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what's the deal with people in exit row who say "NO" when asked by UA flight attendan

what's the deal with people in exit row who say "NO" when asked by UA flight attendan

Old Jul 18, 19, 8:18 am
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what's the deal with people in exit row who say "NO" when asked by UA flight attendan

Edit: someone alerted me to a YouTube video of a similar guy actively refusing to be in the exit row seat on British Airways Boeing 737 on a domestic US flight within California.

what's the deal with people in exit row who say "NO" when asked by UA flight attendants?

I always pick exit rows whenever available. When flight attendants come over and ask if I'm willing to help in an emergency, I always say "YES" and give my thumbs up. (obviously

However, I have seen more and more people who flatly say "NO" on United flights. Rarely do I see this happen on AA or other airlines.

Just had it happen to me again today. on yet another United flight. I was in exit row window. The guy on the other side of the aisle in the exit aisle seat just said "No, I don't think so" He looked to be about 35 to 40.. but he said "No" as if he was a 10-year-old boy being asked to take out the trash and walk the dog.

The flight was 100% full, so the flight attendant ask some woman two rows back to switch seats with this guy.

Like I said, I rarely see this on other non-United flights. So far this year, I have been on 32 flights. (19 on UA and the rest on three other airlines) I have encountered this on 6 or 7 United flights. Only once on a Delta flight(but that was because the guy didn't speak English well enough, I think)

Last edited by geometry; Jul 18, 19 at 1:56 pm
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Old Jul 18, 19, 8:24 am
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Whats the "deal"?

I guess the deal is they are being honest. I kind of applaud that.

Or are you asking: How did they end up in the exit row? If so probably a BE seat assignment (or other random seat assignment).
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Old Jul 18, 19, 8:26 am
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Originally Posted by geometry View Post
what's the deal with people in exit row who say "NO" when asked by UA flight attendants?

I always pick exit rows whenever available. When flight attendants come over and ask if I'm willing to help in an emergency, I always say "YES" and give my thumbs up. (obviously

However, I have seen more and more people who flatly say "NO" on United flights. Rarely do I see this happen on AA or other airlines.

Just had it happen to me again today. on yet another United flight. I was in exit row window. The guy on the other side of the aisle in the exit aisle seat just said "No, I don't think so" He looked to be about 35 to 40.. but he said "No" as if he was a 10-year-old boy being asked to take out the trash and walk the dog.

The flight was 100% full, so the flight attendant ask some woman two rows back to switch seats with this guy.

Like I said, I rarely see this on other non-United flights. So far this year, I have been on 32 flights. (19 on UA and the rest on three other airlines) I have encountered this on 6 or 7 United flights. Only once on a Delta flight(but that was because the guy didn't speak English well enough, I think)
think this person most likely paid for the seat and then got bumped back 2 rows....#lazy
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Old Jul 18, 19, 8:38 am
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Originally Posted by jhayes_1780 View Post
Whats the "deal"?

I guess the deal is they are being honest. I kind of applaud that.

Or are you asking: How did they end up in the exit row? If so probably a BE seat assignment (or other random seat assignment).
I never thought of that... if someone is on a BE ticket and involuntarily get assigned an exit seat on UA, does the OLCI not show the pop-up window with exit row policy?
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Old Jul 18, 19, 8:41 am
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Originally Posted by jp12687 View Post
think this person most likely paid for the seat and then got bumped back 2 rows....#lazy
That seems extremely unlikely. jhayes_1780 likely hit the nail on the head, in my opinion. Not everyone who ends up in the exit row has selected that seat, and considering that the advantages of the exit row seat are obvious, I'd have to assume that anybody who said "no" was trying to be honest.

That said, I take issue with the general premise. I've never seen anyone turn down the exit row on any airline, including UA; although, admittedly, the non-US carriers I've flown seem to expect it, at least based upon the way that the gate agents have asked me about it when they've assigned me there. (It may have something to do with the fact that those carriers often treat the exit row like a bulkhead and prohibit the use of under-seat storage.

Originally Posted by geometry View Post
I never thought of that... if someone is on a BE ticket and involuntarily get assigned an exit seat on UA, does the OLCI not show the pop-up window with exit row policy?
Passengers who end up in the exit row without paying for it / getting it for free as a Premier member likely don't get their seat assigned until the gate.
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Old Jul 18, 19, 8:48 am
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
That seems extremely unlikely. jhayes_1780 likely hit the nail on the head, in my opinion. Not everyone who ends up in the exit row has selected that seat, and considering that the advantages of the exit row seat are obvious, I'd have to assume that anybody who said "no" was trying to be honest.

That said, I take issue with the general premise. I've never seen anyone turn down the exit row on any airline, including UA; although, admittedly, the non-US carriers I've flown seem to expect it, at least based upon the way that the gate agents have asked me about it when they've assigned me there. (It may have something to do with the fact that those carriers often treat the exit row like a bulkhead and prohibit the use of under-seat storage.
I recorded the guy who refused the exit row seat today. He was making a big fuss, so I started recording just in case. However, I won't be posting it anywhere for privacy reasons.

Now that I think about it, some flight attendants do make it sound like "are you willing to remain on the burning or exploding aircraft for as long as possible to help people get out? and you'll be the last one to escape...." I suppose to an infrequent flyer, that's not a very comforting thought....
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Old Jul 18, 19, 9:06 am
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Originally Posted by geometry View Post
Now that I think about it, some flight attendants do make it sound like "are you willing to remain on the burning or exploding aircraft for as long as possible to help people get out? and you'll be the last one to escape...." I suppose to an infrequent flyer, that's not a very comforting thought....
On many planes, if you are the one that opened the Exit row door you have to get out first as if not you would be blocking the exit of your fellow passengers.
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Old Jul 18, 19, 9:27 am
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This is too much overthinking. While OP may have noticed an uptick, I have not. That makes as a sample size of 2 out of UA's 158 Million customers. My guess is that OP's experience is a simple statistical anomaly.

The reasons people do things are opaque and it's impossible on an individualized basis to figure it out. Some people are just difficult. The same guy who says "no" might well have a fit if told he had to move.
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Old Jul 18, 19, 9:32 am
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In most cases, it is probably just people being generally uncooperative. In others, the pax genuinely may not be comfortable with the exit row tasks. In all events, I am reasonably confident that there is no statistically significant difference between UA and other mainline carriers in terms of passengers declining exit row duties.
Originally Posted by geometry View Post
some flight attendants do make it sound like "are you willing to remain on the burning or exploding aircraft for as long as possible to help people get out? and you'll be the last one to escape...."
I've never heard anything like that. And that's the opposite of what you are supposed to do. The duty is to open the door and get out so you don't block the exit.
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Old Jul 18, 19, 9:41 am
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I've never seen a passenger say "no" to an FA when asked if willing to help.

The other question is how does an unwilling passenger get past the GA? Their boarding pass will automatically give a warning and the GA asks them at that time.
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Last edited by JimInOhio; Jul 18, 19 at 10:23 am
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Old Jul 18, 19, 9:50 am
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I don't recall ever seeing anyone say they were unwilling to help in case of an emergency but had the opposite case about 25 years ago.

I think I was on a TATL flight on TWA when the FA came up and gave the spiel. The older couple seated in the exit row look confused and shrug so the FA repeats the question. Again, the couple look confused and shrug then a younger woman comes up, apparently their daughter, and tells the FA they don't speak English but they're fine. The FA says they're not fine if they don't understand English because they won't understand instructions in case of an emergency.

At this point, daughter keeps arguing with the FA but the FA ignores her and looks around for people to switch seats, gets a couple volunteers, and directs the couple to move with hand gestures, all the while staying composed and professional.

I am always thankful for FAs that do their job like this one, especially when having to endure harangues from self-entitled passengers.
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Old Jul 18, 19, 10:00 am
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I've never seen this happen before. Was the person in the middle seat a less than optimal seatmate?
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Old Jul 18, 19, 10:43 am
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1. The guy might have been annoyed at something- not getting upgraded; losing a seat assignment...getting a middle seat after paying full fare. Might have not had a seat assignment until right at the gate.

However in 4.5M miles of flying, ive never seen anyone refuse.


2. On a QF flight, there were 4 of us on one side in exit seats. FA had us huddle up and had 'the talk'. "follow my direction; look for me. If you cannot see me, follow the directions on ...blah blah. Any questions...". It was WAY more than the perfunctory 2 sentences. What I found interesting is that by doing this, she created a 'team'. There were 5 of us on that team, and her actions bound us togtehter. Interesting. Only time Ive ever seen that. (common in cockpits; common in ORs....)
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Old Jul 18, 19, 10:45 am
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Originally Posted by boolean64 View Post
I've never seen this happen before. Was the person in the middle seat a less than optimal seatmate?
middle seat was a college-age kid who looked clean and polite
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Old Jul 18, 19, 10:50 am
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Doesn't your boarding pass also beep when scanned? The last couple times I was in an exit row, the gate agent asked me before I even got on the plane. Then, of course, the flight attendant asked us later on.
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