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Exit Row Seats

Many people like to sit in the exit rows because of the extra leg room but there are certain restrictions on sitting there. Let’s look at what an exit row is and what is required to sit there.

What is an exit row? The FAA considers it any row of seats that has direct access to an exit. This includes both door exits and window exits. Usually these seats have more space due to the size of the exits and to provide more space for passengers who might need to exit quickly in an emergency. 

In order to sit in these seats you have to be at least 15 years old, be able to use both arms and legs and have enough strength to open the exit (the window can weigh over 45 pounds). You can’t use any assistive devices (canes, crutches, braces, or slings for example) and seat belt extensions are not allowed. You have to speak the language of the crew (English in the USA) and, most importantly, you must be willing and able to assist in an emergency (you will be briefed on this prior to the aircraft door closing). Anyone not meeting these requirements will have to be moved even if they paid extra to sit there.

The airlines usually charge extra for exit row seats because of the perception of extra leg room but some of these seats have no extra space. They are still considered exit row seats because of their access to the doors but have no more space than any other seat.

The airlines usually charge extra for exit row seats because of the perception of extra leg room but some of these seats have no extra space. They are still considered exit row seats because of their access to the doors but have no more space than any other seat.

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Jay Muller

Author of The Flight Advisor

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