Plus-size traveller calls out coach for 'cramped' seats that left her 'bruised'

Travelling while plus-size throws up all sorts of faff.

From asking for seatbelt extenders on planes to judgemental looks from fellow passengers, there’s so much to navigate.

Kirsty Leanne, who blogs about her experiences on Plus Size Travel Too, knows this all too well – and is doing the important work of calling out where brands are going wrong when it comes to empowering plus-size people to travel.

One recent gripe she raised: the seats on a National Express coach.

Kirsty, 29, from Shropshire, took a coach from Birmingham International Airport to Stansted Airport, where she was catching a flight to Hamburg.

She filmed her experience of coach seats she says were ‘cramped’ and left her ‘bruised’, despite having paid £2.50 for extra legroom in anticipation.

‘Seats are even smaller than airline seats,’ Kirsty said in the video.

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‘My arm felt very cramped against the window.’

Showing a metal object at the side of her seat, she said: ‘This kept digging into my leg and left a bruise.

‘Seatbelt was crossbody and so tight and uncomfortable. I couldn’t find any info about extenders on their website.’

Extra legroom was delivered, but Kirsty found the overall comfort of the seats seriously lacking.

‘I paid to reserve a seat I knew had space – at the front where there’s no seat in front – this meant that I had a little more legroom than if I had been a couple of rows back,’ said Kirsty.

‘However, I was still cramped when it came to the window, as there’s a ledge where the window sticks out and digs into your shoulder.

‘As I had no one over me I could move over into the next seat a little but if someone had sat next to me, this would have been painful after a long period of time.

‘The seatbelt was another issue as it was a crossbody with not a lot of room. I was uncomfortable wearing it and could only sit slightly laid back in my seat when it was on.’

National Express does in fact offer seatbelt extenders, which Kirsty found out after her journey – you just need to ask for one when you board.

National Express has also been contacted for comment on this issue, and we’ll update this article if we hear back.

The blogger urges other plus-size travellers to do their research and be prepared before hopping aboard coaches.

‘I couldn’t actually find any information on the seats’ width online – but have reached out to ask as I believe this information should be readily available to those that need it when planning their journey,’ she said.

‘There’s also a small level at the side of the seats that because of the lack of space, dug into my side and left me with a small bruise on my leg.

‘Because of this, I’d suggest sitting in an aisle seat if possible.

‘National Express is a great way to get from A to B and I think if you’re prepared with this information beforehand, you can definitely do things to make yourself feel a little more comfortable.

‘One of the main things that puts plus size people off travelling is not knowing what to expect when they travel, so I like to prepare them for this by showing them what certain experiences are like.’

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