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Telford travel vlogger says airlines 'should do more' for plus-size people as TikTok video goes viral

A plus-size video blogger has spoken about her experience flying on a Ryanair flight, after her video documenting the experience went viral on TikTok.

Kirsty in Disneyland, Paris. Photo: Instagram @Kirstyleannetravels
Kirsty in Disneyland, Paris. Photo: Instagram @Kirstyleannetravels

@KirstyLeanneTravels, as she is known on TikTok, is a content creator from Telford, or in her words a "plus-size travel content creator" and documents her travel experiences for other plus-size people.

The 29-year-old's latest video documenting her flight from London Stansted Airport to Hamburg, Germany on a Ryanair flight has gone viral with over 1.3million views, 95,000 likes and almost 5000 comments.

In the video, Kirsty Leanne shows her experience going on a flight as a plus-size person, showing things like what seat she is assigned, showing how much legroom she has, having to ask for a seatbelt extender, showing whether her tray table is able to be brought down and deciding the bathroom was a "no go" as it was too small to use.

Kirsty in London. Photo: Instagram @Kirstyleannetravels @callmeadventurous

The viral video has been met with a backlash, with many viewers rushing to condemn Kirsty for criticising Ryanair for the small space.

Kirsty says she simply documented her experience of travelling on a Ryanair flight as a plus-size person and pointed out the true details of her journey.

She said: "I create content for plus-size travellers - showing what the different experiences may be like for them, and point out what to look out for.

"I create content for TikTok, Instagram, I have my own blog as well called 'plus-size travel too', as well as a personal general travel blog.

"One of the reasons I did the Ryanair video was because I had loads of requests asking me to make a video for a Ryanair flight which have been known for having smaller seats et cetera.

"So I just filmed my experience of getting my seat assignment without paying to choose for my seat, showed what the seat and space was like, and just showed the reality of what it's like to travel on a Ryanair flight as a plus-size person.

"I hadn't paid for an extra seat, or a seat with extra legroom or pay extra to choose my seat because I believe we should all be able to travel on a budget and not have to pay for extras.

"Also, if you pay for an extra legroom seat by the emergency exits, you cannot have a seatbelt extender."

Speaking on the reaction to the video she said: "Most people aren't too happy with it [the video] and think that I'm blaming Ryanair, where as in fact they should do a lot more to accommodate plus-size travellers. If something is small, I'm going to call it small, I'm not going to dress it up for something else.

"Airlines should be doing a lot more for plus-size travellers. Like in America, I know that Southwest Airlines are very accommodating to plus-size travellers, and even let you have a second seat next to you for free if they are available without any extra cost too.

"So this is my point, other airlines have shown it can be done and I believe other airlines should start accommodating the same, but people aren't happy with me saying it.

"The negative people commenting are saying that I'm complaining but that is not true, I'm just providing information."

Kirsty has been blogging since 2014, and then started the plus-size Travel Too blog in 2018 alongside an Instagram account, and then launched her website in July 2020 during the lockdown to take it to the next step, and wanted a place for all her content to be available rather than just social media.

Kirsty in Dubrovnik, Croatia Photo: Instagram @Kirstyleannetravels

She said: "Having a website is key, because most people that visit the site are specifically searching for the content that I make. So people want information on plus-size travel, and I like to be able to give them information.

"I get a lot of messages from people saying how much I helped them and that I helped them realise they can travel too as a plus-size person.

"These types of messages and comments are rewarding and it feels good to get this kind of reaction despite the negative ones.

"Even if I receive one million negative comments, having just one positive one saying that I helped makes it all worth it."

With over 50,000 followers in total across her social media pages, and with millions of views, Kirsty has big plans for the future in order to further help plus-size people be able to travel, and keep providing information.

One of the ways she aims to help people is by approaching travel companies and airlines, and make sure that they have information available for plus-size passengers.

She said: "I want to talk with airlines and travel businesses to accommodate plus-size people. The information is not available or easy to access for people, so I want them to make it available and easy to access. Even if they give me the information and I can then pass that on.

"An example is, I started doing a post about theme parks in the UK and whether they are plus-size friendly, so I wanted to find information on size and weight limits on attractions but it was nowhere, or very difficult to access - so I and others want this info.

"So I aim to approach these businesses for this info, and I plan to continue to travel and blog and document my experiences."

Next up for Kirsty is a cruise and then she travels to Lisbon next month - exciting journeys ahead where she will blog the experiences.

Ryanair haven't reached out to her yet, and she doesn't expect them to. She said: "Ryanair haven't been in touch about the video.

"Their TikTok account is actually really good, and ahead of the game with trends and brands. I love their TikTok account, and I'm sure they've probably seen my video, but I doubt they'll get in touch."

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