Like many fat people, flying holds special stress for me.
We do as much as we can to reduce that stress by preparing.
It also helps that I have no problem telling the people at the airline and airport that they are dealing with a fat old lady.
I know I’m fat.
I know I’m old.
And I’m willing to negotiate on whether or not I’m a lady. (Part of that depends on how said airline / airport treats me.)
We often fly American Airlines. We both have the CitiCard that racks up miles for AA flights, and use these extra miles to bump us into first class.
This is something to consider. I keep hearing that mileage cards aren’t worth it because you have so many limitations on using the miles. We have never had an issue using our miles for a bump to first class. And if we fly any other class, I’m going to need an extra seat.
First class seats are more spacious and have solid barriers between the seats, and there is more leg room. Oddly, I have found seat belts in first class are shorter than in the other seats. I guess fat folk aren’t supposed to be sitting up with the rich folks. Tough titty. That’s why the deity of your choice made seat belt extenders. Also, you don’t have to fight your way down the length of the airplane to get to your seat. Generally, you are first on, and first off.
Usually, this all works great.
However, on our last flight we ran into problems. We were flying out of Atlanta, and connecting in Phoenix for our flight home. That’s how we flew in, and it was no problem.
But on our flight in, we had about an hour between our connecting flights in Phoenix.
On our flight home, we had 38 minutes.
Now, 38 minutes sounds like a decent amount of time, right?
It is, unless your gates are down different corridors, separated by a nice long hall; AND they close the doors to the jet way 10 minutes before the flight is landing; AND you have to count on your flight arriving and deboarding on time.
Being the proactive fat old lady that I am (and okay, partly – mostly due to the nagging of my dear husband) I called AA and asked for an electric cart to take me from our arriving plane to our departing plane. I can walk it, but I CANNOT run it.
AA told me they cannot order the cart ahead of time, but they can order a wheelchair for me. (Never mind that I don’t need a wheelchair, and would rather that service be reserved for the people who need that extra assistance.) All I had to do, when I got to the Atlanta airport is to tell the people at the ticket counter that I actually need a cart, not a wheelchair, and they would arrange it for me.
I can do that.
I did that.
Since I know how the world works, I also discussed a contingency plan with my husband. IF the cart was not there when we arrived, he was to take off and get to the gate (and hopefully, hold it for my arrival).
(Did you guess?)
Husband takes off, and I pep step my weary fat old lady ass up a long corridor, across an even longer corridor and down another long corridor to our gate. Luckily, they did have a people mover walk way across the main corridor – which helped my pep stepping a great deal.
I made it 5 minutes before the jet way door was closing.
I was not happy.
My husband had found out, in the meantime, that the carts do NOT go down the side corridors at all!
Also, he was told that you cannot pre-order the carts as the entire airport only has four of them available.
This is all information that I would have liked to have had.
This is information that AA should have had.
And I call total bullshit on AA and its customer service.
If you don’t know if a service is available, DON’T LIE ABOUT IT. Just say that you are not sure. Tell me I’ll have to ask when I get to the airport. And have your agents at the airport either trained to know, or trained to find out, how things are going to work or not work at the specific airport you will be dealing with.
Running between two flights is not the time for a BIG FUCKING SURPRISE!
You may be wondering what’s the big deal? If we missed our connection, we could just fly out later, right?
Well, yes – except we had booked two first class seats, using miles. If we had missed out connection, it is doubtful that we would be able to get first class seats. If I am not in first class, I’m going to need an extra seat. So now, we’re going to have to find 3 empty seats on a plane (2 of which HAVE to be adjacent – yes, I have actually booked 3 seats on a plane (reserved the seating), and have them switched to non-adjacent), and I’m pretty sure that AA is not going to just throw in the extra seat for free.
So if I did not get my fat old lady butt to that connecting flight, a whole new can of shit was going to fly open. And I really was not up for that.
But we made it.
No thanks to American Airlines and their shitty customer service.
Welcome to the world of flying while fat.