Most of us at one time or another have had to fly. Sometimes that trip is easy, sometimes nightmarish. The chance of it being nightmarish is worse if you happen to be fat. Fat people are often stigmatised and/or marginialized by the airline industry (I think that they find it easier to nickle and dime the flying public off the backs of fatties). Some are better than others but basically even though they claim to "serve the customer" you are actually not that important. (All that is wrong with the airline industry is a rant for another day another blog. But here is a good article about it.)
And a quick shameless plug. Let Travel Abundantly help with your vacation plans. They are a business especially geared for us fatties. And if you got 10 bucks join the Association for Airline Passenger Rights which works with NAAFA and is fully aware of the discrimination fat people face at the airlines.
So here are some tips (some of which are not in my book but I got at the NAAFA con's tips on traveling)
1. Shop around Right now, from word of mouth, I suggest Jetblue. It is my preferred airline and the seats aren't so bad. (A woman at the NAAFA con was proud to say she was able to get Jetblue's tray table down.) While they have their issues, they seem to have the nicer seats plus you can get an upgrade for the seats with extra space (price depends on costs of the ticket). Also if you have a favorite airline, continue to use them.
2. Travel times and packing. When traveling try to go it off peak, late at night or early in the morning and travel on Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday (Less business travelers.) When packing use space saving bags so you can pack clothes more compactly. And wear natural clothes on the plane, less chance of burning in a fire as well. Airlines almost all charged after one checked bag (at a certain weight), so try to pack as light as possible.
3. Disability issues. Be sure to contact the airlines and let them know if you have some kind of disability. If you have trouble walking, it's okay to get a wheelchair (make sure you get a big one), because airlines are notorious for changing gates. Be sure to get curbside check in. (Make sure you tip); Feel free to camp out at a terminal restaurant until it's time to board and pre-board because it will give you a chance to get settle in.
4. That pesky second seat. I'm sorry to say most airlines charge for the second seat if you can't fit into one. And there is currently no law in the US protecting fat people from this discrimination. So if you have to fly, and you think you are too big for a standard seat, here are some suggestions. If you can afford buy business or first class; seat next to a friend with you either on the window or the aisle, with them in the middle, so you are encourching on them.) Or if you are fatties traveling together, split the costs for the seat in the middle. Again try to travel off peak and let the flight attentent know you would like to be seated next to an empty seat. Supposedly Delta doesn't charge for the second seat and Jetblue will try to accomendate (Although their policy is the same as the other airlines.)
Now why I hate Southwest. If you remove Southwest's fat hatred, they seem to be reasonable. After all they are one of the few airlines that refunds the second seat if the flight isn't overbook and they will give you frequent flier miles for it. While I believe in one person, one ticket, this policy isn't as bad as United or Northwest that won't give you a refund or frequent flier miles.
However Southwest has no uniform policy. They randomly pick out fatties usually on returning or connecting flights. Director Kevin Smith was booted from a return flight for supposedly being to fat to fly in a single seat even though her was able to get his armrests down. He was not the only one. Most recently Southwest decided to humiliate a young woman by first forcing her to buy a second seat even though she flew without a problem before and was willing to sit next to an aunt and uncle. They still forced her to buy the seat claiming safety reasons, but later refunded her the money and moved her uncle into that extra seat she bought because they couldn't find space for another passenger. So much for her safety.