As you read recently, I took my first flight since beginning my weight loss journey. The result? A mixed bag. Entering and exiting the plane was greatly simplified, walking down the aisle was much easier, and sitting between the armrests was possible. I still needed to use a belt extender, though. Read on to find out how I fared on foot in Houston.
For my flight to Houston from Little Rock this weekend I flew on a Bombardier Q400. Even with the armrest down, I was able to comfortably fit in the seat and operate the recline button. The tray table still wouldn’t go all the way down, but it’s close. Maybe next time? This was a very pleasant flight (well, for a turboprop).
The flight back from Houston was on an Embraer RJ145, which has been my aircraft of choice as a big guy only because the A row consists of single seats — no rubbing shoulders with strangers. The seats on this aircraft felt a bit more narrow than the Q400, but the armrest by the window raises if you can find the hidden button. There was no chance of the tray table going down on this plane.
To say that the return flight was full would be an understatement. The gate agent was asking for eight volunteers to bump to a later flight. Once the passengers and their gate-checked bags were on the aircraft an announcement was made that the aircraft was over its weight limit. Three more people were asked to bump to a later flight. As a big guy, I felt very nervous that they’d try to bump me specifically for the weight benefit. Fortunately, the needed volunteers were found and the flight departed.
Meanwhile, on the ground in Houston…
One of the benefits of losing 70 pounds and walking 2-3 miles daily is that the shuffle from the terminal to ground transportation is no longer a challenge. I made an effort to walk or take public transportation while there. Bus stop six blocks away? No sweat.
The cab fare between the conference hotel and the airport would have been $48.00. The bus fare was $1.25. The problem? The bus terminal was at Terminal C; I was at Terminal A. Turns out, it was quite a pleasant walk using the underground corridor that runs between the terminals.
On the ground, navigating Houston was not as trouble-free as I would have liked. A group of us decided to go to a restaurant a little over 3 miles from the hotel. Having experienced great success using the bus to get to the hotel, I convinced our group to use the bus to get to the restaurant. Seventy minutes, one transfer, and two calls to the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County later, we arrived safely at our destination. We took a cab home.
Weight loss makes traveling considerably easier. Flying is simplified, though not trouble-free. Getting around on foot is very freeing. Bus stops just a few blocks away are now “within walking distance.” Even with an iPhone, you’re likely to get lost, but you won’t be out of breath