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Mode Aviation
Reference No. AR201300078
Date reported 24 September 2013
Concern title Allocation of emergency seating on international flights
Concern summary

The reporter expressed a safety concern regarding the allocation of emergency exit seating on flights by a foreign operator.

Industry / Operation affected Aviation: Air transport
Concern subject type Aviation: Cabin safety

Reporter's concern

The reporter expressed a safety concern regarding the allocation of emergency exit seating on flights by a foreign operator.

The reporter has stated that the operator charges passengers extra for sitting in the emergency exit rows of the aircraft and as a result of this upsell, often the emergency exit seats are not allocated to passengers during the boarding process. When passengers enter the aircraft the emergency exit rows are blocked and cabin crew attempt to upsell the seats - sometimes to elderly people.

If no-one wants to pay the extra money for the seat, the seat is not used and the row of seats is often left unmanned.

Operator's response (Operator 1)

Safety is one our core values, and as such we take feedback seriously. Allow me to explain our position regarding the use/allocation of the emergency exit row seats:

  • Our regulator has given approval for us to have the over-wing emergency exit rows (Row 12-13) vacant during the flights (including take-offs and landings). A Hazard Identification and Risk Mitigation (HIRM) process had been conducted and internally documented. From the regulatory compliance and safety risk perspectives, we believe that the safety of our passengers is not compromised. Please note that the over-wings emergency exits are Secondary Exits in both the Land and Water Evacuation - the Primary Exits being the 4 main doors (2 forward, 2 aft).
  • We do 'up-sell' our over-wing emergency exit rows (Row12-13).
  • The over-wing emergency exit rows can only be occupied by Able Bodied Passengers (ABPs).

To avoid discriminatory and consistency issues, it is our policy that our Cabin Crew do not randomly or otherwise select such able passengers to sit gratis on the emergency exit rows.

I hope this clarifies and fully addresses the issues raised by this REPCON.

Regulator's response (Regulator 1)

CASA has reviewed the REPCON and has referred the matter to the regulator in question, as they have responsibility of oversighting the operator.

 
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Last update 24 March 2014