A plus size passenger has gone viral on TikTok slamming National Express for the size of its “cramped” seats – leaving social media users divided.
Kirsty Leanne, 29, from Shropshire, recently shared a video of her experience on the coach service which she described as “very uncomfortable” – despite booking a seat with extra leg room.
Kirsty previously made headlines after sharing her experience flying on Ryan Air, where she complained about the seat sizes.
However, she said the seats on the coach were even smaller than those on the budget airline.
The plus size blogger was travelling on 21 April from Birmingham International Airport to Stansted Airport, where she was catching a flight to Hamburg.
She filmed her experience after reserving a seat with extra legroom for £2.50 in anticipation of cramped conditions.
In the clip, she said: “Seats are even smaller than airline seats.
“My arm felt very cramped against the window.”
Showing a metal object at the side of her seat, Kirsty 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.”
However, paying more for extra space worked well as she agreed there was “lots of legroom” during the journey.
Kirsty shared the clip on TikTok (@kirstyleannetravels) with her 50,000 followers, where the post garnered 44,000 views – as well as some controversy.
One user commented: “It’s your choice and not a fault of a company.”
“Who’s fault is that,” added another viewer.
Someone else agreed: “I’m large and from personal experience, I don’t blame airlines, coach and train companies for having regular sized seating etc.”
“You’ve got no one to blame but yourself,” insisted one viewer.
However, other people agreed with Kirsty.
One person said: “I did the Megabus MCR>Reading for Easter, v uncomfortable 5 hours!”
“I often do the bus, either NE or MB Leeds to London. Like you say, it’s not comfortable but plus size people deserve to travel too,” agreed another user.
Someone else added: “Lol I am a size 18/20 (UK) and couldn’t get the belt done up.” [sic]
“This is one reason I’m often travel by train when I can afford it, it’s pricey though,” another person added.
“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,” Kirsty, who shares travel tips on her blog, Plus Size Travel Too, told NeedToKnow.
“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.
“I have since learnt that all National Express coaches have seatbelt extenders, so it’s definitely worth asking when you board if you think you’ll need one.
“The seats were also small. I’d go as far as to say they’re smaller than airline seats but I couldn’t actually find any information on their 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.
“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.”
A spokesperson for National Express told Jam Press: “Customer comfort is important to us with all of our coaches fitted with reclining seats, offering a seat size and legroom (pitch) comparable to other modes of public transport:
“Seat size of 450mm width vs. 430-457mm on short haul flights. Legroom (pitch) of 760-780mm vs. 710-860mm on short haul flights – with a larger option in our wheelchair accessible space.
“Our assisted travel team can be contacted for any additional needs if a passenger has concerns. We also offer seat belt extensions which can be requested from the driver.”