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Disabled PX in Exit Row

Disabled PX in Exit Row

Old Nov 17, 15, 4:29 pm
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Disabled PX in Exit Row

So I just boarded my flight, UA5933 MSN - ORD. As a GS I get the benefit of pre-boarding right after passenger with disabilities. I was surprised when the PX in front of me was seated in an exit row. GA did the usual, "are you comfortable..." speech before letting him board.

Not sure what the formal policy is but I would be surprised if this passenger had any ability to quickly pick up a 35lb door and throw it with force out of the way

I considered telling the FA as Insat down but wasn't sure it was the right call. What would you do?
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Old Nov 17, 15, 4:35 pm
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I surely don't know what I would do. Maybe just get off the plane and take another form of transport, I guess.

Did anyone die?
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Old Nov 17, 15, 5:40 pm
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Originally Posted by Nephroid View Post
So I just boarded my flight, UA5933 MSN - ORD. As a GS I get the benefit of pre-boarding right after passenger with disabilities. I was surprised when the PX in front of me was seated in an exit row. GA did the usual, "are you comfortable..." speech before letting him board.

Not sure what the formal policy is but I would be surprised if this passenger had any ability to quickly pick up a 35lb door and throw it with force out of the way

I considered telling the FA as Insat down but wasn't sure it was the right call. What would you do?
There is no formal policy. There is a federal law but it's vague and basically says that the passenger must be willing and able to assist during an emergency.
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Old Nov 17, 15, 6:43 pm
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Originally Posted by Allan38103 View Post
I surely don't know what I would do. Maybe just get off the plane and take another form of transport, I guess.

Did anyone die?
Umm... no. But I'm guessing they put those exit doors there for a reason.

Sorry if I didn't make it clear, this was someone who wasn't able to carry their own bag and was barely able to get down the jetway under their own steam.

In the end I suppose it's the GA/FA's call. Let's just say I was glad to be sitting near another exit.
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Old Nov 17, 15, 7:11 pm
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Originally Posted by Nephroid View Post
In the end I suppose it's the GA/FA's call. Let's just say I was glad to be sitting near another exit.
No, this is not their call, as it involves the safety of everyone on board, and there are federal laws on this. If a passenger is unable or unwilling to perform the duties required in an emergency, they can not sit an exit row, period. If the person clearly couldn't do this, and it was obvious, both the GA and FA were not doing their jobs, and both should be written up. This is definitely a case where you should be writing in - if there was an incident where the exit doors were needed, and this person was not able to open them, not only would this be a problem, but they'd likely be impeding others from being able to do so.

This is a case where letting the FA know immediately (and discreetly), most certainly before the door closed, is a necessity. That nothing happened during the flight is irrelevant.
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Old Nov 18, 15, 12:10 am
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In the end I chickened out and should have said something. Common sense would say that Federal Law or not, requiring assistance to board a flight should be an automatic disqualifier for sitting in the exit row.
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Old Nov 18, 15, 1:35 am
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I have been booted out of my (even paid) Exit row seat on UA once as I was half asleep when the FA came around to ask if everyone is ok with seating in an emergency row. I asked "Excuse me? I did not get what you just said" and based on my German accent the lovely lady decided I was not fit to sit in the emergency row since she just decided that I do not understand/speak English.

Of course arguing that I just didn't get it as I was tired and not attentive didn't help.

Anyway, last few flights where I saw young kids or clearly disabled pax in emergency rows the FA swapped them out of their seats after the emergency briefing. And if they don't you should discretely point it out to them... did it myself once and it was no problem at all.
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Old Nov 18, 15, 7:46 am
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Originally Posted by fassy View Post
I have been booted out of my (even paid) Exit row seat on UA once as I was half asleep when the FA came around to ask if everyone is ok with seating in an emergency row. I asked "Excuse me? I did not get what you just said" and based on my German accent the lovely lady decided I was not fit to sit in the emergency row since she just decided that I do not understand/speak English.

Of course arguing that I just didn't get it as I was tired and not attentive didn't help.

Anyway, last few flights where I saw young kids or clearly disabled pax in emergency rows the FA swapped them out of their seats after the emergency briefing. And if they don't you should discretely point it out to them... did it myself once and it was no problem at all.
I was on a COPA flight recently and was asked in Spanish if I understood. I replied in English and was almost moved due to not understanding enough Spanish. Fortunately they decided I could remain there. It was almost an empty plane.
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Old Nov 18, 15, 8:00 am
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I was on a DL small RJ (DeltaConnection carrier) where they guy sitting next to me in the exit row was too old/feeble/senile to walk down the aisle himself or to find his own seat, sit in it, and fasten his seat belt. (His middle-aged daughter settled him into the seat, talking to him as if he were a toddler, and fastened the seat belt for him after repeated requests that he didn't understand.) Against my better judgment, I said nothing at the time even after pointedly getting the FA's eye and then looking at him when she did the emergency row briefing. (The real old guy and his daughter boarded at the very end, so there wasn't time to leave my seat to discretely mention the problem to someone.)

After thinking about the situation, I called DL the next day and it was taken very seriously.....or at least they humored me about the issue.

Last edited by MSPeconomist; Nov 18, 15 at 8:29 am Reason: typo
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Old Nov 18, 15, 8:27 am
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
I was on a DL small RJ (DeltaConnection carrier) where they guy sitting next to me in the exit row was too old/feeble/senile to walk down the aisle himself or to find his own seat, sit in it, and fasten his seat belt. (His middle-aged daughter settled him into the seat, talking to him as if he were a toddler, and fastened the seat belt for him after repeated requests that he didn't understand.) Against my better judgment, I said nothing at the time even after pointedly getting the FA's eye and then looking at him when she did the emergency row briefing. (The real old guy and his daughter boarded at the very end, so there wasn't time to leave my seat to discretely mention the problem to someone.)

After thinking about the situation, I called DL the next day and it was taken very seriously.....or at least they humored my about the issue.
Doesn't sound like that dude has too many more flights left in him. The problem will resolve itself shortly.
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Old Nov 18, 15, 8:45 am
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Originally Posted by Allan38103 View Post
I surely don't know what I would do. Maybe just get off the plane and take another form of transport, I guess.

Did anyone die?
No one ever dies.
...until someone does.

14CFR121.585:
No certificate holder may seat a person in a seat affected by this section if the certificate holder determines that it is likely that the person would be unable to perform one or more of the applicable functions....

It's the airline that would get its peepee slapped by the FAA.
The slapping would then continue downhill.
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Old Nov 18, 15, 8:47 am
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Originally Posted by Tchiowa View Post
There is no formal policy. There is a federal law but it's vague and basically says that the passenger must be willing and able to assist during an emergency.
From FAR 121.585 (https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/14/121.585), it's not all that vague:
(b) No certificate holder may seat a person in a seat affected by this section if the certificate holder determines that it is likely that the person would be unable to perform one or more of the applicable functions listed in paragraph (d) of this section becauseó
(1) The person lacks sufficient mobility, strength, or dexterity in both arms and hands, and both legs:
(i) To reach upward, sideways, and downward to the location of emergency exit and exit-slide operating mechanisms;
(ii) To grasp and push, pull, turn, or otherwise manipulate those mechanisms;
(iii) To push, shove, pull, or otherwise open emergency exits;
(iv) To lift out, hold, deposit on nearby seats, or maneuver over the seatbacks to the next row objects the size and weight of over-wing window exit doors;
(v) To remove obstructions similar in size and weight to over-wing exit doors;
(vi) To reach the emergency exit expeditiously;
(vii) To maintain balance while removing obstructions;
(viii) To exit expeditiously;
(ix) To stabilize an escape slide after deployment; or
(x) To assist others in getting off an escape slide;
(2) The person is less than 15 years of age or lacks the capacity to perform one or more of the applicable functions listed in paragraph (d) of this section without the assistance of an adult companion, parent, or other relative;
(3) The person lacks the ability to read and understand instructions required by this section and related to emergency evacuation provided by the certificate holder in printed or graphic form or the ability to understand oral crew commands.
(4) The person lacks sufficient visual capacity to perform one or more of the applicable functions in paragraph (d) of this section without the assistance of visual aids beyond contact lenses or eyeglasses;
(5) The person lacks sufficient aural capacity to hear and understand instructions shouted by flight attendants, without assistance beyond a hearing aid;
(6) The person lacks the ability adequately to impart information orally to other passengers; or,
(7) The person has:
(i) A condition or responsibilities, such as caring for small children, that might prevent the person from performing one or more of the applicable functions listed in paragraph (d) of this section; or
(ii) A condition that might cause the person harm if he or she performs one or more of the applicable functions listed in paragraph (d) of this section.
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Old Nov 18, 15, 10:58 am
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Disabled PX in Exit Row

It is something that should always be pointed out to the flight crew, preferably to the purser or in charge. It is a safety issue and something that is taken very seriously by airlines and the governing bodies in each country. I have seen few fines given out by Transport Canada to airlines I have worked for this reason. Too many FAs just try to avoid awkward conversations in this matter instead of doing their number one job which is the safety of the passengers.
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Old Nov 18, 15, 11:50 am
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Originally Posted by industry_killer View Post
It is something that should always be pointed out to the flight crew, preferably to the purser or in charge. It is a safety issue and something that is taken very seriously by airlines and the governing bodies in each country. I have seen few fines given out by Transport Canada to airlines I have worked for this reason. Too many FAs just try to avoid awkward conversations in this matter instead of doing their number one job which is the safety of the passengers.
Agreed. And waiting for someone to die as a result is silly.
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Old Nov 18, 15, 12:56 pm
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There are two options here. Either the passenger had disabilities and therefore should have been re-seated. Or the passenger was perfectly able, but claiming to have disabilities so as to board earlier. In which case he/she should have been booted off the plane and sent to the back of the queue.
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