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Old 05-15-2013, 08:27 AM   #1
DuckyCurtains
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US Airways won't give us bulkhead

I checked the ACAA and they're required to give us bulkhead because I have an immobilized leg but they refuse to because people already chose those seats (even though I called months ago and was told I could have bulkhead). So now we're in the middle of the airplane and I'm not even sure I can get through the narrow aisle on crutches. Plus I have to have enough room to keep my leg straight, which I won't have with a regular seat.

I can bend my knee for short periods of time (like 15/20 mins tops) but if I leave it bent for a 2.5 hr flight it will dislocate.

Any ideas?
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Old 05-15-2013, 08:38 AM   #2
lost*in*cyberspace
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Contact the US Airways Disability Team to discuss your options:

http://www.usairways.com/en-US/trave...ervations.html

Keep in mind that bulkhead seats don't always have more legroom than regular seats, some have less; in fact, I don't know of many which would allow you to completely straighten your leg anyway. You can also keep your leg stretched out if you sit slightly angled in a regular seat (of course your companion must agree to share the leg space). This is doable on such a short light.

Last edited by lost*in*cyberspace; 05-15-2013 at 08:46 AM.
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Old 05-15-2013, 08:57 AM   #3
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If you get the run around, try www.elliott.org
Chris Elliott is a travel ombudsman and will help you deal with the airlines. His services are free.
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Old 05-15-2013, 12:17 PM   #4
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I have found that I have more room to stretch out my leg if I take a regular seat so I can put my straighten leg underneath the seat in front of me. I prefer the window so I can protect my leg against bumps from passengers and beverage carts.
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Old 05-15-2013, 12:30 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DuckyCurtains View Post
I checked the ACAA and they're required to give us bulkhead because I have an immobilized leg but they refuse to because people already chose those seats (even though I called months ago and was told I could have bulkhead). So now we're in the middle of the airplane and I'm not even sure I can get through the narrow aisle on crutches. Plus I have to have enough room to keep my leg straight, which I won't have with a regular seat.

I can bend my knee for short periods of time (like 15/20 mins tops) but if I leave it bent for a 2.5 hr flight it will dislocate.

Any ideas?
Could it be that the people who have those seats also have a medical requirement?
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Old 05-15-2013, 12:49 PM   #6
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Lesson to ALL of us - Get all promises in writing!

You are in a situation - and you need help. Can you semi-stand each half hour so that your knee doesn't lock? That would help somewhat.

I agree with others who have suggested to sit so that one leg goes across the seat. You could get it straighter this way.

If all else fails - scream in pain! I'm sure someone will help you then!

Have a good trip! Enjoy your vacation!
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Old 05-15-2013, 12:55 PM   #7
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Could it be that the people who have those seats also have a medical requirement?
I've always wondered how often that happens. If the bulkhead is already occupied by someone with a similar need, it creates kind of a stalemate.
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Old 05-15-2013, 01:00 PM   #8
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I know that I have a need for a special seating arrangement. so, I make sure I book my flight far in advance and research the seating availability before I book, I reserve my seat at booking so there is no problem. then immediately I review and print out my confirmations to double check I have what I need from the start. for our upcoming aug trip, my first flight choice didn't have what I needed, so I had to choose second best flight. there is no saying why the seats where already reserved, but they were, so I had to adjust.
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Old 05-15-2013, 02:10 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DuckyCurtains View Post
I checked the ACAA and they're required to give us bulkhead because I have an immobilized leg but they refuse to because people already chose those seats (even though I called months ago and was told I could have bulkhead). So now we're in the middle of the airplane and I'm not even sure I can get through the narrow aisle on crutches. Plus I have to have enough room to keep my leg straight, which I won't have with a regular seat.

I can bend my knee for short periods of time (like 15/20 mins tops) but if I leave it bent for a 2.5 hr flight it will dislocate.

Any ideas?
Book another flight that has open bulkhead seat. When you state 'even though I called months ago' - did you get an assigned seat at that time? Did you go online and check the seating? Which part of the ACAA states that they must give you a bulkhead seat? (I've skimmed, can't find it, but I didn't read it all)
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Old 05-15-2013, 02:38 PM   #10
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Maybe someone with a greater need has those seats. Maybe it's someone who can't walk at all or someone with a service dog.
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Old 05-15-2013, 03:54 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DuckyCurtains View Post
I have an immobilized leg but they refuse to because people already chose those seats (even though I called months ago and was told I could have bulkhead). So now we're in the middle of the airplane and I'm not even sure I can get through the narrow aisle on crutches. Plus I have to have enough room to keep my leg straight, which I won't have with a regular seat.
Getting to an from a seat is no problem. That is what they call an aisle-chair is for, a special wheelchair that fits down the aisle of the plane.

Quote:
I can bend my knee for short periods of time (like 15/20 mins tops) but if I leave it bent for a 2.5 hr flight it will dislocate.

Any ideas?
Question to begin with is if on this flight a bulkhead seat would even actually allow enough space. By no way do all configurations allow for more space and/or adequate space for a immobilized leg. It's not uncommon to find actually more leg space in a general seat, where feet can be put underneath the seat in front.

I'll assume this most likely involves the knee, given how ankle would make no biggie and a fussed hip would be beyond problematic or no biggie depending on angle. If a knee needs to be at 180 degrees, that can and will be a problem at many bulkheads in eco. I exclusively fly bulkhead and before it became business due to my needs, I was back in eco. I'm very accustomed to leg-situations so to say. Amongst others I am in one or more plaster casts for at least 30 weeks a year. So flying with that is not new for me either. Yet, most of the eco bulkheads would not come close to enough space for me to place myself with an "immobilized" knee. Not without needing to use ground space of the seat next to me or the aisle, if it fits. I'm no tall lady, either. Obviously no usage of supports to put the leg up during take of etc, which can be a factor for some. So, that could be a serious thing to keep an eye on. What is the actual floor space to begin with for these seats and does that even fit, or is it a mute argument?

Second thing; not all folks are aware that bulkheads can also be exit row seats, depending on configurations. Amongst others, those who have any physical impairment are not allowed to sit in any exit row seat. Never mind it might being the only option to fit a need, that safety rule trumps it all. So important to find out the right configuration.


Be aware that airlines have space as to how and when they assign. For instance if there is another seat that fits requirements, they can also assign that. Pre-assigned can be done, but it can also be a system of blocking and assigning at the check in desk etc.

Beyond that all. Indeed fits? Recontact, sometimes another person can have very different results. If need be, move it up the chain. If need be, get to the airport early and explain and show. Many airlines keep some bulkheads held back in case of need and many have been known to not want to assign all of them but wanting to keep some for assignment at check in. Those seats would look occupied on the seatmap, but that does not mean that thus someone is already assigned. Stil no workable result? Be at the gate early and talk to the gate agent as soon as they arrive. They can override and have been known to do so for needs. If need be you can call in a complaint resolution officer.

And always; firm but always polite. Don't say things you are not 100% certain off. Even if you mean nothing but well, coming across as uninformed and overdemanding gets you into a situation of bad atmosphere real quick.

I've had airlines before (including US legacies) that would not want to assign until check in. Most of the times combined with poor communication about this and thus no factual info about that. Only once did I ran into problems, No US airlines by the way. Had proper seats assigned at check in, but some dud had decided it was more important to re-assign for our second transatlantic flight while we were on our first flight. Did not get where I needed to be. Long story, let's just say this was Hellish Airways and this was the least of the problems. Such big accessibility problems full crew asked me to please file complaint with EU (which is unheard of). It was either board in impossible seat or refused boarding and "you see how you get home or to Orlando" (obviously not within airlines right, but being right or getting your right....). I wasn't alone and for sakes of others, I decided to solve it on the plane. Did board into impossible seat (ouch), since take off time was risked delayed by hour if flight wouldn't take off then and there. As soon as in air, long before normal considered safe moments did FA take care of it and got me a seat that suited me but alas not my mom or her friend.

I decided to go alone as mom could easily walk back and forth to help me but her friend had a huge fear of flying and could use her more than I did. One can imagine my huge surprise that those 2 seats that were assigned to me and mom had been reassigned to a female of about 1.50 meters travelling with.......... wait for it.............. a chihuahua puppy. Turned out she had a huge hissyfit at the airport, had a friend pull some strings and voilà; we were bumped. I'll suffice to say that it was a big walk of shame.

Do have to say that I follow certain strategies. I fly certain carriers, knowing their policies fit my needs better. Before booking I always call the airline first, to make sure that those seats that meet my needs are not all yet assigned. If so, I'll tweak my dates until there is space. Not until then do I book. Also inform the airline of why I need certain seating. While very rare on my routes, this way we can pre-emptively work if there is a swap put into place at a later time. Whether it being to accomodate. Even had airline offer to book me on another airline at their expense (not within their share, so full fare ticket for airline....). Always make sure I am at the airport early to make sure I am not just assigned said seat, but get checked into it and aren't reassigned during check in. Am at the gate in time. Need preboarding anyway, but again a very important moment. Most GA's see enough by one look and simply either come over to check if seating assignment is fitting my needs or to make sure they have all the info needed. More than once I've had that result in GA's even checking the seat before preboarding to make sure all is in order. Did once safe my butt, with a very last minute aircraft swap which resulted in needing a seatswap.
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Old 05-15-2013, 05:36 PM   #12
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Are they required to ? Maybe the bulkhead seats are a different price point? I think it opens a whole can if worms. What about if my legs are too long? If I'm obese they can make me pay for a second seat etc. i honestly don't know what the rules are. It just seems odd to me that they would have accommodate an injured knee space wise but not a tall person...

I hope they've just decided to upgrade you to first class :-)
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Old 05-15-2013, 06:13 PM   #13
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From what I have seen, most bulkhead seats are on emergency exit rows and you must be able bodied to sit there.

DB is 6'6" tall and travels either first class or business class just so he can have room for his legs. When he is on a plane that does not have first or business and he has to squeeze his legs in a regular seat, he spends most of the flight standing up wherever there is space and when the fasten seat belt sign is off.
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Old 05-16-2013, 01:07 AM   #14
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When My husband had issues with his knee, I had to go thru a special department. I was told his knee had to be fused and not able to bend at all to qualify for medical handicap. This was suppose to be according to the federal standard they were reading from.
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Old 05-16-2013, 04:17 PM   #15
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From what I have seen, most bulkhead seats are on emergency exit rows and you must be able bodied to sit there.
Not true. I think you may be confusing a bulkhead seat with something else; they are not in emergency exit rows, they are the row behind a wall. On many planes, this is where they seat PAX with infants because a bassinet can be hung on the wall.
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