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Exit row seats question.

Sydney, Australia
posts: 1,361
reviews: 36
Exit row seats question.

Not earth shattering but we flew 6 flights with Air Asia recently in Exit row seats..They,and other airlines are very strict who can sit there,age and mobility to ensure you are capable of opening door in an emergency.On at least 2 flights there was noone sitting in these seats on the other side to us...Question is,if it is so important to have people able to open doors in these seats,why is it okay to have noone...surely a safety issue.These are hot seats so cost more,but surely passengers should be moved into these seats to open exits in an emergency.

10 replies to this topic
Hong Kong, China
Destination Expert
for Hong Kong, Osaka
posts: 37,754
reviews: 81
1. Re: Exit row seats question.

Exit row seats aren't to be occupied by someone who isn't capable or willing to perform exit-row related duties. Maybe the regulations don't state that they have to be occupied.

Liverpool, UK
posts: 12,833
reviews: 23
2. Re: Exit row seats question.

The regulations stipulate that passengers occupying these seats have to meet certain criteria but they do not mandate that exit row seats have to be occupied - passengers have to be willing to perform the duties required and on a quiet flight you could have the scenario where no passenger is willing to undertake the duties required.

Sydney, Australia
posts: 1,361
reviews: 36
3. Re: Exit row seats question.

But surely,as a safety issue,there should be someone there to open the doors.I am talking common sense,NOT regulations.

Edited: 6:14 am, August 03, 2014
Liverpool, UK
posts: 12,833
reviews: 23
4. Re: Exit row seats question.

"But surely,as a safety issue,there should be someone there to open the doors" - The regulations provide for emergency exit using only a proportion of the available exits (I think 50%) - regardless of common sense what would you do if nobody was willing to sit in an exit row seat.

Avoca, Australia
Destination Expert
for Rusutsu-mura
posts: 2,699
reviews: 9
5. Re: Exit row seats question.

Cabin staff seating would probably meet the minimum requirement?

I've been asked to sit in an empty exit row with Jetstar, when checking in at counter.

Edited: 6:40 am, August 03, 2014
Sydney, Australia
posts: 1,361
reviews: 36
6. Re: Exit row seats question.

Thank you Blutek for confirming some airlines DO try to fill these seats...Pretty sure Air Asia don't as I asked a few people at the baggage carousel if they had been asked...50 % of seats doesn't really work for me,what if only 1 side exit(the empty side) is safe to open ?Find it hard to believe noone would be willing to move to hotseats for free.

Edited: 6:59 am, August 03, 2014
rural West Aussie
Destination Expert
for Perth
posts: 16,837
reviews: 61
7. Re: Exit row seats question.

Since it's unlikely the emergency exits will need to be opened before the plane is one the ground or sea, I would imagine that there would be sufficient time from the declaration of an emergency to the point to where the doors need to be opened, to get someone in place to open the doors should it be necessary.

I strongly suspect the crew would be designated each a door to be in charge of, irrespective of whether there was a passenger volunteer in the exit row seats or not.

Edited: 11:55 am, August 03, 2014
Seattle, Washington
posts: 9,164
reviews: 100
8. Re: Exit row seats question.

There was recently another thread discussing this same non-issue:


San Diego
Destination Expert
for San Diego
posts: 48,547
reviews: 62
9. Re: Exit row seats question.

I have never been on a plane where the exit row was totally empty.

I wouldn't worry about it!

Phoenix, AZ
posts: 14,287
reviews: 187
10. Re: Exit row seats question.

I have only seen a single Exit Row seat empty, on our UA flights. However, I have often seen deadheading crew members moved from elsewhere on the craft, to the Exit Row seats. UA sees those as E+ on most (all?) craft, so they are sold. If no one steps up to pay, they seem first inclined to recruit airline (and not just UA) personnel to fill the seats, and possibly get them a bit more legroom in the process.

Now, I have been far more concerned with a few of the pax, who have occupied the opposite Exit Row seats from us. I worry about he pax, who might need to rely on a few of them, to get the over-wing doors open, and then to actually fit through them. In those instances, I am just glad that we have the other side of the plane covered!


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