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Photo: Motortion Films (Shutterstock) Every day, flying commercial reaches new depths of pain and suffering. Airlines keep finding new ways to save pennies, which almost always translates into new humiliations for passengers. And while many of the factors that make flying so awful are systemic, including overworked flight crews and the chaos of security checkpoints, much of the misery is physical—because the seats are shrinking. Decades ago, airline seats were typically about 18.5 wide, and rows were set an average of 31-35 inches apart —not exactly luxurious, but comfortable for most people. Today the average seat is 17-17.5 inches, and the distance between rows can be as little as 29 inches. And although no airline has actually ordered any, some monster even invented “standing” seats with just 23 inches of room between rows—and you know some airline will pull the trigger on those one of these days. All of this means that air travel is terrible for everyone. But if you’re what the airlines refer to as a “passenger of size”—that is, an overweight traveler—it can be excruciating…and expensive, as many airlines require heftier passengers to purchase additional seats to accommodate them. Of course, airlines are free to set these policies as they see fit, and passengers must adhere to them or find themselves unwelcome onboard the plane. But don’t despair (or dispair slightly less), as there are ways to make your airline experience a little more pleasant and affordable. Four essential rules for traveling while “of size” When […]