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Old Sep 22, 09, 12:39 pm   #1
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Petition: air passenger remaining in own wheelchair

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Sally O'Neill is a 17-year-old girl with cerebral palsy, and all she wants when she flies is to be able to remain in her own wheelchair. Sally is circulating a petition calling on the airline industry to modify the first seat in the first row to allow passengers with disabilities using wheelchairs to remain in their own wheelchairs during flight.
Full article: http://www.eturbonews.com/11822/seve...air-accessibil
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Old Sep 28, 09, 9:32 am   #2
 
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Originally Posted by Katja View Post
How would this work? Would the passenger have to purchase a FC ticket? If not, what would happen to those who did purchase FC tickets and were assigned that seat?
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Old Sep 28, 09, 2:16 pm   #3
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Candy Harrington's followup:

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Unfortunately I don't think she will be very successful.

First off she is barking up the wrong tree. She apparently is directing her effort to the airlines, and the fact of the matter is that they have very little control over the situation. The rules are set by the DOT/FAA and the airlines have to follow them.
Read the whole thing: http://barrierfreetravels.com/serend...nts-to-Fly.htm
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Old Sep 29, 09, 6:03 am   #4
 
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It's great to see a young person with so much ambition. Sadly, I don't think she will be very successful with her cause. Airplane seats have to be designed to meet very stringent crash tests and I doubt that a wheelchair would be sturdy enough to withstand the negative g forces that the FAA requires. On paper I think it's a wonderful theory, just wish there was a realistic way to make it happen.
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Old Sep 29, 09, 8:11 am   #5
 
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Originally Posted by GalleyWench View Post
It's great to see a young person with so much ambition. Sadly, I don't think she will be very successful with her cause. Airplane seats have to be designed to meet very stringent crash tests and I doubt that a wheelchair would be sturdy enough to withstand the negative g forces that the FAA requires. On paper I think it's a wonderful theory, just wish there was a realistic way to make it happen.
(My bold added above....) If we can go to the moon and back, we can design an airline seat that mimics the new wheelchair movements. The new lie flat beds in Business Elite are a prime example of how far airline seating has come. Don't concentrate on placing a wheelchair in the airlines, concentrate on making the airline seat with multiple adjustments.

Harleycat asked "how would this work". By having the airline seat adjustable, there would be no problem using the seat by an abled bodied person when no handicapped person is on board. The seat is 100% usable.

As to buying a FC ticket I say no. The airline can place the seat in the economy section if they want to lose the extra space needed, (recline position, etc). Just my 2 cents worth.
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Old Oct 1, 09, 6:58 pm   #6
 
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Originally Posted by ncvet61 View Post
(My bold added above....) If we can go to the moon and back, we can design an airline seat that mimics the new wheelchair movements. The new lie flat beds in Business Elite are a prime example of how far airline seating has come. Don't concentrate on placing a wheelchair in the airlines, concentrate on making the airline seat with multiple adjustments.

Harleycat asked "how would this work". By having the airline seat adjustable, there would be no problem using the seat by an abled bodied person when no handicapped person is on board. The seat is 100% usable.

As to buying a FC ticket I say no. The airline can place the seat in the economy section if they want to lose the extra space needed, (recline position, etc). Just my 2 cents worth.
If you reread the previous posts you will see that the question isn't whether or not they can design a "new" type of seat. The OP in the article states that she wants to remain in HER OWN CHAIR, not any type of airline seat. My statement was that there is no wheelchair manufactured that would meet the FAA minimum requirements for withstanding the forces needed to qualify for certification. Sounds like she is looking for some type of brackets to bolt her own chair into so that she can occupy her w/c for the entire flight.
Even the bases of the lie-flat seats are extremely sturdy and meet the stringent requirements needed. Also, seats aren't something that can easily be moved between cabins between flights, it would take a team of mechanics to move them and there simply isn't time or manpower to do it on a daily basis.
I truly do admire her dedication, but sadly I just don't think it's very realistic.
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Old Oct 1, 09, 7:26 pm   #7
 
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Originally Posted by GalleyWench View Post
If you reread the previous posts you will see that the question isn't whether or not they can design a "new" type of seat. The OP in the article states that she wants to remain in HER OWN CHAIR, not any type of airline seat. My statement was that there is no wheelchair manufactured that would meet the FAA minimum requirements for withstanding the forces needed to qualify for certification. Sounds like she is looking for some type of brackets to bolt her own chair into so that she can occupy her w/c for the entire flight.
Even the bases of the lie-flat seats are extremely sturdy and meet the stringent requirements needed. Also, seats aren't something that can easily be moved between cabins between flights, it would take a team of mechanics to move them and there simply isn't time or manpower to do it on a daily basis.
I truly do admire her dedication, but sadly I just don't think it's very realistic.
I guess I wasn't clear in my explanation. I read the previous post and I understand her reasoning for wanting to remain in her chair. I understand her reasonings as my wheelchair has about 12 different movements, including tilting to a level position when going uphill or even when going around the hill sideways. I know that a one position chair is very uncomfortable especially on long trips.

However, my contention is that the airline seat manufacturer can make an airline seat that mimics the movements of all these chairs, thus allowing a person the comfort of THEIR chair, but actually be sitting in an airline seat.

Your second part about lie-flat seats is my point. It has several electronic movements... ADD SEVERAL MORE.... And as far as removing the seat.... Using a fixed seat like the lie-flat would eliminate the need to "remove or move" any seat to accommodate the handicap traveler. The seat could be used by either the handicap traveler or an able bodied person if no handicap individuals are booked.

My point on not being required to pay for a FC ticket, was merely to indicate that the airline could place the new lie-flat handicap seat in economy, (Permanently of course, not movable), if they wanted to lose a seat or two, as the lie-flat would take up more room. Leaving it in FC would really be the solution.

To address this problem I think it would come about faster if the Airline Seats were especially built by the airline manufacturers, rather than a removable seat with wheelchair tie-downs being built by the wheelchair industry..

AND.... I think it is realistic, but sadly I too don't think it will happen, at least not in the forseeable future. Cost vs Return.
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Old Oct 1, 09, 7:35 pm   #8
 
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Looking at that picture it looks like 1A and 2A would need to be removable...then there's the issue of squeezing the chair into 1A.
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Old Oct 2, 09, 9:36 pm   #9
 
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Originally Posted by ncvet61 View Post
I guess I wasn't clear in my explanation. I read the previous post and I understand her reasoning for wanting to remain in her chair. I understand her reasonings as my wheelchair has about 12 different movements, including tilting to a level position when going uphill or even when going around the hill sideways. I know that a one position chair is very uncomfortable especially on long trips.

However, my contention is that the airline seat manufacturer can make an airline seat that mimics the movements of all these chairs, thus allowing a person the comfort of THEIR chair, but actually be sitting in an airline seat.

Your second part about lie-flat seats is my point. It has several electronic movements... ADD SEVERAL MORE.... And as far as removing the seat.... Using a fixed seat like the lie-flat would eliminate the need to "remove or move" any seat to accommodate the handicap traveler. The seat could be used by either the handicap traveler or an able bodied person if no handicap individuals are booked.

My point on not being required to pay for a FC ticket, was merely to indicate that the airline could place the new lie-flat handicap seat in economy, (Permanently of course, not movable), if they wanted to lose a seat or two, as the lie-flat would take up more room. Leaving it in FC would really be the solution.

To address this problem I think it would come about faster if the Airline Seats were especially built by the airline manufacturers, rather than a removable seat with wheelchair tie-downs being built by the wheelchair industry..

AND.... I think it is realistic, but sadly I too don't think it will happen, at least not in the forseeable future. Cost vs Return.
Gotcha!
Sorry about the confusion.
As someone who has worked in cabins with the lie flat seats, trust me...you don't want to add any more features to them! Our airplane mechanics main complaint with those seats is that they have way too many moving parts now and it's a major headache to perform any type of maintenance on them. They long for the days of simple fixes and not so many technical options to break.
Completely agree with you as well that you will probably never see this offered as a Y seat because of the cost involved for the airlines in having to remove other seats to accommodate it. I'd love for them to be able to figure something out to make travel more comfortable for everyone.
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Old Oct 6, 09, 1:34 pm   #10
 
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Originally Posted by GalleyWench View Post
It's great to see a young person with so much ambition. Sadly, I don't think she will be very successful with her cause. Airplane seats have to be designed to meet very stringent crash tests and I doubt that a wheelchair would be sturdy enough to withstand the negative g forces that the FAA requires. On paper I think it's a wonderful theory, just wish there was a realistic way to make it happen.

Amen to the safety concearns mentioned here! To be honest, too many powerchairs out there that are used while being transported in a car aren't even safe in case of any crash. There are not too many powerchairs I know off that actually get crash-tested for being safely transported in while in a car. A car crash is 'nothing' compared to the forces that one experiences when faced with an aircrash, emergency landing etc.

I am a VERY avid user of both my powerchair and manual chair. Heck, having a seat even just one inch or degree off will cause me a lot of pain. Not to mention the fact that I'm used to a seat that chances to my bodies needs each and every second over and over again. The powerchair has actually been crash-tested and is considered 'safe' for usage while driving. Any airline seat (including first/business) is a royal pain for me. Yet, no way I will want to flight in my own wheelchair. I would rather be in pain from the discomfort of a seat than be dead -or more disabled- because I wanted to sit comfortably and oops...... the plane crashed.


Making airline seats more comfortable? To be honest, I've seen too many folks that would need too many ajustments to start to make an airline seat 'comfortable'. It would be way too costly, and somehow I can't imagine the general flying public willing to pay such an increase of fare.


Besides all of this, no way it would work. If it was even discussed as a real option, it would have to be open to fit any kind of wheelchair. After all if it does not, discrimination will be shouted within seconds. Now a manual chair isn't too big of a size challenge. A powerchair becomes a bit worse. A powerchair with lots of extra aids on it; even a bit more. A powerchair with tilting options; still more. After all; the person in the chair has these options because they need them, so they'll want to use them on a long haul flight. And then there comes along the customer that uses a lie flat wheelchair. Woops. Those quickly are the size of a regular one person bed. That in itself takes about, how many........... 4 seats at least? I can not imagine it being cost effective enough to such a point to make this work.
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Old Oct 7, 09, 3:26 pm   #11
 
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I can not imagine it being cost effective enough to such a point to make this work.
Therein lies the problem.... Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Or more to the point of staying on Thread, which comes first? More handicap parking spaces and wider aisles in stores, or more handicap people shopping to justify more parking and wider aisles?

How do we really know if something is cost effective? We would need an accurate count of the net cost of all items all handicap shoppers purchased, vs the cost of installing the additional spaces, (or more accurately the loss of some normal parking spaces), and vs the loss of revenue from the loss of aisle space.

Probably most all ADA requirements are not cost effective. Our old Court House was finally forced to install an elevator as the criminal courts and traffic courts were on the fourth floor. Sadly, I doubt there are that many fines to pay for such an expensive expansion.

I for one would fly a lot if it were more comfortable. It's not, so I don't. But as pointed out so often, they don't even take proper care of power chairs in the cargo hold......
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