Flying is definitely easier as a normal size person. It's not that I thought it would be otherwise, but part of me just thought flying was a pain for everyone.
After spending a day at airports (from San Jose to Dallas to Norfolk, Va.), I can categorically say the trip was like none I've ever experienced.
Though I could ramble on about differences noted throughout my journey, I think the most remarkable changes were felt on the plane. Not only did I have ample legroom in the coach cabin, but I had at least two inches of room on either side of me to spare in the seat. I didn't have the arm rests cutting into my hips. I didn't need to worry about crowding the passenger next to me.
Not needing a seat-belt extender made this trip so much more pleasant than my last. There is nothing more embarassing than having to ask a flight attendant for one and wait -- patiently -- while one is tracked down while nearby passengers glare at you for delaying takeoff.
Ooh...and let's not forget the tray table. Not only did it fully lower, it did so without touching my belly or thighs. I could actually cross my legs beneath it!
What to eat
The only real challenge was food. Most airlines no longer provide in-flight meals. That's not so bad for the average passenger. The sandwiches sold in airport cafes for $9 each are probably immensely better than what used to pass for food on the flight. But for someone who's had WLS, planning is essential.
I talked to other post-ops who are frequent flyers to get tips, and I must say I benefitted from their expertise. Everyone I spoke with agreed that the most important thing to do is pack protein-rich foods. Such foods would provide the necessary energy for a day of traveling, but also help keep me on track. After all, I wouldn't want to arrive at my destination too weak to have any fun.
I packed two cans of Snack & Slim pudding (each has 20g of protein and is sugar free), three sticks of string cheese (8g of protein each), two EAS AdvantEdge Carb Control protein bars (21g of protein each), one EAS AdvantEdge Carb Control RTD (15g of protein) and a scoop of IsoFruit protein cocktail mixed in 28 oz of water (21g of protein).
Traveling messes with my internal clock, and I wasn't sure what to make of my intermittent feelings of hunger. At some points, I felt like I was eating too much, others not enough. But in the end, I did OK. Unfortunately, I didn't pack enough for the return trip.
By midnight Wednesday, I had eaten one of the puddings, three cheese sticks, the EAS drink, one protein bar (eaten in two intervals) and about half of the IsoFruit cocktail (the cantaloupe-melon flavor is quite tasty). That accounted for about 90 grams of protein and roughly 650 calories.
The one thing I didn't do well with is drinking water. Including the IsoFruit drink, I packed 60 oz of water. I'm supposed to drink 80 oz a day, but I thought 60 would be good enough. The problem is that I don't like to use the restroom on airplanes, and that encourages me to drink less water than I should. By the end of the day, I had only consumed about 30 oz of fluid...not good.