It is a valid question! Exit row passengers should possess the ability to physically and mentally assist the flight crew and passengers in the event of an emergency. While the pair of idiots on my last flight might have met the physical and mental standard, their actions off and on the plane made me question that….  When I use the term “idiots” to refer to specific passengers on my recent flight, it has nothing to do with their level of intelligence, but everything to do with their immaturity and foolish behavior.

Disclaimer: The two passengers featured in my story shall remain nameless, but only because I do not know their names… Also, this post contains an admittedly poor attempt at something called humor, so please don’t be offended. Or do, if taking offense is something you enjoy doing!

I Prefer the Exit Row

I prefer sitting in the exit row for that extra leg room, but also recognize that there are additional responsibilities associated with that seat. And I am always willing and able to carry out those responsibilities if requested.

Are you a fan of the exit row? Or do you prefer LESS leg room?

Are you a fan of the exit row? Or do you prefer LESS leg room?

Thanks to my Alaska Mileage Plan MVP Gold status, I was able to select a preferred seat on a recent Delta flight at no extra charge. This preference does not include any Delta Comfort seating, so an exit row seat with extra leg room was the best option available. Delta’s Boeing 717s can be a bit of a squeeze with the 2-3 economy configurations, so every little bit of space helps!

Exit row seats come with extra legroom, and for good reason. If there is ever an instance where the over-wing exit is needed to evacuate passengers in the case of an emergency, the extra room provides the necessary space to carry out the evacuation.

Are You Willing to Assist in an Emergency?

The flight attendant is required to ask this question of all exit row passengers and receive a verbal agreement prior to departing the gate.

Most passenger reply with a simple “yes” or “I am” but on this flight I witnessed something from a fellow exit row passenger that I have never heard before…

I’m so down…”

Wait… what? You are “down” to assist other passengers in an emergency situation!?


Come on man! Get your ish together!

Great… That gives me a whole lot of confidence in your ability and willingness to assist others.

What an idiot…

I’m 27, so still slightly in tune with some popular millennial language tendencies and I know what the guy meant. But a simple and polite “yes” was all that was needed, yet this guy felt the need to be “so down.”

If you ask your surgeon if he is ready to perform your operation today and he replies “I’m so down!” I think that you would be concerned… right?

What are the “exit row requirements” anyway?

According to Delta, here are the Passenger Qualifications for sitting in an exit row seat:

  • Must be able to comprehend instructions for operating the emergency exit including locating and operating a window exit or exit door and directing others to the exit
  • Passenger must not be under 15 years of age
  • Passenger does not have a condition or responsibility, such as caring for small children that might prevent him/her from performing the applicable exit row functions
  • Must be physically able to open an exit door and to lift and stow a 31-52 pound window exit
  • Not require the use of a seat belt extension (this limitation is intended to preclude the hazard of entanglement with the additional length of the extension by those passengers attempting to expeditiously exit the aircraft)
  • Passengers must be able to quickly activate the evacuation slide and help others off of it

I knew they were trouble when they walked in…

Even prior to this instance, as I stood in line waiting to board the plane I noticed these two jokers passengers rushing over to the gate.

Still standing in line to board, I maintained nosiness and listened to their conversation. I could hear the two guys giggle and joke back and forth with the gate agent. Things stayed silly and one guy asked the agent if they could sit together on the flight. The agent responded no and (jokingly?) stated that they like to separate the trouble makers…

Their immaturity was actually kind of funny and entertaining in that “pre-flight” moment…

Final Thought

Am I overreacting to a harmless response that was (clearly?) made in jest?

Absolutely! Overreacting to other passengers actions is a part of travel and it keeps things interesting! I mean there are some crazy things that happen on planes these days, both on the ground and in the air – babies born, fights broken out, and anything/everything in-between.

Yet, I still feel that acting like an idiot should impede you from sitting in the exit row, just as a 13 year old kid would be! Perhaps Delta should expand that “under 15 years of age” qualification to include 20 year olds that act under 15 years of age.

Have you ever encountered obnoxious and immature passengers tasked with ensuring your safety in the event of a flight emergency!?

Maybe we should have our flight attendant @missallovertheplace weigh in on the matter!

Happy Travels!