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No requirement to speak English in exit row?

No requirement to speak English in exit row?

Old Nov 2, 19, 9:44 am
  #1  
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No requirement to speak English in exit row?

Currently aboard the delayed BA848 LHR-ZAG and we are in exit row 12 on this A320. The people in front of us are an elderly Croatian couple who looked blankly at the flight attendant while she was explaining the exit row protocol; then when she asked them if they spoke English the lady clearly said No. The attendant then asked them if they would be happy to move to another row, which they also didn’t understand. So she has left them in the row.

what is the protocol here? In the US the first thing they ask if you are in an exit row is Do you speak English? And why did they bother having an automated alert check at the gate about exit row seats if it doesn’t catch people who can’t speak English and so presumably can’t follow the crew’s instructions in an emergency?

#confused

Ps the Captain apologised for the delay with a litany of excuses blaming third parties. The flight had arrived 15 minutes late from MRS but couldn’t get on its stand as a Delta (name-checked) plane was still blocking it. Then the inbound had 15 wheelchair passengers who needed to be disembarked by the “airport staff”. He specifically pointed out that both issues were because “the company” did not have control of facilities at t3, which I thought was a little unprofessional.
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Old Nov 2, 19, 10:07 am
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Self help exits.

Passengers need only receive a short ‘awareness’ briefing. Passengers who appear apprehensive, unwilling or to have not understood the briefing should be moved to another seat row.
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Old Nov 2, 19, 10:08 am
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I've never been asked if I speak English when sat in the exit row on BA. Yesterday I was in Row 11 and the FA asked me and others in the row if we were happy to operate the doors in an emergency, but didn't really wait for a response before stating that instructions were on the seat back. Although I did begin to nod, to indicate my understanding, lots of people nod and/or smile, even when they haven't got a clue what's going on- frankly I could have spoken no English at all and she wouldn't have known.

As for the Captain on the flight above, his comments seem fair enough to me. At least he was willing to give a detailed explanation.
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Old Nov 2, 19, 10:24 am
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Do you understand English should be the first question.
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Old Nov 2, 19, 10:33 am
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I started an exit row thread a couple of weeks ago about passengers ability to lift/ throw a >15kg door.

Unfortunately I think it will be one of those situations where current inadequacies on exit row are only dealt with in the event of an serious incident and these issues playing a factor.

Also, linked to the 15 disabled passengers comment, I do wonder what would happen in an emergency- assuming they cannot walk. Is there enough cabin crew to assist? Do the timed evacuation tests take this into account? I heard of a recent flight which needed 30 wheelchairs on arrival (assume it would have been widebody plane).
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Old Nov 2, 19, 10:38 am
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We would only assist any customer disabled or not to the point where our lives would be not be endangered.
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Old Nov 2, 19, 10:46 am
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Obviously safety is so important.
But really in an emergency we all know it would be big race. They'd probably end up flattened if they didn't put a shift on. Don't think people need to speak English in an emergency or in prep for it. No offence intended.
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Old Nov 2, 19, 10:49 am
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The BA flight crew training manual has a whole section in avoiding blame for delays
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Old Nov 2, 19, 10:53 am
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In a preplanned emergency there is a lot of information customers sitting in an emergency exit row would be given, ABPs would be then have to repeat back the information and prove understanding, if they are unable or unwilling they will be moved.
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Old Nov 2, 19, 12:21 pm
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Originally Posted by aristoph View Post
Ps the Captain apologised for the delay with a litany of excuses blaming third parties. The flight had arrived 15 minutes late from MRS but couldn’t get on its stand as a Delta (name-checked) plane was still blocking it. Then the inbound had 15 wheelchair passengers who needed to be disembarked by the “airport staff”. He specifically pointed out that both issues were because “the company” did not have control of facilities at t3, which I thought was a little unprofessional.
I have also experienced this on a few BA flights, one I distinctly remember was at LGW before departure to ACE, the captain made a very passive aggressive rant about the airport and how BA had nothing to do with allocation of parking stands etc. Just like every other airline operating at the airport then...

I agree, it's very unprofessional. We're delayed because we're waiting for a parking stand to become available, expect it to take X minutes, sorry for the inconvenience is more than sufficient. I couldn't care less for a life story of internal politics between BA and whatever third parties they liaise with.
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Old Nov 2, 19, 1:33 pm
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The other week coming back from LYS (to LHR) the lady checking boarding passes and passports at the gate asked me if I spoke English as I was seated in the exit row (I have an Italian passport) - seems sometimes they check but not always.

What surprised me more was after boarding was completed, I looked across the aisle to find the other emergency exit row having only one person in it sitting in the aisle seat - I thought someone had to sit by the door? (It was later filled by someone who nabbed himself a bit of extra legroom but that's beside the point).
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Old Nov 2, 19, 1:37 pm
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I believe that each row requires an occupant but that doesn't have to be the window. A professional will be along shortly to confirm or deny 😉
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Old Nov 2, 19, 1:40 pm
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Originally Posted by Swanhunter View Post
I believe that each row requires an occupant but that doesn't have to be the window. A professional will be along shortly to confirm or deny 😉
You are correct Sir.
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Old Nov 2, 19, 2:54 pm
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Originally Posted by ens100 View Post
What surprised me more was after boarding was completed, I looked across the aisle to find the other emergency exit row having only one person in it sitting in the aisle seat - I thought someone had to sit by the door? (It was later filled by someone who nabbed himself a bit of extra legroom but that's beside the point).
Hard to imagine that, in general, being 18 inches closer to the door is going to make any difference in an emergency.

I actually think the opposite, you need some distance to operate the door properly and it's probably faster approaching from the aisle seat than sitting smashed up against it and backing away.
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Old Nov 2, 19, 3:18 pm
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Originally Posted by Doppy View Post
Hard to imagine that, in general, being 18 inches closer to the door is going to make any difference in an emergency.
In practice it is easier to do it whilst sat and in the window seats. You can then open it and turn it on the side on your lap before throwing it out.
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