Too Bootylicious for Flying? Model’s Fight for Bigger First Class Seats

Gracie Bon, an Instagram model renowned for her notably large buttocks, is imploring airlines to install bigger first class seats. She argues that passengers who, as Sisqó put it, have dumps like a truck just cannot fit comfortably.

Ms. Bon shares the challenges she faces navigating airports and flights, showing how she’s larger than the seats. She might find it more comfortable to sit in coach, buying herself to adjacent seats, but appears to prefer to sit up front. She wants both wider and deeper seating. She needs a seatbelt extender, and can get belted. But it’s still uncomfortable to fly.

Bon argues that it is the responsibility of airlines to accommodate passengers of various sizes, including those with larger bodies like hers. She contends that her large buttocks are not a result of her choices, stating, “It’s not my fault to have an a[..] this big.” Some viewers push back – suggesting that she appears surgically enhanced and maybe it is her choice?

“Big Curvy Olivia” points to a related issue: she says it is discrimination that aircraft aisles are so narrow, and posts video of herself struggling to get through a United Airlines Polaris business class cabin.

Last year, Jaelynn Chaney started a petition demanding additional free seats for plus-sized passengers which, she acknowledged, would mean that everyone else would have to pay more to accommodate her. Then in the fall she was back with demands for hotels: wider hallways; larger elevators; and retrofits to bathroom toilet seat, shower heads, and sturdier beds. And she thinks it’s discriminatory for hotels not to stock bathrobes up to size 6XL.

Most facilities are built with the median consumer in mind, or at least the 80% consumer. In certain kinds of construction federal laws dictate accommodation for those who need it, and that’s incorporated into building codes. For widebody aircraft there does need to be a larger (accessible) lavatory. The government plans to eventually require on smaller planes.

However there’s not been serious consideration of whether to mandate wider seats and wider aisles. That would require taking out seats – perhaps two from each row of coach, or roughly a third of seats from the aircraft. It would have a significant financial effect both on airlines and passengers.

In this case I suspect that (1) the woman was displaying her challenges sitting even in a first class seat in the most dramatic way possible, for her likes and shares, and (2) she does manage to fly, just uncomfortably and it’s uncomfortable for many people (!) so this hardly makes the case that she’s being denied transportation. Hardly actionable as a disability accommodation in my view. I’d love to be able to have better premium seats, though! I miss what Virgin America used to offer up front on non-premium cross country flights for instance.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I find big3 first class seats awful for the opposite reason

    All the fat people wear out the seat cushions which cause me to slide into their ass depressions which are too far forward due to the back fat and that gives me low back pain.

    Ironically as a person of height the only saving grace is in economy my knees are slammed against the seat in front of me which keeps me pressed up against the seat back.

    I find frontier and spirit seats far more comfortable for this reason. There is no padding for large folks to deform.

  2. No that’s a personal situation, implants, being naturally plus sized and obesity are personal issues. Don’t make others pay for your situation it’s selfish! I am sorry no, just no!

  3. I cannot believe that every airline (or other public accommodation, for that matter) should be legally constrained to “fit,” or offer something for absolutely everyone. That is just not rational nor feasible.

  4. Is the FedEx Panda Express 777F available to transport people who cannot fit in seats when not transporting Pandas?

  5. I think rather than bigger seats, they ought to ban her as an evacuation safety hazard unless she can prove being able to exit an over wing emergency exit without delaying or blocking any one.

    As a minimum, she should sign a waiver acknowledging it is a hazard to other passengers and to her to allow her to fly.

  6. I believe those are massive and unattractive butt implants. Somehow I was reminded of Disney’s film from 1995 called Operation “Dumbo Drop that involves transporting an elephant by plane.

    I agree with the comments from K b Harrington.

  7. I actually laughed when I saw her video. Honestly, that was my initial reaction. I don’t know what more to say

  8. When outsize people become a protected class, the airlines will have to make reasonable accommodations for them. Let’s see who has the last laugh then.

  9. The airlines have made accomadations for her in the cargo hold. That is where they keep the horses.

  10. If you can afford to have enlargement procedures, and afford to fly, you can afford to fly private jets. First world problem!

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