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  #1 (permalink)  
Old October 22nd, 2005, 03:00 PM
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Default Seats on the plane

We are flying back from Sydney in Jan. We requested seats at the back of the plane and near the washrooms as my husband has mobility problems. They gave us a window and middle which is totally unacceptable. All we would need is the aisle passenger to take a sleeping pill and zonk out for 6 hours to trap us in our seats. The flight is almost 14 hours and we must get up regularly and move around. What success have any of you had in getting your seats changed? The seats were booked as a group by HAL.
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Old October 22nd, 2005, 03:01 PM
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I would call the airline directly and ask them to change your seats. If you explain your situation, I'm sure it shoudn't be a problem.
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Old October 22nd, 2005, 10:42 PM
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Default Seats on Plane

Actually, I did phone the airline - several times and they were adamant that they couldn't (wouldn't) change the seating. they said that we would have to wait until arriving at the airport when flying home - of course by then all the seats will be assigned so that is useless. I was amazed that they wouldn't give us anything better considering my husband's problem with mobility. We don't fly home until Jan 7/06 so surely there would be seats available at this time. We have never had a problem before with changing seats even when they are booked by a cruise company.
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Old October 23rd, 2005, 07:15 AM
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I would call the airline again and ask for a supervisor. Be persistent. Kuki recently posted a topic where he had his flight changed and was concerned the one they gave him wouldn't give him enough time to make a connection. It took him several tries, but he finally reached someone at the airline who was willing to help him. Don't give up.
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Old October 23rd, 2005, 06:18 PM
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I agree with MaryLou, ask to speak to a supervisor, and if THEY do not help you to YOUR satisfaction, ask to speak to THEIR supervisor!! That is ridiculous that they will not change your seat.... Make as much noise as possible to get what you want.

Please let us know what happens...my husband is handicapped and we've had issues in the past of companies not being accomodating. We usually eventually get what we need.

Good luck to you!
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Old October 23rd, 2005, 11:03 PM
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Default do you have your confirmation ? Helpful airline seat locator

Not knowing the exact details, were you given a reservation-confirmation number? Usually once you have that, you can go to airlines website and move your seats (usually 90 days ahead of time.) Just wondering.
Also if you know your plane type (it should be on reservation sheet, or can look up flight for that day) you can see if there are better seats near another restroom perhaps. I was often told front area is for business people (frequent flyer) and "handicap seating" perhaps you qualify for this. The very helpful website is seatguru. It should locate restrooms for you - in larger flights often there are restrooms midplane.
Let us know your progress. Best of luck.
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Old October 24th, 2005, 10:58 AM
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When you call the airline, you need to speak to someone in the "Special Services" Department. Get a name, get their direction extension number if they have one. They should be able to help. Keep trying. Another alternative would be to go to a local travel agent, explain your problem to them, see if they would be willing to help you. TA's have resources that the average consumer does not. Most will be willing to help you, because chances are if they are helpful you will become a future customer.
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Old October 24th, 2005, 11:07 AM
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My husband to has mobility problems, we called the night before and they changed the seats for us, we did not request the back of the plane mind you. We were in the middle but she moved us to the front right behind first class, which upset hubby cause he wanted to sit in the comffy seats! . I would insist, you payed for the ticket you can ask for any seat you want and due to the problem they should accomodate that!! I too would not hang up the phone until you get the seats you requested!! You know for a fact on a 14 hour flight the person will sleep and pin you in!
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Old October 24th, 2005, 01:25 PM
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If you have mobility problems I would suggest obtaining a doctors letter and presenting that to the airline. This will assure that you obtain the seat that you require and also allow you pre-boarding.

If the positioning of your seat on the airplane is a major concern than the trip or phone call to your physician to obtain the letter is well worth the time.

Take care,
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Old October 24th, 2005, 06:06 PM
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Thanks everyone - excellent suggestions. Went to the TA today and she hasn't had any better success than we have. We asked for these seats in Aug. as soon as we made our final payment. they have been brushing us off ever since. They totally disregarded the mobility problems and gave us the worst possible seats for a long flight. We are seeing our doctor tomorrow and will get a letter from him to see if that will help. The head of the travel dept. at HAL was supposed to email us today about changing the seats but haven't heard from him. We only have 3 more weeks before we leave so are running out of time to get this fixed.

We would have booked 3 seats so that this wouldn't happen but we have always been able to get the two seats at the back of the plane before. Live and learn.

I did look up SeatGuru to find the best seats. In the long flight planes there are usually 4 or 5 rows right at the back with 2 seats on each side. These are great as you can get up when you like, they are near the washrooms and you don't bother other people if you have to get up often. We have used them many times and they make for much more comfort for a really long flight. I have sat in an inside seat - all 17 inches of it and it was the worst flight ever - especially when the woman in front put her seat back for the whole time and the woman next to me kept jabbing me in the ribs with her elbows. But mainly, my husband needs this as he doesn't walk well and has poor balance.

I will let you know what happens and if we are successful.
Thanks again!
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Old October 24th, 2005, 06:34 PM
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Grdner,

Let me share with you my husband's experience on Alaska Airlines.

On our outgoing flight, it was very nice because they preboarded us (he is in a wheelchair - cannot walk long distances) and we sat in the bulkhead which had a restroom right next to it.

On the return flight, the version of the same plane we were on did not have the halfway restroom, only to the rear or first class. My husband does not like to sit in the rear of the plane because of the additional bumping, and GOD FORBID they should find it in their hearts to let him use the first class restroom! I mean, he didn't want any of their wine or cheese or anything, but the flight attendants told us that it was a TSA FEDERAL REGULATION that coach passengers cannot use the first class restroom! Excuse me?? Then why are first class passengers allowed to use the first class restrooms?? Made NO sense to me at all! So instead, he was FORCED to stumble all of the way to the REAR of the plane when there was a restroom just a few feet from us. People were attemping to help him get his way back, and they had NO aisle wheelchair to assist him on the plane. By the time he got back to his seat, he was having chest pains and almost had to take a nitro pill. (He doesnt like to take them if he can avoid it as they cause terrible headaches!)

Turns out there is NO SUCH TSA regulation, it is simply a SUGGESTION!
So they lied to us from the beginning.

So we have a lawsuit filed against Alaska Airlines and have just accepted a settlement. Hopefully they'll think twice and have more compassion next time a disabled person finds themselves in that situation...

Good luck to you....I hope you are able to win this war. Disgusting how little compassion people can have for others who have difficulties. But I guess that's only because THEY are not in that situation or have a loved one who is.... And no way should you have to book THREE seats to get what your husband NEEDS....
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Old October 25th, 2005, 08:53 PM
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Jean - that is unbelievable! that crew had no heart. Good for you for socking it to them. The thought of a heart attack in the air is frightening. I don't like to take the nitro either as it gives me severe headaches. I have seen passengers sneak into the first class washrooms when the crew weren't looking, but when I asked to use them because of the long line-ups they said it was against regulations.

I checked our seats again on SeatGuru and they are in the worst area of the plane - right by the galley, the farthest away from the washrooms and of course, inside. My husband is over 6 feet and can't stretch his legs out when he is sitting in an inside seat so he would be very uncomfortable even without having to struggle over the aisle passenger and down the aisle to the washroom.

I am so grateful for all the suggestions given here and we are hoping that the doctor's letter will do the trick and that they will change our seats. The airline is Qantas - and this will be our first and at this point, our last flight with them.
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Old October 25th, 2005, 09:36 PM
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You know, Grdner, there is NO reason at all why you cannot speak to the president of the airlines. None whatsoever. AND if the highest person you speak you will not accomodate your husband's needs, I have one last suggestion: As them for the name and address of the person with whom you would file a lawsuit against. I'm sure that will get their attention, or at least a name.

It's a shame you have to go to these lengths, but I hate to hear of people in need being ignored.

Please keep us informed!
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Old October 26th, 2005, 08:30 AM
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I went back and re-read your original post. You are booked in a group and you booked your air directly with HAL is that correct? Well, it could be that HAL only purchased specific seats for a specific deal on that flight and that could be the center of your problem. I would have your TA call HAL again, and ask them if that is the case, if so you may have to pay some extra money to get the seats you need.
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Old October 27th, 2005, 06:45 PM
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Good point Lisa - that is the case, but most of the people on the plane are cruise passengers though, returning home, so the price would be the same. I believe that they booked 4 or 5 flights for all the cruise people. We did pay more actually so we are feeling that it was wasted money at this point.
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Old October 28th, 2005, 09:22 AM
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oh how frustrating for you. Another option might be to look into an air deviation. You pay extra for it, but you get the flight you want. Ask your TA about that.
Is there the possibility of cancelling the air portion and booking it independantly??
I am running out of suggestions.
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Old October 28th, 2005, 11:27 PM
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Default Re: Seats on the plane

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grdner
We are flying back from Sydney in Jan. We requested seats at the back of the plane and near the washrooms as my husband has mobility problems.
Grdner,

I am Jean's husband. Here is some information that may be useful to you. Please understand that so far from what I've read the airline hasn't done anything "against the rules" but knowing the following information should help you. If you get the right person on the telephone and spout some of the following regulations you may perk an ear and rather than take a chance that you will (A) File a civil rights discrimination lawsuit or (B) hold up the other passengers on that flight by lawfully requesting to immediately speak to the Complaints Resolution Official, they'll swap seats for you.

First of all ..........

Per DOT 14 CFR Part 382 (Nondiscrimination on the basis of Disability in Air Travel) §382.65 states that each carrier MUST have a "Complaints Resolution Offical" (CRO) immediately available at each airport they serve. The CRO is an individual that has the authority to make any immediate changes in policy to acoomodate anyone with a disability. This doesn't mean they will, it only means they CAN. If you have a problem now, I would suggest calling the airline and asking to speak with one of the CRO's today. I'm guessing this person will change your seats if you address them professionally and refer to the following sub-sections (§) of Part 382.

Per DOT 14 CFR Part 382 §382.38 'Seating Accomodations'
Paragraph (a){1} "For a passenger who uses an aisle chair to access the aircraft and who cannot readily transfer over a fixed armrest, the carrier shall provide a seat in a row with a movable aisle armrest."

In order to officially qualify for this rule ........ your husband will need to call the airline 48 hours before the flight and request that an aisle wheelchair be available on the aircraft for your specific flight. The airline is REQUIRED to comply with your request per §382.33 'Advance Notice Requirements' Paragraph (b){8}. Upon arrival at the airport he will have to be delivered to the gate via wheelchair (ask at the baggage counter for a chair and a "pusher") and he will have to travel from the front entrance of the aircraft to his seat in the provided aisle chair. Since the airline knows prior to your arrival that your husband has mobility problems they are required to change his seat if he is not in an aisle seat.

Depending on your husband's condition you may also quote DOT 14 CFR Part 382 §382.38 'Seating Accomodations' Paragraph (a){4} "For a person with a fused or immobilized leg, the carrier shall provide a bulkhead seat or other seat that provides greate legroom than other seats, on the side of an aisle that better accomodates the individual's disability."

Providing you have requested the aisle wheelchair as I explained above, if your husband's leg is fused or immobilized you can request to sit in the front of the plane (a much, much smoother ride) and he will be wheeled to the restroom closest to him.

I hope this helps. I find that contacting the right person and taking names has helped me immensly to deal with the restrictions often found on aircraft.

Know that there are several sets of regulations that prevent the airlines from discriminating against disabled persons. Unfortunately the ADA does NOT cover air travel. Instead, there is the Air Carrier Access Act of 1986 (49 U.S.C. 41705) which is what the DOT 14 CFR Part 382 addresses. The FAA also has a strict set of guidelines for the airlines and if you encounter any problems you can contact their office in Washington D.C. as well.

Any more questions ............ just ask!

Best of luck to you!
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Old October 29th, 2005, 12:30 PM
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I really hope you get the seats you need for your husband. When we left on our first cruise we lucked out with our seats just behind first class but the washroom was so far away. My hubby to has mobility and balance problems due to a car accident. On our flight back he purchased a cane in Jamaica and they allowed us to board first, whichwas nice. He had the window seat and I in the middle but he asked the woman sitting beside me if he could switch and the reasoning. She did in a heart beat cause she wanted the window. Wonderful lady she was! As for the other poster that made the comment about economy not being able to use first class washrooms that is a crock. We flew first class to the Dominican Republic last year and economy class most certainly DID use first class washrooms. With the amount of people flying first class to economy that is a big difference. Economy seems to have everyone going to the washroom at the same time! Always a line up and a sign saying OCCUPIED! Infact on that flight the same guy that was using the first class washroom was hittingon the flight attendant! Too funny. I hope things work out for the better for both of the posters!!!!
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Old November 1st, 2005, 07:38 PM
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Yippeeee!! We got the seats we needed. My most heartfelt thanks to the
fine folks here that gave me such good advice. I think that is the only reason we got these seats - right at the back of the plane, window and aisle and close to the washrooms. Now I won't have to worry about DH having a fall in the aisle during the flight. I am so relieved. I will use these techniques next time we fly and avoid the stress and worry that we have had this time.

Thanks to all of you!
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Old November 2nd, 2005, 12:34 PM
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that's great, so glad you were able to get this resolved.
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