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Old Jan 23, 07, 12:35 am   #1
 
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Exit Row rules...

I was recently on a NW flight SFO-HNL and landed an exit row aisle seat. I got there first, and then the middle seat passenger arrived, an older lady. At first I didn't think much of this, but when she was putting her suitcase in the overhead compartment, she was having trouble and some passengers in the next aisle helped her get it in there. After realizing it wasn't too gentlemanly of me to not help her out, I then realized that this passenger had just had trouble lifting her suitcase into the compartment.

If she had trouble doing this, how could she handle a 50 lb+ door in case of an emergency?

I kept my mouth shut, although part of me thinks by doing so I neglected a responsibility of sitting in that seat. What are your thoughts on this situation? Do you think the FAs would even have cared?
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Old Jan 23, 07, 6:47 am   #2
 
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Was she having a hard time squeezing it into the bin, or was she just unable to lift it? Most of the time the FAs come around to all of the exit rows prior to departure and ask everyone sitting there if they are able to perform the "exit row duties" if necessary. If the passenger answers "yes", then the FA pretty much has to take their word for it unless the passenger appears obviously frail or incapable. You might have tried pulling the FA aside, and as discreetly as possible mentioned that you were uncomfortable sitting next to the passenger because she seemed too (frail/weak/insert your own word) to handle the exit row duties..
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Old Jan 23, 07, 7:16 am   #3
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Having difficulty lifting a heavy piece of luggage over one's head doesn't necessarily mean she can't pull a door and be a calming and competent force helping the FAs in an emergency. If she said she can fulfill all of the exit row requirements, then that's that.
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Old Jan 23, 07, 9:23 am   #4
 
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Originally Posted by Analise View Post
If she said she can fulfill all of the exit row requirements, then that's that.
Well... not quite.... she could be deranged... I'm sure on every flight there are a dozen or so pax who think they could fly the thing if necessary...

More likely she just wasn't asked. Perhaps as an average looking middle-aged speaker of English they assume I can handle the exit seat.... but I'm rarely asked if I'm able or willing to help.

One of my purser friend's biggest gripes is check-in staff that do not screen PAX for their abililty to help operate the exit seat. I've certainly met PAX who have pursuaded check-in staff to give them an exit seat because they have "problems with their legs" etc and like to stretch out. My friend will move them prior to take off if necessary.. but they don't take kindly to it. (Typically she will seat them in C for landing and take off.)

Granted its not easy for check-in staff, especially in these times where a wrong word can land you with accusations of discrimination.
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Old Jan 23, 07, 12:06 pm   #5
 
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More likely she just wasn't asked.
On UA international fts on 744s, at my request I am almost always in row 15 (UD) which is an exit row. Over the past few years I have likely been in that situation 6-8 times each way on a RT basis/year, ie, more than a dozen times/year total and I have always been asked if I am qualified and accept the responsibilities of setting in the exit row. BTW, all paxs in that exit row was asked the same questions at the same time by the same FA.

Of course my experiences may be unique but I do not think so and I hope not since I understand from the lectures I receive during these exchanges with the FA that FAA regulations require same.
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Old Jan 23, 07, 12:21 pm   #6
 
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Maybe its a regional thing and I rarely travel in the North America. I wasn't asked by Air Canada departing London for Montreal or US Airways departing London for Philadelphia. Otherwise I haven't had exit seats flying to/from North America.

I've been asked by European airlines in Europe. With one exception, I've never been asked in Asia or Taiwan's EVA air departing London. I suppose in the case of EVA it could be that I'm gold and they assume I'm familiar with things...
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Old Jan 23, 07, 12:24 pm   #7
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Originally Posted by jimbo99 View Post
Well... not quite.... she could be deranged... I'm sure on every flight there are a dozen or so pax who think they could fly the thing if necessary...
That comment could apply to anyone who wants to sit in the exit row.....not just older ladies.
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Old Jan 23, 07, 12:53 pm   #8
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When airlines refurbish the interiors of their airplanes, perhaps they could take a few rows of old seats and overhead bins and an exit door and put them in the gate areas.

Then passengers can:

a. Test their carryons in the overhead and underseat spaces.
b. Test themselves in the seats.
c. Test their ability to open the exit door.
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Old Jan 23, 07, 1:24 pm   #9
 
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Originally Posted by jimbo99 View Post
Well... not quite.... she could be deranged... I'm sure on every flight there are a dozen or so pax who think they could fly the thing if necessary...
She could also be lying to get a more comfortable seat. Lots of people would do that.

Not being able to lift a 40-50lb. bag is a disqualification for sitting in the exit row on many aircraft, as one of the requirements is to lift the 40-50lb door and throw it out of the aircraft.
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Old Jan 23, 07, 4:32 pm   #10
 
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Originally Posted by ralfp View Post
She could also be lying to get a more comfortable seat. Lots of people would do that.

Not being able to lift a 40-50lb. bag is a disqualification for sitting in the exit row on many aircraft, as one of the requirements is to lift the 40-50lb door and throw it out of the aircraft.
This is exactly what I was thinking. Technically, the max for any bag to be placed in the overhead is 40 pounds (at least for DL, CO, & WN). The minimum lifting ability is often stated as 50 pounds. Ergo, regardless of how sweet of an old lady she was, the pax described by the OP was clearly ineligible to sit in an exit row. I can only think of one time when I narked on a would-be-exit-row-occupant... it was on a WN flight in which the pax spoke hardly any English at all. (he needed an interpreter in order to be asked to move!) On WN, it can be tempting to rat out any potential violator, as one can directly benefit by getting a better seat, but this was not the case the time I did so; the gentleman had been in a center seat.
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Old Jan 23, 07, 8:47 pm   #11
 
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I dunno -- I have trouble lifting a 50-pound rollaboard directly over my head, but can move it below shoulder level or so without too much effort. I think the same is probably true of most average women (no offense to those of us who have superbly toned upper bodies, and may I have the number of your trainer?). Wouldn't the door be thrown out at about hip level anyway?
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Old Jan 24, 07, 12:38 am   #12
 
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I don't think it matters how fraile someone is... if it's an emergency, they'll open the door . The same goes for flying the thing..... if you have to, you will .
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Old Jan 24, 07, 12:41 am   #13
 
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Originally Posted by erdehoff View Post
I dunno -- I have trouble lifting a 50-pound rollaboard directly over my head, but can move it below shoulder level or so without too much effort. I think the same is probably true of most average women (no offense to those of us who have superbly toned upper bodies, and may I have the number of your trainer?). Wouldn't the door be thrown out at about hip level anyway?
Certain types of aircraft the directions call for it to be placed on the exit row armrests which requires you to lift the door up and rotate it.
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Old Jan 24, 07, 7:02 am   #14
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Originally Posted by bdesmond View Post
Certain types of aircraft the directions call for it to be placed on the exit row armrests which requires you to lift the door up and rotate it.
With a bazillion flight miles under my belt in everything from a paratroop-rigged C-47 (military version of the DC-3) and Cessnas on up, I have yet to see an exit door that had to be lifted over your head. There are a lot of reasons someone - of either sex and of any age - might have a problem moving his or her arms that high with a suitcase that would not affect strength or mobility below shoulder level. (The aforementioned C-47 had no door, just straps across the opening that wouldn't have stood up to a determined rush. That's one way to solve this problem, but it might lead to other problems with pressurization. Besides, every seat on that plane was an exit seat.)
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Old Jan 24, 07, 7:33 am   #15
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my biggest gripe is when they are more interested in getting the flight out on time rather than finding out about those in the exit rows. Specifically those non-English speaking pax. Who give this dumb look when the FA asks them if they can do the job. It isn't till a co-pax (not necessarily sitting with them) says in their native tongue to just say yes
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