I am afraid of heights but I love to fly. The first time I flew in an airplane, as an adult (flew to California as a toddler but I have no memory of that), I found it to be a relaxing experience. Nothing about it scared me, at all. I looked out the window as the plane made its ascent and all I felt was a sense of calm. I was on my way to Atlanta to visit my cousin, see the much-talked about city and develop my blueprint for a small-town escape. At the time, I was 190 lbs. Since that trip, back in 2001, I have flown many times and gained 47 lbs. Most have been pleasurable experiences. The two times I did not enjoy my flight were the time I had to sit in the middle of two strangers and the time (yesterday) I sat near two people who apparently had issue with (people who are) my size. The time I was assigned a middle seat, on a full plane, the ride was very uncomfortable. I basically sat with my arms crossed in front of me almost the entire time. I didn't want to touch my 'neighbors' or infringe upon their personal space. When I got off that plane, my joints and muscles ached but I don't think I made the trip uncomfortable for the people I sat between.
Yesterday, on my way to Charlotte, NC, I had to take two flights. On the first flight, I sat in a row containing 2 seats, near a slim woman who seemed to be on the friendly side. For the first hour of the flight, she fidgeted and moved around quite a bit in her seat. Seems she couldn't decide if she wanted to read or sleep. While she was reading, she rested her arm on the armrest between us and her elbow felt like it was perched in my side. I said nothing. I wasn't sure if she was doing it purposely, as if to say, 'you wanna take up some of my space, I'm gonna take up some of yours' or if she wasn't aware that she was poking me with her bone. I finally decided to pull myself into my space as much as possible and go to sleep.
On the second leg of the trip, I had a window seat in a row of three seats. My two seatmates were already settled in by the time I boarded the plane. Once seated and buckled in, I noticed the woman seated beside me had begun to fidget and move around like my seatmate on the last flight. She finally decided to read, and she rested her arm on the armrest between us. Then, I felt the elbow. This woman seemed to be poking her elbow more than was necessary. But, because I didn't want to cause a disturbance on the plane, I said nothing. I simply shifted my body away from the armrest, as much as I could. I was pretty comfortable pressed against the wall of the plane and figured I'd be fine for the 34 minute flight. Then, a man walked up to the row in front of us and indicated to the people sitting there that the middle seat was his. As he took his seat, he said to them, 'I'm glad you two aren't large.' 'Wow,' I thought to myself, 'Damn, people actually say that out loud?' I mean, I know there are people who think overweight passengers should pay for two seats if they take up more space than the one seat they paid for. But to actually hear a person say that, it hurt. I couldn't stop thinking about the obnoxious remark and I couldn't help but wonder if my seatmates thought I should've paid for another seat.