An Overweight Traveler Is Criticizing Discrimination by Airport Staff, Arguing That “Obesity Is a Choice.”

HomeNewsletterAn Overweight Traveler Is Criticizing Discrimination by Airport Staff, Arguing That "Obesity...

A plus-size traveler named Jae’lynn Chaney accused the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport of discrimination after a staff member allegedly denied her wheelchair assistance. According to Jae’lynn, she always requires wheelchair help due to a health condition.

In a TikTok video, Jae’lynn claimed that an airport worker assigned to push her wheelchair seemed hesitant to assist upon seeing her size. She further alleged that the worker even walked away with the wheelchair, muttering about not needing to help “bigger” passengers.

Jae’lynn stated that she was forced to walk all the way to her airplane seat, leaving her exhausted. The experience was particularly straining, as her health condition necessitates the use of a wheelchair. Upset by the incident, Jae’lynn called for improved sensitivity training for airport staff to ensure they can provide proper assistance to passengers regardless of size.

Image Courtesy: jaebaeproductions

#1 Jae’lynn Chaney, a plus-size travel expert, denounced discrimination at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Obesity Is a Choice
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After landing, the airport staff member responsible for assisting passengers disembarking didn’t provide Jae’lynn with the standard wheelchair service. Instead, Jae’lynn alleges she was forced to walk the long walkway leading to the airplane (jet bridge) despite relying on her wheelchair. This exertion caused her breathing difficulties and left her feeling faint. Jae’lynn emphasizes the unfairness of the situation, highlighting that other passengers received the expected assistance with their wheelchairs while her own needs were seemingly disregarded.

#2

Obesity Is a Choice
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Fueled by this experience, Jae’lynn started a petition calling for mandatory sensitivity training for airport staff. The petition, which has nearly reached 40,000 signatures, aims to raise awareness about the challenges faced by plus-sized travelers.

Jae’lynn’s petition details a specific incident where she and her fiancé, Ard, who is also plus sized, were subjected to rude behavior during a flight. According to the petition, Ard endured disrespectful comments, disapproving stares, and even passengers refusing to sit next to him. These experiences motivated Jae’lynn to fight for better treatment for plus-sized travelers in the travel industry.

#3 She claimed that rather than helping her get into her wheelchair, an employee had her walk to her seat.

Obesity Is a Choice
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Jae’lynn commented, “In a similar vein, I was forced to occupy only one seat with immovable armrests on another flight, which caused me pain and bruises.”
The Federal Aviation Administration must mandate in the influencer’s petition that all airlines have a thorough policy in place for handling large passengers.
This involves giving more seats, compensating for extra tickets ordered, communicating policies clearly, extending assistance at the airport, prioritizing boarding, providing larger restrooms and seat belt extenders, and designating particular areas on newer aircraft for larger seats.
It also demands that new planes have wheelchair-accessible restrooms and that mandatory employee training on polite behavior be implemented.

#4

Obesity Is a Choice
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In the video, Jae’lynn advocated for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to develop clearer guidelines and train their staff on how to respectfully handle screenings for people of all sizes.

#5 “This was my first time flying without oxygen, and I almost fainted,” Jae’lynn remarked.

Obesity Is a Choice
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Her video sparked a conversation online, dividing viewers. Some commenters felt the TSA agent should have provided more assistance, while others believed Jae’lynn should have been able to walk through the screening process independently. This difference in opinion highlights the lack of consensus around how best to handle these situations at airports.

#6

Obesity Is a Choice
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“I feel like a less selfish way of looking at this would be to get mad that the airport didn’t have two people available to push you for employee safety reasons. One person shouldn’t be forced to risk injury,” another user wrote in response to the previous argument. “If you think it’s hard to walk your own body up a jet bridge, imagine having to push someone up it, especially as a smaller woman,” another user said.

“Why should someone injure themselves for you?” someone inquired. One chooses to be obese. Another person added, “I’ve never faulted anyone for it; I have health difficulties myself that have prevented me from traveling by plane or attending sporting events, etc.” The majority of these accessibility services are not required; they are free.”

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