What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

3 September 2022

I took the opportunity to fly home during a break in our schedule.  I was flying solo – something I’ve only done twice in my lifetime, but I’ve flown numerous times with friends, bandmates and family, no big deal, I know the ropes.

When we booked my flight, Jim and I took the opportunity to upgrade to the aisle seat in the emergency exit row. Those seats cost more but Jim thought I would enjoy the extra leg room (lol, totally wasted on me and my short little legs!) I should note that the airline I was flying on charges extra for everything. I think they even installed pay toilets on the plane (not sure though, short flight). 

As we were all being seated, I heard at least one gentleman look at the two empty seats beside me and tell the flight attendant that he would be happy to sit in the emergency exit row if needed – the attendant quickly told him that the plane was full and directed him to his seat. 

As I waited for the rest of the passengers to board, I read the pamphlet to re-familiarize myself with how to remove the door to the plane. The door weighed 30 pounds – no problem – my guitar and case weighs 25 pounds, so 30 pounds should be easy peasy for me…but the scenario I have always had in my mind the few times I’ve sat in an emergency exit row was that my job was not to remove the door, my job at the aisle seat was hold back the stampede of terrified passengers while the person sitting next to the door removed the door. You see, the door has to come inside the plane sideways before you throw it out…impossible to do if people are pressed up against it, right?

I waited to see who would be sitting in the seats next to me, who would share in the life and death duty that we promise (audibly) to fulfill and who would share my responsibility of saving the lives of the people on the plane.   But the plane was not full. The doors closed and I still had 2 empty seats next to me (and LOTS of legroom) so as the flight attendant went through the pre-flight rules, and told everyone to locate their nearest emergency exit, several people turned around and looked to ME as their savior.  I was picturing a whole new scenario now as I imagined myself opening the emergency exit (a two –handed operation by the way) and holding back passengers with my leg extended behind me.  Can I lift a 30 pound door standing on one short leg and holding back passengers with my other short leg? (Take a moment to visualize this, it’s worth it).  Every scenario I imagined ended up with me smooshed up against the unopened emergency exit door with a pile of passengers pressed up against me.

Seems that if the airlines are going to take this emergency exit thing seriously they would put a minimum of 2 people in each exit row, and give those folks a discount (or maybe a drink coupon – or a toilet pass) to thank them for taking on this vitally important responsibility.

I am happy to report that everyone lived under my watch. The question I have for you: “Is it a good idea for airlines to charge extra for an emergency exit row?”   Let me know what you think by writing in the comment box below. 

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Comments

  1. Posted by: Sue Bonnette

    Hmm no extra for that important roll. Also great blog I giggle at your side jokes

  2. Posted by: Anne

    Hi Sue, agreed, no extra but sadly there is….

  3. Posted by: Lonnie Baker Gove

    This was hilarious. My imagination may have gotten out of hand here. I digress. My answer to your question regarding the airlines charging extra for an emergency exit row is this. NO THEY SHOULD NOT! Because now, in that section of the plane, the job of saving the lives of everyone, including myself, is all on my shoulders. Do the airlines think I am so well versed on airline safety (well, I am but that is another story) that they need to charge me for being on the job while going on vacation? Those seats should be discounted because as a passenger that duty would fall under “other duties as assigned. So, I become an employee during an emergency not just a passenger. And yes. A minimum of 2 people should be in the emergency sitting area. However, how safe do I feel when an 80 year old sits there? Can they hold back the crowd while I wrestle with the door and pray that some wind gust catches it just right before I let go of it? I think they would have to have an age restriction for that area. I thought they did. Could be wrong. Haven’t flown in like forever! I feel as though I have rambled. Forgive me. Take care!

  4. Posted by: Anne

    Hi Lonnie, you’ve voiced several of my concerns. I would actually like to have tried opening that door to see how easy/difficult/heavy it really is!! I agree with you that a minimum of 2 able-bodied people are needed for the emergency exit row…and what about liability?? Would the airline pay if I accidently dropped the door on someone’s foot? I doubt it, lol.

  5. Posted by: Jolynn

    I think they charge more to make sure the person sitting in that row really wants it, since there is some responsibility that goes along with it. But I agree with you…even if they charge more, you should get a comped a drink or an extra bag of pretzels.
    Being 4 foot 11 inches, my feet pretty much dangle. like a first grader, so Leg room really isn’t an issue for me lol.

    And I gotta have a window seat. Not because I’m claustrophobic or anything, but I love airplanes and flight and all that jazz. I love looking out, seeing the landscape and matching it to my Google satellite image to see where we are. I watch for other planes, then look them up to see where they’re headed.
    I like to watch the mechanics of the flaps and count the rivets.

    The last time I flew, my flying partner just took the seat behind me. They knew there would be little conversation that did not pertain to Bernoulli’s Principle. 🙂

  6. Posted by: Anne

    Hi Jolynn! Lol, I can relate to the feet dangling! Haven’t seen Bernoulli’s name since son Brian entered the science fair – ah memories!

  7. Posted by: Carol Baggs

    That’s a Major Responsibility. If anything they should give you a discount.

  8. Posted by: Anne

    Exactly!

  9. Posted by: Kathleen Grim

    Loved the story, I think you should have started singing ” Fly Away ” or ” High Flight “.

  10. Posted by: Anne

    Kathy: or many, many other songs. Isn’t it amazing how much John wrote about flying??

  11. Posted by: Bill Cortus

    Anne, perhaps they should charge people by the inch … the shorter your legs, the less you pay …

  12. Posted by: Anne

    Bill Cortus: in that case, they would be paying me!! Haha!

  13. Posted by: Dianna Pearl Wood

    Hi Anne, next time sit in the front seat next to the window behind the latrine/galley behind the bulkhead or curtain away from any emergency exits, or if Jim pays extra, take a 1st class seating. You are NOT TRAINED to be a glorified waitress/waiters (or Ninjas) to handle what Flight Attendants are trained to do in wet/dry emergencies. From what I’ve learned in my Flight Attendant class in college is, passengers go into two different kinds of reactions, the ones that have negative reactions will go into immediate shock (not moving, having a blank stare on their faces). And the ones that have the positive reactions, are the ones that are going to pick you up and move you out of the way and open the door and jump into the fire in a dry landing, or water in a wet icy landing. People who over reacts are NOT going to listen to Flight Attendants say GO BACK, GO BACK or say FIRE, FIRE, FIRE in one or two words commands. Flight Attendants are taught to block doorways if there’s smokes or fires, a hard thing to do if you’re not so tall or strong enough to handle a stampede, and it’s not worth losing your life over. Flight Attendants knows how to deal with freakers-!!! Major commercial airline companies have Flight Attendants and Flight Marshals schools for students to sign up for these jobs. There a lot more than what meets the eyes inside an airline cabins. You as a passenger should never have to be responsible for a whole cabin full of people. Just be concerned about your own.

  14. Posted by: Anne

    Thank you Dianna – you have confirmed what I was guessing…I’m sure people don’t act pretty in an emergency.

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