The Not-So-Friendly Skies For The Big Show

By Marcus Vanderberg 

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Paul Wight, aka The Big Show of World Wrestling Entertainment, wrote a piece in The New York Times (with an assist from Joan Raymond) on the struggles of flying as a 7-foot, 450 pound man.

Like other WWE wrestlers, Wight is on the road more than he’s at home and travels on an airplane at a minimum of twice a week.

“Even first class is difficult for me. It’s tough when the seat is two to three feet wide, maximum, and your derriere exceeds that by almost a foot. Plus, “first class” can mean different things depending on the flight.

W.W.E. not only performs in big cities, but also in smaller regional locations. On a regional plane, the first-class seat is only slightly larger than a coach seat on most domestic flights.

I do the best I can and try not to cause anyone any misery. But I’m usually the one who is getting beat up. Flight attendants should have to take driving lessons for their food and beverage carts. No matter how small I try to make myself, my feet and knees will often be hanging out a little bit in the aisle.

Odds are good that a flight attendant will run those carts over my feet or into my knees several times during the course of the flight. I can wind up a little black and blue, which is better than the dirty looks I get from the attendants.

Airplane restrooms are a “no fly zone” for me, but sometimes you have to answer Mother Nature’s call. It’s tough enough for a 5-foot-7 person to maneuver in an airplane restroom, so imagine me.

Even in some bigger planes, the lights in the bathroom ceiling burn my bald head, and the contortions I have to go through are amazing. I come out of an airplane restroom drenched in sweat like I tried to run a marathon.

One time on a regional flight I couldn’t shut the bathroom door. The attendant was awesome and held a blanket up to shield me. My fellow passengers were grateful.”

I’m grateful too. That’s a scary visual.