Exit Row Seating

Regulatory Requirements

Before the aircraft door is closed, airlines are required by law to ensure that passengers who are seated in exit rows meet the suitability criteria for sitting there. They are also required to provide a briefing to passengers seated beside exits. At the start of the briefing, passengers must be asked if they wish to assume responsibilities for exit seat occupancy. Passengers may refuse, and, if so, must be reseated before the aircraft moves from the gate. During the briefing, reference must be made to the passenger safety briefing card.

Exit Row Seating

Exit seat means:

  • A seat from which a passenger can proceed directly to the exit
  • Each seat in a row of seats through which passengers would have to pass to gain access to an exit.

Suitability Criteria for Exit Seat Occupants

Passengers seated in exit seats must have sufficient mobility, strength and dexterity in both arms and hands, and both legs to:

  • Reach upward, sideways, and downward to the location of emergency exit operating handle;
  • Grasp and push, pull, turn, or otherwise manipulate those handles;
  • Push, shove, pull, or otherwise open emergency exits;
  • Reach the emergency exit quickly;
  • Maintain balance while removing obstructions;
  • Exit quickly; and
  • Assist others in getting out of the aircraft.