Viral Arrest Video: Exit Row Passenger Handcuffed For Refusing To Assist Crew In An Emergency
Viral Arrest Video: Exit Row Passenger Handcuffed For Refusing To Assist Crew In An Emergency

View from the Wing

On most planes, the best spot in coach is the emergency exit row. Those usually have plenty of extra legroom, because there’s supposed to be enough space for passengers to make it through the row and out the exit door easily in the event of an emergency.

If there are two exit rows together, the first one usually doesn’t recline – so that it can’t block the exit path. Sometimes the armrests are fixed in place, but that’s not true of all airlines and aircraft. I like 17C and 17D on American Airlines Boeing 737s – the second exit row aisle seats, plenty of space and moveable armrests.

There’s a basic deal, though. You reserve the better seat but in the event of an emergency you’re on the hook for assisting the crew.

Not everyone is allowed in an exit row. The FAA doesn’t permit anyone under 15 years old to sit in one. They presume that a younger child may not physically be able to open the exit door in an emergency. (Strangely, you’re still allowed to be drinking in an exit row.)

At the beginning of the flight, cabin crew are required to perform an exit row briefing that goes something like this,

You are seated at an emergency exit. In case of an emergency, you will be required to operate this exit. Are you willing and able to assist?

The crew has to get a ‘yes’ from each passenger, or else they must reseat the passenger elsewhere in the cabin.

  • Everyone just says yes

  • No one ever thinks they’ll actually be required to assist

Basically, 99.9% of passengers accept the deal of assisting in an emergency in exchange for sitting in an exit row – or pretend to. And then there’s this woman flying Frontier from Charlotte…

She’s asked if she’ll assist in an emergency – and her reaction was oh heck no.

Oh, I’m not going to save anybody. If something happens, I’m going to save myself.

That’s probably true for a lot of passengers. But they say yes. She did not. Events escalated, and police were called. Everyone was forced to deplane, and she was arrested. Here police are escorting her off the aircraft.

The best part of the video has to be where she… calls her attorney.

Gary Leff

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