Ryanair slammed by size 16 passenger who says belt 'lassoed' her to seatAugust 29, 2023
A beautician has criticised Ryanair after her seat had ‘too short’ a safety belt, saying their standard size belts could be viewed as ‘fatphobic’.
Katie Higgins, 33, from Ayr, says her experience earlier this month flying from Glasgow to visit family in Cork left her feeling ‘lassoed’ to her seat, because the budget airline’s safety belt at its maximum length was too tight.
Katie wears 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.
Frustrated, she went to Facebook to air her concerns. After she posted about this, 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.
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 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”.’
She worries the experience could be damaging to people, and this was confirmed when one woman commented on her Facebook post saying a similar experience had her holding back tears her entire flight, as she struggled 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.’
Some else wrote: ‘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 there is a safety issue and she fears the budget airline’s tight seat belts could harm ‘the self-esteem and mental health’ of some passengers.
Katie explained: ‘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 hasn’t gone to Ryanair directly about the issue, as she feels it would fall on deaf ears.
‘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,’ she added.
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 and we’ll update this article when we receive a response.
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