This Woman Is Showing What It's Actually Like To Travel While Fat

    Stacy Bias's Flying While Fat exposes the truth about how we treat our fellow passengers.

    This is artist and animator Stacy Bias.

    Bias's latest project is a short film called Flying While Fat. She says it was inspired by her decision to move from the US to London, and her concerns about frequent air travel at her size.

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    "Moving across the pond would mean at least two planes and a 24-hour travel day, multiple times every year," Bias told BuzzFeed. "I'm a size 28/30, so I'm right on the edge of 'fitting' in a single plane seat. To combat my anxieties, I began documenting my flights — which airline and plane model? Did I need a seatbelt extender? Were the staff rude?"

    Bias collected airline information over a two-year period of commuting back and forth, which she put into a comprehensive blog post. The post was a huge success, Bias told BuzzFeed, but it came with a sobering realization.

    "Fat stigma is deeply ingrained in our society," said Bias, "and I saw so clearly how it was working and how much we were missing out of fear of hostile interactions or 'not fitting.' I felt that I was uniquely positioned to amplify our voices on this topic."

    Flying While Fat employs the voices of several plus-size travelers, to shine a light on how fat people are treated on planes and how airlines capitalize off passenger discomfort.

    Interviewees talk about their experiences dealing with malicious fellow passengers, attempting to make others more comfortable at their own expense, and how the cost of air travel can amplify prejudices.

    In contrast, she said, fat passengers go to often harmful lengths to avoid inconveniencing others.

    Bias calls the reaction to Flying While Fat "mixed, as expected."

    "You can't build compassion towards someone if you refuse to see them as human," Bias told BuzzFeed. "People see fatness as elective and changeable and therefor exempt from the right to compassion, but the reality is far from that simple."

    "It doesn't take much to change an experience from hostile to neutral," Bias said. "Simply acknowledging one another with kindness will do wonders."