I was coming back from Sint Maartin (SXM) airport the other day, flying to Charlotte on an American Airlines A319. Unfortunately, my upgrade didn’t clear as Business Class was oversold due to a previous flight cancellation, so I has pre-assigned an aisle seat in the exit row, the next best option to an upgrade.
I was one of the first to board the aircraft, and about mid-way through boarding, an elderly gentleman took his seat in my row, on the window. He was probably in his mid 70’s and on the more feeble side, as he asked me to get up to take his seat, while heavy-handed grabbing the seat backs on either sides for support.
It got me thinking — when the flight attendants do to the usual safety announcement and ask are passengers “willing and able to assist in in emergency,” I don’t think the elderly gentleman in my row would be capable of assisting in an emergency. While I’m sure he’d be willing, the chances he’d be able to lift the door over the wing without any trouble is slim, and I think it would honestly cause more confusion and chaos God forbid we had to make an emergency landing.
There really doesn’t appear to be a restriction of those who sit in an exit row, other than with small children, and it’s tough for a gate agent or flight attendant to have to make an on the spot call of someone being capable or not, as I’m sure that would lead to passengers being frustrated and/or discriminated against for one reason or another, in their mind. But…on the flip side…I’d really like to know that the person at the exit row truly is capable. I’m not saying every person needs to be Arnold Schwarzenegger, because I certainly am not, but I think a line needs to be drawn at elderly folks who sit here, who clearly have trouble getting in and out, without some sort of assistance.
So, I’d like to hear you guys chime in here…
Do you feel their should be an age restriction to sit in an exit row? Or some sort of requirement to truly be capable of assisting without difficulty? Or something else? Chime in with your thoughts.
Looking for the best way to earn miles and points quickly? Visit the "Credit Cards" drop down on the main menu bar above for the hottest deals! Want to learn more and stay up to date on the latest tips, tricks and deals? Join My Travel Tips Facebook Page! This site is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as CreditCards.com. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.