Answered - Is this an airline safety complaint? | Australian Frequent Flyer
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Answered Is this an airline safety complaint?

I love to travel

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Firstly I am not naming airline type of route age or gender of person etc but suffice to say on domestic flight. This is not a rant email but I am really unsure as to whether I make a complaint or not.

A person, with a prosthetic leg was sitting in an exit row seat. I also observed them having some restricted movement when walking although they could walk at a reasonable pace. Does this violate the standard exit row rules? Would have been very obvious to crew when checking boarding passes at gate and boarding as it was a skinny prosthetic and 13D is a standard exit row no.

Thoughts?
 
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woodborer

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Depends on the airlines a bit - on some a prosthetic would not always disqualify.
 
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dajop

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Isn’t it strength (upper body?) that counts when opening exit row door? And 13F, it’s right beside the exit so it’s not as if they have to walk a long way to get there.

I wasn’t there to judge but think about the actual duties a person sitting in an exit row is required to perform and whether the prosthetic would hamper that in anyway, before lodging complaint. I’ve seen people with prosthetic limbs more nimble than some people who have what they were born with.
 

jb01

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I wouldn’t lodge a ‘complaint’ as such, but reach out to the airline and simply ask the question as to what the policy is.
 

33kft

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I would guess modern day airline policy would be something along the lines of "(s)he who payeth the most be the most fit and able bodied", but an email to the airline will get you a much more PC response about their rigorous standards when choosing exit row passengers. I will admit that I paid for a "legroom" seat on a full service airline sometime recently on a work trip hoping it would allow me to get more work done during the flight (no chance of J in this case) and I would conservatively estimate that my lovely two seatmates who were enjoying their holiday would have been at least 75 years old apiece and not particularly strong in either of the body regions from my guestimate, but it was seemingly not an issue for the airline.
 
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33kft

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Also, interestingly enough from the Qantas exit row requirements at Seat selection conditions, exit row | Qantas AU

In order to sit in an exit row seat, you must:
  • not have an amputated or prosthetic limb
What I don't see there is any upper age limit, although they do reserve the right to include or exclude anyone:
  • Qantas has the sole discretion, at check-in or boarding, to determine whether a passenger meets the requirements to sit in an exit row seat. If the passenger does not meet the requirements, they will be assigned a different seat.

So perhaps my example was entirely fine whilst the (potentially) nimble and fit individual with the prosthetic limb would be excluded.
 

I love to travel

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Also, interestingly enough from the Qantas exit row requirements at Seat selection conditions, exit row | Qantas AU

In order to sit in an exit row seat, you must:
  • not have an amputated or prosthetic limb
What I don't see there is any upper age limit, although they do reserve the right to include or exclude anyone:
  • Qantas has the sole discretion, at check-in or boarding, to determine whether a passenger meets the requirements to sit in an exit row seat. If the passenger does not meet the requirements, they will be assigned a different seat.

So perhaps my example was entirely fine whilst the (potentially) nimble and fit individual with the prosthetic limb would be excluded.
Interesting
 
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tdimdad

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At the other end of the same question is how young is old enough to sit on the exit row. Qantas has 15 year limit which I feel is quite adequate. A few years back I took a domestic Finnair flight with my son who was 13 at that time and we were seated at the exit row (E190 with 2+2, their limit is 12 years). If there had been an emergency landing and me injured, could he have operated the exit on our side? Probably yes but I had my doubts about it. Decided to stay good enough to help him, if needed... :)
 

samh004

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It's interesting seeing the exit row requirements from Qantas, and I recall a well known Australian comedian once had an issue with them over this issue. Trouble is, with all the wars going on right now, a retired serviceman in the US with a prosthetic could be in better shape than almost everyone else on a plane. Discounting their abilities because of a prosthetic seems counter to the inclusive direction the world is turning. I realise it's about suitability, but there must be a non-invasive way of working this out at the check-in desk or boarding gate.

At the other end of the same question is how young is old enough to sit on the exit row. Qantas has 15 year limit which I feel is quite adequate. A few years back I took a domestic Finnair flight with my son who was 13 at that time and we were seated at the exit row (E190 with 2+2, their limit is 12 years). If there had been an emergency landing and me injured, could he have operated the exit on our side? Probably yes but I had my doubts about it. Decided to stay good enough to help him, if needed... :)
I would imagine that in many cases, the will to survive whatever ordeal it is you're going through, gives you extra strength. That said, people aren't made equal by age, and it is silly to say a 15 year old has more strength than a 12 year old without taking into account genetics, their athleticism and probably a dozen other factors.
 

MEL_Traveller

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For American Airlines (AA) the requirements are slightly different:

Qualifications Government rules require that customers seated in an exit seat must be:
  • Willing to assist in an evacuation
  • Able to operate the exit door and assist others in exiting
  • 15 years of age or older

Exit Row Criteria Customers may not sit in an exit row seat if:
  • Mobility, strength, or dexterity in both arms and hands and both legs is not sufficient to assist others reach the emergency exit quickly, operate the exit, and quickly pass through the exit
  • You are less than 15 years of age
  • You lack the ability to read and understand instructions related to emergency evacuations or you lack the ability to understand oral crew member commands
  • You lack sufficient visual capacity to read the instructions or hearing capacity to hear and understand instructions provided by a crew member You have a condition or responsibilities such as caring for small children which might prevent you from performing one or more of these functions
  • You lack the ability to adequately communicate information orally to other passengers
  • You have a condition that might cause you harm if you perform one or more of these functions
  • You do not wish to perform the instructions listed on the card in the event of any emergency
In thoery there should be no reason to discriminate against a person who states they are able to perform all the stated functions. A prosthetic limb may fall into that category.

As another airline may have allowed this passenger to sit in the exit, while the OP's experience could be a technical breach of the requirements, it might not be an actual safety hazzard. It's the latter which should be the subject of a communication with the airline.
 

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