Plus-size travel influencer who wants free extra seats for fat fliers says airport worker


A plus-size travel influencer has claimed she was discriminated against by an airport employee who refused to push her in a wheelchair because of her weight. 

Jaelynn Chaney, 27, recounted her experience with a wheelchair assistant on a jet bridge after a recent landing at Seattle–Tacoma International Airport. 

‘My ordeal at SeaTac Airport will shock you,’ Chaney, of Vancouver in Washington, said in a TikTok. Chaney, who can walk, then detailed how she requested wheelchair assistance on a recent flight – as she always does.

However, Chaney claims that when she tried to deplane the aircraft, the employee assigned to help assist her started to walk away when she realized she was supposed to help the plus-size woman and not one of the smaller passengers. 

The travel influencer said that as the employee walked away with the wheelchair she was making comments about her size. Chaney – who has previously demanded free extra seats for fat fliers subsidized by slimmer passengers – says the ordeal left her gasping for air. 

Jaelynn Chaney, 27, is a plus size travel influencer (she is pictured here on vacation in Lake Oswego, Oregon)

Jaelynn Chaney, 27, is a plus size travel influencer (she is pictured here on vacation in Lake Oswego, Oregon) 

Chaney, 27, recounted her experience with a wheelchair assistant at Seattle¿Tacoma International Airport

Chaney, 27, recounted her experience with a wheelchair assistant at Seattle–Tacoma International Airport

‘Even when I told her I really needed the chair and needed her to let me sit down in it she blatantly ignored me and kept walking,’ Chaney complained in the dramatic TikTok – which showed her walking up an airplane’s aisles aisles. 

‘I was then forced to walk up one of the longest jet bridges I’ve encountered and she didn’t stop,’ the 27-year-old continued in her rant. 

By the time Chaney was finally allowed to reach the wheelchair and sit down her lips were white, her oxygen levels had dropped and she almost fainted, she claims.

According to Chaney, by assuming that she could walk and not pushing her up the jet bridge – the employee was discriminating against the plus sized woman. 

The travel influencer said that as the employee walked away with the wheelchair she was making comments about her size

The travel influencer said that as the employee walked away with the wheelchair she was making comments about her size

By the time Chaney was finally allowed to reach the wheelchair and sit down her lips were white, her oxygen levels had dropped and she almost fainted, she claims

By the time Chaney was finally allowed to reach the wheelchair and sit down her lips were white, her oxygen levels had dropped and she almost fainted, she claims

‘Staying silent isn’t an option anymore,’ Chaney said of the ‘discrimination’ she faced. ‘If you’ve faced something similar, you’re not alone.’

She continued: ‘Discrimination is real, and I don’t want anyBODY else to ever experience something like this.’ 

Users in the comments were quick to show their support for the 27-year-old. ‘I’m so sorry honey,’ one wrote.

‘Sending positivity! No one should be discriminated against for their body or abilities,’ another wrote. 

Chaney also used the experience to promote her push for airlines to give free extra seats to fat fliers who may not fit in a standard airplane chair.

She says the ‘passenger of size’ policy afford basic human rights to fat people – but previously conceded that slim passengers’ fares may have to go up to cover the cost of paying for overweight flyers’ additional needs.  

This was the travel influencer’s first time traveling without oxygen and uploaded a TikTok documenting the experience.

Chaney also recently uploaded a video to her TikTok channel in which the plus-sized influencer proudly flies without her portable oxygen tank for the first time in four years

Chaney also recently uploaded a video to her TikTok channel in which the plus-sized influencer proudly flies without her portable oxygen tank for the first time in four years

Chaney explained in the video' caption that she had been travelling with an oxygen apparatus ever since the doctors at a hospital suspected that she had had a stroke

Chaney explained in the video’ caption that she had been travelling with an oxygen apparatus ever since the doctors at a hospital suspected that she had had a stroke

Chaney uploaded a video to her TikTok channel showing her proudly sitting on a flight without her breathing aide. 

She explained to her followers that she’d previously required supplemental air to ensure she could breathe comfortably in the pressurized plane cabin.  

At one point in the video, Chaney holds up her seatbelt and smiles as she demonstrates how much it is extended. 

Chaney, whose TikTok account has more than 135,000 followers, narrates her concerns as a plus-sized flyer in the background of the video.

Dramatic music plays and Chaney ponders: ‘What if I have a medical emergency on the plane?’

Then she asks: ‘What if I cause an emergency landing?’

But she stops herself and announces: ‘No, forget that. No matter what they say, and no matter what it looks like, travel is for everybody.’

Chaney created a Change.org petition in April, 2023, to demand that the FAA protects plus-size travelers

Chaney created a Change.org petition in April, 2023, to demand that the FAA protects plus-size travelers

Chaney's list included items like providing additional accessible seats and reimbursement

It also included employee training

Chaney also laid out a list of policies that would ensure that ‘customers-of-size’ are accommodated and treated with respect while flying

The video then shows Chaney being wheeled down an airport gate and onto the plane.

Then Chaney is shown in her seat, where she exhibits just how much her seatbelt has been slackened. 

The TikTok ends with a close-up of the plus-sized influencer’s grinning face. 

In her caption, Chaney explains the context of her flight, recounting how for the past four years she has relied on ‘supplemental oxygen’ when flying.

‘It all started back in 2019 after a hospital stay where they suspected I had a stroke,’ Chaney wrote.  

‘Turns out, it was pulmonary hypertension, and I needed oxygen therapy ever since. Traveling just wasn’t the same anymore.’ 

Chaney's TikTok also explores her polyamorous lifestyle. The influencer has collaborated with companies ranging from Google to McDonalds

Chaney’s TikTok also explores her polyamorous lifestyle. The influencer has collaborated with companies ranging from Google to McDonalds

The plus-sized influencer, who has over 135,000 TikTok followers, has previously called on the FAA to provide overweight individuals with up to three free seats when flying

The plus-sized influencer, who has over 135,000 TikTok followers, has previously called on the FAA to provide overweight individuals with up to three free seats when flying

She said that she went ‘from chasing waterfalls in Hawaii’ to ‘everything being so different.’

After conducting intensive research, the influencer struck on portable oxygen concentrators.

‘I shared my discoveries online, thinking this was going to be my new normal.’

But Chaney found portable oxygen concentrators to be ‘no walk in the park.’

She said that using the apparatus was ‘expensive, stressful, and downright scary.’ 

Her recent flight marked the first time in four years that she had flown sans oxygen concentrator, an experience which made her ‘anxious and afraid.’

‘But guess what? I did it, and it went better than I could’ve imagined,’ she triumphantly wrote. 

Chaney created a Change.org petition in April, 2023, to demand that the FAA protects plus-size travelers.

The petition has now received over 39,000 signatures. 

‘Air travel should be comfortable and accessible for everyone, regardless of size,’ she wrote on the Change.org page. 

‘As plus-size travelers, my partner and I have unfortunately experienced discrimination and discomfort while flying.’

Chaney also laid out a list of policies that would ensure that ‘customers-of-size’ are accommodated and treated with respect while flying. 



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