My Ryanair seatbelt was so tight – despite me being average dress size

My seatbelt on a Ryanair flight was painfully tight – despite me being the average UK dress size

  • Katie Higgins, 33, from Ayr, posted on Facebook about her experiences  
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A beautician has criticised Ryanair after enduring a ‘too short’ seatbelt on a recent flight, saying their standard size belts could be viewed as ‘fatphobic’. 

Air passenger Katie Higgins, 33, from Ayr, says her experiences earlier this month while flying from Glasgow to visit family in Cork left her feeling ‘lassoed’ to her seat because the safety belt at its maximum length was too tight.  

Katie says she’s a size 16 – the average dress size in the UK – but says there was barely an inch of room left after connecting the metal fasteners.

She claims that she would have had to ask for an extender belt if the material was any tighter – despite the fact that she matches the size profile of the average UK 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 request an extender – despite her being a size 16, the UK’s national average dress size for women

After she posted about her experience on social media, she says lots of people have admitted to purchasing their own extenders to take on board flights – because they want to avoid the embarrassment of asking for one. 

One person responded: ‘I’m 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 much too embarrassing to ask for the extender. I know I shouldn’t be, because as you said, we all come in different shapes and sizes.’

Katie says that she isn’t ‘delusional’ about her size but was baffled when the belt didn’t fit as she has recently lost two stone in weight – and says plus-size passengers might face being judged if they have to ask cabin crew for belt extenders.

The part-time blogger shared how she felt on Facebook, where she claimed that the budget airline’s tight seat belts could harm ‘the self-esteem and mental health’ of some passengers.

Katie explained: ‘I was lassoed by the seat belt. It just fitted, but if it had been digging into me anymore, I would have been very uncomfortable. If someone else was a different shape or a different size, they might not be able to tie it.

Katie, who’s recently lost two stone, says she was shocked at how small the standard belt was, and says it could make plus-sized flyers feel ‘judged’ if they have to ask for an extender

The beautician from Scotland took a photo of how she had just a thumb’s worth of room after she put the belt at its maximum width

‘With other airlines, you can usually pull the length of the belt a little and try to adjust it, but there was none of that.

‘It was across me, and there was about an inch [of room] at the bottom and nothing else. If it was any tighter, I would have been very uncomfortable on the flight.’

She added: ‘I’m not delusional, I know I’m a bigger woman. But there has to be some bit of give, especially since I lost two stone in weight.

‘Because it just fit, I didn’t say anything. I didn’t want to take one of the extender belts from someone who might need it. It’s very frustrating.’

Keen traveller Katie, pictured in Hollywood, has now called for airlines to address sizing on seatbelts, saying they could potentially pose a safety risk if people are too shy to ask for an extender

Katie says that the short belts are fundamentally a ‘safety issue’ and believes that the airline could be viewed as ‘fatphobic’ by some flyers.

The activist is now calling for the public to listen to the concerns of plus-sized 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 position than me. If it just fits, even if it’s a bit tight, I’ll let someone else use the belt.

‘I think anyone who has experienced fatphobia could see it that way – I have unfortunately experienced a lot of this kind of thing. I don’t think it’s fatphobic, but I think a lot of people could see it that way. I think it’s them cutting corners more than being fatphobic.

‘A size 16 is the size of the average UK woman. By this logic, the average person needs an extender.

Katie says that her confusion only heightened on her flight home the following week, when she was given a fitting seat belt – which led her to claim that flying with Ryanair is like ‘potluck’.

Ryanair has been contacted for comment. 

The beautician claims that she hasn’t yet contacted Ryanair about the issue as she believes that her complaint would fall on deaf ears but used her social media to shame them instead.

Katie said: ‘I flew on Friday, and I was lassoed by the seatbelt. I flew back again on the Monday and the seatbelt was looser. So unless I’m doing magic tricks over the weekend, this is a bit of an issue.

‘I was more annoyed than anything else, because it’s like potluck getting on a flight’.

Pot luck: The beautician also says that her return flight from Cork was fitted with a bigger seatbelt, suggesting inconsistency in sizing 

‘I haven’t complained before because I feel like it would fall on deaf ears. It’s one of those situations that’s like, ‘put up or shut up’.

‘Maybe it’s because it’s a budget airline you [should] just expect these things, but we’re not [even] getting cheap flights anymore.

‘I put the post up on Facebook it would help someone else feel less alone. It could be quite damaging for people, to feel like it’s just them.

‘There’s a lot of people who reached out and told me that they bought their own belt extender because they were afraid of the embarrassment.

‘It’s nothing to do with the size of you – it’s to do with the size of the belt and the safety aspect of it.’

Katie’s post racked up more than 400 likes, shares and comments on Facebook, and several viewers shared their own experiences in the comment section.

Katie said of the response to her post: ‘There’s a lot of people who reached out and told me that they bought their own belt extender because they were afraid of the embarrassment’

One said: ‘Last year flying to Dublin, during the flight out the belt fit fine and I felt really good!

‘On the way home, not a chance. I hated myself so much and it took everything I had not to cry.’

Another added: ‘I have just flown to Croatia and had to ask for a belt extender. I don’t give a flying f*ck what people think but you can see the looks of disgust.’

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