A beautician has slammed Ryanair after enduring a ‘too short’ seatbelt on a recent flight, saying their standard size belts could be seen as ‘fatphobic’.
Air passenger Katie Higgins, 33, from Ayr, says her experiences earlier this month as she flew from Glasgow to visit family in Cork left her feeling ‘lassoed’ at his seat because the seat belt at its maximum length was too tight.
Katie says she is a size 16 – the average size for dresses in the UK – but says there was barely an inch of space left after connecting the metal clips.
She claims she should have asked for a belt extender if the fabric was tighter – despite fitting the size profile of an average British woman.
Katie Higgins, 33, from Ayr, posted on Facebook about her experiences on a recent Ryanair flight, saying the standard seat belt was so tight she almost had to ask for an extender – despite being a size 16 , the UK national average size for clothing. women
After sharing her experience on social media, she says many people have admitted to buying their own extenders to take on flights – because they want to avoid the embarrassment of asking for one.
One person replied, “So glad you posted this. I thought it was just me. I can’t even breathe when I’m on a Ryanair flight and it’s far too inconvenient to ask for an extension. I know I shouldn’t be, because like you said, we all come in different shapes and sizes.
Katie says she’s not ‘delusional’ about her height, but was left baffled when the belt didn’t fit, as she recently lost two stones in weight – and says plus-size passengers could be judged if they were to ask the cabin crew. for belt extenders.
The part-time blogger shared her feelings on Facebook, where she claimed the low-cost airline’s tight seatbelts could harm some passengers’ “self-esteem and mental health”.
Katie explained: “I was lassoed by the seat belt. It just fit, but if he had dug me again, I would have been very uncomfortable. If someone else had a different shape or size, they might not be able to attach it.
Katie, who recently lost two stones, says she was shocked by the small size of the standard belt and says it could make tall travelers feel “judged” if they have to request a extension.
The Scottish beautician snapped a photo of how she had just an inch of space after putting the waistband on to its fullest width.
“With other airlines you can usually pull the length of the belt a bit and try to adjust it, but none of that has been done.
“It was in front of me, and there was about an inch (of space) down there and nothing else.” If it was tighter, I would have been very uncomfortable during the flight.
She added: “I’m under no illusions, I know I’m a bigger woman. But there has to be a bit of concession, especially since I lost two stones in weight.
“Because it was fine with me, I didn’t say anything. I didn’t want to take one of the extender belts from someone who might need it. It is very frustrating.
Avid traveler Katie, pictured in Hollywood, has now called on airlines to look into the sizing of seat belts, saying they could potentially pose a safety risk if people were too shy to ask for an extender
Katie says the short seat belts are fundamentally a “safety issue” and feels the airline might be seen as “grossphobic” by some travellers.
The campaigner is now calling on the public to listen to the concerns of tall people – rather than telling them to ‘lose weight’ or accusing them of demanding ‘bigger seats’.
“There must have been other people on the flight in a worse situation than me. If it fits me, even if it’s a little tight, I’ll let someone else use the belt.
“I think anyone who’s experienced fatphobia might see it that way – I’ve been through a lot of that, unfortunately. I don’t think it’s fatphobia, but I think a lot of people might see it that way. I think it’s more because they take shortcuts than because they’re fatphobic.
“A size 16 is the size of an average British woman. By this logic, the average person needs an extension cord.
Katie says her confusion was only heightened on her flight home the following week when she was given a snug seatbelt – leading her to claim that flying with Ryanair was like a “potluck meal”.
Ryanair has been contacted for comment.
The beautician says she has yet to contact Ryanair about the matter as she believes her complaint would fall on deaf ears, but instead used her social media to shame them.
Katie said: ‘I flew out on Friday and was lassoed by the seat belt. I came back on Monday and the seat belt was looser. So unless I’m doing magic tricks over the weekend, it’s a bit of a problem.
“I was more annoyed than anything, because it’s like a shared meal on an airplane”.
Pot luck: The beautician also says her flight home from Cork was fitted with a larger seatbelt, suggesting an inconsistency in sizing.
“I haven’t complained before because I feel like it would fall on deaf ears. It’s one of those “shut up or shut up” situations.
“Maybe it’s because it’s a budget airline that you (should) expect these things, but we don’t get (even) cheap flights anymore.”
“I posted the message on Facebook, it would help someone else feel less alone. It could be very damaging for people to feel like it’s just them.
“A lot of people have contacted me and said they bought their own belt extender because they were afraid of embarrassment.
“It has nothing to do with your size – it has to do with the size of the belt and its safety aspect.”
Katie’s post racked up over 400 likes, shares and comments on Facebook, with several viewers sharing their own experiences in the comments section.
Katie said of the response to her post: ‘Lots of people have contacted me and said they bought their own belt extender because they were afraid of embarrassment.’
One said: “Last year on a trip to Dublin the seat belt fitted well during the flight and I felt really good!
“On the way back, no chance. I hated myself so much and it took everything I had not to cry.
Another added: “I just flew to Croatia and had to ask for a belt extender. I don’t care what people think, but you can see the disgusted looks.