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It's Crazy to Blame Fat People for Ruining Air Travel

September 30, 2014 in Blogs

By Lindy West, The Guardian

The experience of air travel has always been dismal — yet there are entire blogs devoted to hating overweight people on planes.

I don’t want to intimidate anyone here, but I recently flew first class on an aeroplane. Yes, I know. You’re impressed. I know. No, I am neither a venture capitalist nor a sultan. Yes, I paid for the upgrade myself. No, I cannot invest in your start-up. (Yes, I know what a “start-up” is, kind of.) And no, flying first class is not a regular occurrence in my life. In fact, I can think of few things more glamorously, unattainably alien than sitting to the fore of that little curtain – that imperious cotton-poly shroud that separates the serfs from their betters. Yet there I was, up front, next to a businessman in a suit that cost more than my car, and behind a man who kept angrily attempting to sell a boat over the phone even after they told us to stop making phone calls.

The first rule of first class, apparently, is that there are no rules. (The second rule is “don’t let the poor people use the rich-people bathroom”.)

I wondered if my fellow first-classers – all virility and spreadsheets – could discern that I was a fraud, that I only paid $50 for my upgrade, that I could only afford that much because my job covered the rest of my ticket. I may have betrayed myself when the flight attendant asked if I’d like a “special drink” before take-off and I yelled, “A SPECIAL DRINK!?” and then ordered three. Why just have coffee like some row-26 peasant when you could have coffee, ginger ale and a mimosa!? This, as I’d been assured by the airline industry, was the life.

But as the flight progressed, its sheen dulled. At some point, once the initial thrill of being adjacent to a four-figure boat sale had worn off, I realised: these special drinks weren’t remotely special. This free french-dip sandwich was in no way luxurious (also, “sandwich” is a rather generous term for a microwaved wad of airborne …read more


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