Too Fat To Fly

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As Channel 5's Supersized Season continues, this eye-opening documentary hears the holiday horror stories of Britain's rapidly growing obese population. Being overweight is not easy, and 65% of the UK population is now overweight or obese. So what happens when you have piled on the pounds and have an embarrassing incident on holiday?

These traumatic tales include getting thrown off a plane for being too big for the seat, being too large to ride a rollercoaster and getting wedged on a water slide. The film also sends plus-size tourists to road-test flights and investigate the problems facing today's larger fliers.

Jan and Alan, B&B owners from Hampshire, share their embarrassment at being told they were too heavy to sit together on their flight to Guernsey. They have since lost an impressive 16 stone between them – 8 stone each – and were named Slimming World’s Slimming Couple of the Year 2010.

When 32-stone Sandy from Wolverhampton took his seat on a flight to Toronto, he realised that it would be a tight squeeze. But the last thing he expected was to be led off the plane by cabin crew and asked to purchase a second seat. Unable to afford the additional cost, Sandy had no choice but to cancel his trip.

Jodie reveals hows he went from a size 22 to a svelte size 8 after a mortifying massage in Turkey. Humiliated by taunts from her masseuse, she returned from her holiday determined to change her lifestyle. Jodie is now a fitness enthusiast and training to compete in a bodybuilding contest. This is a heartfelt look at how difficult it can be to holiday when you are overweight and the people who have turned their lives around because of it.

Comments (58)

  • Jo Smith

    11 days ago

    Jo Smith

    The fact is that Airlines have cut the size and spaces on their flights! I'm not overweight but I have long legs and I spend each 6 hour flight with my knees crushed up against the seat in front and don't have any elbow room when trying to eat my meal. I have been flying back and forth between the UK and the USA for years and the space has shrunk over the years. This cannot b safe....having people so cramped It's time the airlines stopped trying to boost their profits instead of customer comfort

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  • Rob

    1 month ago

    Rob

    On top of that comment well done C5 for highlighting this issue and may all overweight people take note from the people who took part in this and lost the fat and became a size that allows them to live normally! thank you C5

  • rob

    1 month ago

    rob

    So basically fat people can lose weight so it is there problem nit the airline company. but we all know this already!

  • h kennedy

    3 months ago

    h kennedy

    I watched this after being forced to sit beside an oversized person on a flight which caused me great distress. i got the impression that these large people feel hard done by in that they do not fit where others do. size and shape is primarily a life choice where as height is not. i am claustrophobic and being smothered and invaded by a large person when i am so small is my worst nightmare. the airlines ask you, require you to have a fixed weight for your luggage. i do not thik it unreasonable to be asked when booking a flight which weight category you fit into for example, under 10 stones between 10 and 16 stones etc i strongly feel that if you cannot fit into your seat and encroach upon the seat beside you then you must pay for more space because you need it. i have paid for the space i am sitting and so why should i share it with someone else?

  • Mike

    3 months ago

    Mike

    Get used to the fact that people are bigger and make the seats bigger

  • Vicki

    4 months ago

    Vicki

    One thing I do want to point out. The airlines they have chosen to take on in this show are BUDGET airlines. So they will have more compact seating as it will maximise their profit. So their seats are going to be smaller. If you want more legroom i.e Gemmas issue in easyjet. Spend more money and go with an airline such as British Airways or virgin. They don't have much bigger seats but they are bigger.

  • Vicki

    4 months ago

    Vicki

    It really annoys me that people who are obese pull the discrimination card when these things happen. Yes its embarresing but they don't take into consideration the other people that have to travel at the same time. The person who has to share the seat next to them would find it deeply unpleasant and the seats are normally cramped. Also with their combined extra weight would equal two people. Where are airlines supposed to count this extra weight in so the flight can actually take off. If you choose not to exercise and monitor your weight you should have to accept that you can't do normall things. Most airlines do request that people of a large nature purchase a seat to A- adjust on the weight so the plane won't be over on the weight limit and B so that other passangers comfort is taken into consideration.

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  • Jo

    4 months ago

    Jo

    Why are most the comments on here assume that because you are larger then 'normal' then that means you are lazy & eat too much, so stop eating so much/badly & join a gym - its not always that simple - I used to be slightly overweight when I was 18, I joined weight watchers, the gym etc, lost it all, went from a size 18 down to a size 8/10, life was great. Then 6yrs ago (I'm now 38) i got sick, I put on 5 stone in 4 months for no apparent reason, and kept on going, my lifestyle hadn't changed, I went from a size 12 to a size 24 in 10 months even though I was still eating healthy & exercising the best I could. I have lost a lot since then & am down to a size 18, with a way to go yet, it has taken a lot of hard work as I am still very ill & some of these illnesses prevent me from exercising. If I was overweight from eating too many burgers & being lazy, its simple to fix; I stop eating the burgers & exercise BUT that is not the cause of my size, in fact, the amount I eat would barely sustain a child. I am sure that many other larger people are so because of other reasons beyond their control. My point with all this rambling, is simple, you shouldn't judge someone by their size, they could be over or under weight for so many different reasons. Do you have any idea how embarrassing & awful it is when you don't fit into a plane sit or funfair ride? I agree that if you are that size because of your own doing then own that & do something about it - i did many years ago but what if that person isn't that size because of their own doing? How can you judge them so harshly & be so nasty? I don't ask for sympathy, just some common decency & understanding!

  • josh stevens

    4 months ago

    josh stevens

    if people are big, thats there problem but don't make it mine by sitting next to me and taking up the space I PAID FOR!!

  • Debbie

    4 months ago

    Debbie

    Seats on flights used to be more spacious though... airlines have gotten greedy and their only concern is profit margin. Never had a problem with a flight but how dare anybody make judgements about another person based on their weight! You don't know them.. you don't know anything about their life, their medical history, their experiences that might have contributed to issues they have. It sickens me that people are so judgemental... take a look in the mirror and focus on fixing your own faults first because I'd rather have over weight friends then be friends with most of the people commenting on this thread! You're nothing but bullies!!

  • MartinWilkins

    4 months ago

    MartinWilkins

    We also have the largest number of Supermarkets in Europe. The Supermarkets have to much control from labeling that says healthy, lo fat, etc and sell 90% unhealthy food and drinks. Along with fast food and supermarkets taking over the high street, all selling crap food and drinks.

  • anon

    4 months ago

    anon

    I am an obese person and plan on taking my first airline flight this year. Its not easy losing so much weight when you have low esteem which is exasperated by harsh comments. I have booked 1 seat and will b "spilling" into my partners seat who luckily sees past the flesh to the human being who has feelings that I am. May I add not all large people are lazy. I work in a full time post and always have done and I only utilize the nhs in extreme circumstances. I know a number of smaller bodied people who are at their gp's for the slightest thing who don’t work. Most comments on here appear judgemental and stereotype larger people. Why shouldn't I go on holiday abroad when I work hard.

  • AJ

    4 months ago

    AJ

    What do they want? Seats to be enlarged? If that's the case then there will be less seats on the plane and normal sized people, and those that work hard to maintain a decent body will be paying even more to fly. Solution... Invest some of your food money on a gym membership! If that's how you feel on a seat on a plane.. Imagine how your organs feel!

  • b.l

    4 months ago

    b.l

    What do these people expect? fair enough that they should be treated in a nice way or told nicely,But Airlines buses etc don not have to expand there seats its not their fault they look at the average they cant blame the airline for this in the end of the day its not the airlines fault the only option is really to take business class,Im not really happy in fact the put the blame on airlines because its not the airlines its them sorry no offence but its the fact.

  • Cam

    4 months ago

    Cam

    Sarah, obesity is an epidemic! Yes I agree anorexia is a serious issue but there is no epidemic of national proportions! Heart disease is by far the biggest killer in the UK by a long shot and that's in direct relation to being overweight, diabetic, etc. So yes, we who are funding the NHS are all paying for these over indulging tubsters, should they pay more for airline seats? Yes. I pay for my seat, I didn't pay for them to share 25% of it with me. They can loose weight, its just hard and its clear by their appearance they don't like hard work!!

  • Anon

    4 months ago

    Anon

    I went from being overweight to an average size 12. I still have difficulties flying with cheaper airlines for a very different reason. I am 6ft tall woman. People on here don't need to nasty about people being obese, some may have medical conditions that have contributed to it. Airlines should not adapt there planes just for obese people, but in the long run some modifications do need to be made. People have the ability to lose weight, but they cannot become shorter!

  • Scotty

    4 months ago

    Scotty

    Why do these fat people have a chip on their shoulder? it's not the airlines fault they can't fit in the seats, it is theirs for being morbidly obese. Lose weight and stop moaning. Simple

  • kelly

    4 months ago

    kelly

    I am actually disgusted with some of the big people on this show. Why should airlines make allowances for them? Fair enough to those who are embarrassed,I do feel sorry for them but the two women seem to think the airline owe them something. They seem to think they are entitled to special treatment which is disgusting as it's a lifestyle choice. Maybe they should make that decision to lose the weight and stop blaming the rest of the world for their miserable lives.

  • Sarah

    4 months ago

    Sarah

    Being obese myself I have to agree with those saying to lose weight. On flights, I always book two seats or ask to be seated with an empty seat, and if two seats aren't available I sit in an aisle seat and edge myself so none of my arm is in the next person's space. I feel sorry for those who have to sit next to me - airlines shouldn't change to accommodate overweight passengers, we should change to accommodate them. I'm changing, it's my responsibility. For anyone saying it's mean...it's not, it's the truth. We have to lose weight, get over it!

  • Steven b

    4 months ago

    Steven b

    smaller people should get cheaper flights as they weigh less the big people pay more as they are heavier. all transport should charge that way, trains, bus, planes. more weight then more fuel used !!!

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  • anon

    5 months ago

    anon

    Well said Alyssa. The rest of you well shame on you for being so horrible. So you are all perfect then, well good for you! Eating is a form of comfort and I know, I dont smoke, dont drink and dont do drugs. Bet not many of you dont beat your stresses by doing one or all of these!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • tuzi

    5 months ago

    tuzi

    I agree with Jo.It cost ***. a lot of money in compensation when I had to sit next to a VERY obese man on a flight to Rio. The flight was full,so I spent most of the time on a jump seat or standing up.He was not only obese but sweaty and smelly.(I am 50k and 158cm,&female)Did I mention he was masturbating under the blanket during the night?Cheaper to refund big fatties than having a threatened court case.

  • elle

    5 months ago

    elle

    The truth is better than sweet lies. It's painful to hear the truth- that you are too fat, obese..but if no one says it, or you don't face any problems because of that , you would never want to change. I don't know why but sometimes seeing obese people, I can't stop thinking how many people in poor countries we could feed with that food, it's not fair that people,children all over the world are dying of hunger, while here some people waste it,have too much and too easy. Does overweight people ever have that tought on their mind?

  • sarah.hull

    5 months ago

    sarah.hull

    I agree with both sides of this argument, it's not fair to tar all overweight people with the same brush - they may have conditions that cause them to be larger. However, it is down to these people to consider others. If they're 'Too Fat To Fly' it's simple - don't. Holiday in Southern France or other places that can be travelled to via ferry or other means. My uncle is very overweight and if he needs to fly pays for business class as the seats are bigger. This may seem a bit simplistic but it's true.

  • Kath

    5 months ago

    Kath

    Stop being critical people, just fix the problem. The only way to tackle this is to weigh passengers and their luggage. Also, before they book the flight they should stop being so prissy and ask the right questions.. after all, it is a safety consideration for everyone. I get a bit sniffy when I fly and a normal weight person encroaches my space.. god knows how I would get on if I was seated next to someone who really needs 2 seats.

  • Matt

    5 months ago

    Matt

    Too much pressure on being perfect. I was fat as a teenager. I lost weight and got down to 3.6% bodyfat. I lost my sex drive, fatigued and gave myself low bone density with being so thin. I think the answer to being healthy/ideal is be whoever you are and don't change.

  • susannavitsky

    5 months ago

    susannavitsky

    I was seated next to an overweight person on a long-haul flight to the USA. She was invading my seat space ... I was on an aisle seat so could lean over a bit. Spent the whole flight at an uncomfortable angle - put my neck out and collected a couple of bruises from the Trolleys. I paid for my seat and expect to be able to sit in it. The Airlines need to sort out how to deal with overweight passengers. This isn't a new problem it's been going on for the last 15 years or so. I have always wondered how the airline can assess their 'pay load' for take off with such varying passenger weights. I think someone mentioned that It's about time passenger weights were taken into account. Unsure why they can't ask this in the first place.Apparently due to Human Rights Legislation. The other passengers could be put at risk so how are their Human Rights being respected? Fed up with being squashed by oversized passengers.

  • jo

    5 months ago

    jo

    puzzled: there must be load of areas that cause morbidly obese people problems: narrow toilet cubicles, showers in hotel rooms, turnstiles, train ticket gates.... so why just pick on airlines?

  • Sarah

    5 months ago

    Sarah

    People are too quick to judge others in this life. It makes me angry that IGNORANT people like you lot are giving these people abuse. Neill - It's so easy to pick on overweight people for the NHS. But what about anorexic people? They cost the NHS. Just like alcoholics and drug addicts. You're all treating it like a pandemic. Karma!

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  • Tv-Watcher

    5 months ago

    Tv-Watcher

    but isn't it not the airlines fault if your overweight ? They can only accommodate so far , being overweight is a personal issue not an airlines issue sorry to say ... 1000s of ppl travel daily with no problems .. being overweight is a serious personal health issue thats caused by that person. Any nutritionist will tell you the health benefits for a human body if you have a healthy BMI.

  • Sam

    5 months ago

    Sam

    Its not great for average size people but if your this overweight they shouldn't make seats bigger or make allowances for you. You spend too much on food and as one of the ladies who lost weight it effects her everyday life and others around her, so just don't eat so much do more exercise and stop draining nhs services ! I have no sympathy at all and you as a fat person have no excuses

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  • Maria

    6 months ago

    Maria

    Andy so what would you suggest ? How to deal with a oversize passenger on a full flight?

  • ANDY

    6 months ago

    ANDY

    IAM WIDE, OF GERMAN FRAME. SO I HAVE TO BUY GARMENTS IN GERMANY AND NEW ZEALAND MY BMI IS UNDER THE RED ZONE I HAVE PROBLEMS OF SEAT ON FLYS BECAUSE OF MY SHOULDER POP INTO THE NEXT SEAT BUT I DONOT THING THESE PEOPLE SHOULD BE COMPLAIN UN LESS ITS NOT SIZE DUE TO BODY FRAME ! BUT I NO THE SHAME OF HAVE TO ASK FOR EXTRA SIZE GARMENTS IN CHAIN SHOPS BECAUSE ALL BIG FIRMS THINK THE UK PERSON IS LIKE A STICK MODEL. I URGE PEOPLE TO DEAL WITH THESE PEOPLE VERY TACK FULL! IT CAN BE MENTAL HELL WHEN A CUSTOMMER SERVICE BRING A PROBLEM LIKE THIS TO EVERY ONE SIGHT !

  • Jenny jones

    6 months ago

    Jenny jones

    Seems only fair that combined passenger and baggage weight should be taken into account, also for safety. Maybe we have to wait for a plane to crash before anything changes, I think it happened before when a plane carrying sportsmen or military crashed after they stopped and bought more clothing as souvenirs?

  • Amanda

    6 months ago

    Amanda

    If you are big, you should be able to guess the problems. The only seat left on my easyjet flight was between a very obese couple, they could have paid £15 and booked that seat between them. They stupidly thought it would be empty. I had to sit there because there was nowhere else. Then they pulled the arm rests up so that they could spill into my seat. I was wedged into 3/4's of a seat and could not move my arms to have a drink for 3 hours. They were selfish and then stuffed their faces for the whole trip with no regard for my comfort. I used to be large and was sympathetic until then but they were horrible to me and had no regard for my safety. Large couples should be forced to sit in separate rows, having 1 next to you may be bearable, 2 of them was not. I think the lady with the cam in the toilet over exaggerated it.

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  • tom

    6 months ago

    tom

    At what point will they look at their selves and say "I need to lose weight" and go the gym? It's a joke.

  • Paul

    6 months ago

    Paul

    The people in this clearly needed to shift some serious weight. How many were of them were claiming disability benefit because of their weight? They should be disgusted at themselves for letting themselves get in such a state. No sympathy for grossly obese fatties AT ALL! If they sorted themselves out ..fantastic

  • Fair play

    6 months ago

    Fair play

    They shouldn't be allowed to board the plane. They are putting other people's lives at risk, can you imagine trying to exit a plane in an emergency with someone that size blocking the isle? However, airlines would be accused of discrimination if they took such a radical step.

  • Neill

    6 months ago

    Neill

    How dare they blame the airline for their overeating and becoming morbidly obese... Sorry if you dont fit into a seat or funfair ride that's a sign that YOU are at fault and YOU need to take responsibility for YOUR weight! Why should the company, attraction, airline change there standard seats that fit most of us who can control our eating and diet to extra room for the morbidly obese... Simple LOSE weight and you will fit... what's next you become another social group that can claim discrimination? It is not something you cannot change or control like a disability or skin colour.. YOU simple have to eat less calories and exercise more! God programmes that highlight these sad, self inflicted moaners just make me mad!!!! They cost ALL TAX payers more already with the extra NHS costs, so now we have to pay more for our tickets as wider seats would mean less fare paying pax and higher tickets just because they cant keep their calorie intake down! Simple solution, if you have to pay for extra KG with your overstuffed luggage, they should have to pay extra KG for their overstuffed bodies!!!

  • Lesley

    6 months ago

    Lesley

    What a bloody ridiculous show! Why should any thing be changed for them? Lose weight and get over it!

  • Paul

    6 months ago

    Paul

    Charge them more, ridiculas, charge them for 2 seats!!!!

  • KrystalPaterson

    6 months ago

    KrystalPaterson

    No. Understanding

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  • Scott

    6 months ago

    Scott

    Are these people looking for sympathy?

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