of this policy. I recommend you read the full policy here before taking advantage!


TSA Pre-Check is another absolute game changer when traveling by air. I held out for a long time on this because the process of going to the airport and being interviewed by the TSA just seemed like a hassle. After months (or years, I guess) of avoiding it, I gave in and it took MAYBE 15 minutes to sign up and only costs $85 for five years!

TSA Pre-Check is a pre-screening process you follow where you fill out personal info online and are then interviewed by a TSA agent.  The purpose is to allow frequent travelers to be pre-screened so that they can skip certain security protocols (like removing shoes and jackets or taking your laptop out of your bag).  The lines are typically MUCH shorter for Pre-Check passengers so you also get through security much faster.

Even if you don’t travel as much as I do, I recommend you consider TSA Pre-Check if you’re plus size.

The very shape of many plus size bodies can cause the latest TSA body scanners to alarm. EVERY time I fly and go into the body scanner my legs and arms trigger the machine, leading to the dreaded pat down. It is SO annoying and always adds extra headache to an already stressful situation (not to mention it’s embarrassing to have your body patted down in the middle of the airport and it adds even more time to the security screening process).

TSA pre-check passengers are scanned by a DIFFERENT machine, not the “new and improved” ones that read fat as a threat. Now that I have TSA Pre-check, not only do I get to surpass the long security lines and keep on my shoes, I also don’t have to get to second base with the TSA agents!

You can learn more & apply here!


Please do not try to force the seat belt on a plane to fit! There have been times in the past where I’ve tugged and pulled and tried everything in the world to avoid asking for a seat belt extender. I always hated trying to get the attention of the flight attendant while they were busy preparing for take-off and for years I felt self conscious asking (I no longer care to ask for what I need, thankfully… and I hope you’ll get there too if you’re not already!).

Now I’ve learned that the seat belt extenders are stored near the entrance of the plane. As soon as I board, I ask the flight attendants up front if it would be convenient for them to grab it for me while I’m passing by on the way to my seat. They almost always have it within about two seconds, give it to me discreetly, and send me on my way to my seat.


Now, go book a flight & enjoy!  Hopefully, the only stressful part of your next trip will be planning where to go and picking out the best outfits.

I hope you found these tips to be helpful! Feel free to leave any of your other favorite airline travel tips in the comments below! Do you have any other fears or concerns about traveling that you’d like to discuss here? If so, let me know!


19 thoughts on “Plus Size Air Travel Tips: Making Air Travel Fun Again

  1. Totally love this advice! I am not a frequent flyer but I do have some upcoming flights and i was already dreading them! Now I think I can better manage the process, thanks girl!

    1. I am so happy you found the tips helpful! I can relate to the dread – I felt it for years! These tips truly changed it all for me! Enjoy your upcoming travels! <3

    2. This blog post was great! (And needed!) please do more tips and tricks for traveling! I haven’t travelled in a while since I have been so uncomfortable on planes.

      1. I definitely will do more traveling tips & tricks! Do you have any specific questions or concerns about travel you’d like to see me address?? Thanks for reading and commenting!

  2. Miranda, I love your tips! I have been in these situations 100 times over! I will have to start taking Southwest and doing TSA precheck! I think the $85 is worth not taking your shoes off next to a person holding a taser! Great Blog!!

    1. Thanks so much for reading & commenting, Stephanie! I’m so happy that you found the tips helpful. I agree, $85 is totally worth it for all of the benefits!

  3. I one-upped you and kept the seat belt extender from a flight and now just pack it with me in my carry on so I don’t have to ask! Bhaha. You can also buy one on Amazon…

    1. That’s a great idea! I have considered buying one but just never did. I’ll have to do that! Might update the post to reflect too. A great option for regular travelers!

  4. I purchased my own seatbelt extender for about $15 after having a bad experience with a flight attendant.

  5. Maybe things have changed since this article was written regarding the free extra seat. On the Southwest site, it says the following about an extra seat: If a Customer purchases a Business Select or Anytime Fare, the second seat can be sold at the discounted Child’s Fare. It is important to note that the Child’s Fare is only available via our Customer Support Services. You will need to call (800) I-FLY-SWA (800-435-9792) to book/purchase the extra seat at the Child’s Fare.

  6. Love this article! Wish I would have found it years ago, as I have dreaded travel so many times in the past. And you are right, Southwest is a game changer! They are so accommodating, and I also just ask for a seat belt extender while boarding. Thanks for the great article!

    1. So glad you’ve found the solution with southwest and asking for what you need! Really is a game changer! You’re welcome 🙂

    1. That is really smart! Several people have mentioned that to me – I haven’t done it but should give it a try next time!

  7. Have you ever experienced a Southwest flight being full? Would they be able to give you an extra seat in this situation? Or do you think it’s safest to buy a ticket ahead of time and get refunded? Thanks so much for the great advice definitely will be using this in the future!

    1. I have never had a situation where I wasn’t able to get the second seat! I used to buy the extra one and get refunded but prefer not to have my money tied up waiting for a refund!

  8. Thank you for the advice. If I have a long journey I slip my seat belt extender into my purse for my next southwest jaunt it may not be ethical but it makes me feel better

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