New Member
Today I flew with American Airlines. It's also important to know that I am deaf in my left ear. On my flight this morning from Charlotte, NC to Jacksonville, FL I had the most unpleasant flying experience. The flight attendant, Patty was extremely rude and referred to my handicap as a disability. She then told me that I was not equipped to sit in the exit row seat due to my disability. I was extremely offended. I asked her if she was always this rude to customers on her flights, she had no response. She only gave me a stare down as if she was a 12 year old child rather than an adult. American Airlines has zero respect for the Deaf community. I'd advise staying clear of AA and if you do fly with them, beware of Patty. See her photo attached



Well-Known Member
Whereas I had good experiences in American Airlines. I identified myself as being deaf on my reservation so it was noted on the manifest. The flight attendant on at least one flight came to me and asked if I needed any <hearing> assistance. And at the gate in one airport the gate agent asked if I signed - using sign. I said no so she wrote some things down for me letting me know I could preboard and where to wait for preboarding.

SO, you can’t say a company is not deaf friendly because you had one bad experience with one employee.

Now, did you bother contacting American Airlines to nicely tell them about your experience and how the flight attendant could have done better?

BTW, all airlines have restrictions for who can sit in the exit rows. These passengers need to be able to react quickly in an emergency to clear the way to the exit doors.


In Hazzard County
Super Moderator
Premium Member
She then told me that I was not equipped to sit in the exit row seat due to my disability. I was extremely offended.
It's the government requirement not the airline. I've flown numerous times and I can not sit in the exit row seats either and I have no problem with that, they can move you to another seat and that isn't a big deal. I once had a reservation on a seat and I mistakenly choose one of the exit row seat, and the airline moved me to another seat and that doesn't bother me. I already knew the regulations and you can't argue with airline about the exit row seats.

See the link:

Since passengers seated in an exit row must be able and willing to assist the crew during an evacuation of the aircraft, civil aviation boards and national governments set specific requirements for passengers seated in an exit row. While exact requirements vary by country and airline, frequently exit row passengers must:

  • Be of a certain minimum age, ranging from 12 to 18 depending on the airline's policies and/or local law.
  • Not be traveling with anyone requiring special assistance in an emergency (such as an infant or person with a disability), or an animal (including service animals)
  • Have no physical or mental impairment that would hinder quickly reaching and operating the emergency exit.
  • Speak and read the national language of the airline's home country (e.g. English on Qantas or German on Lufthansa, etc.)
  • Not use a seatbelt extension.
  • Be able to lift 27 kg/60 lb (for window exits only).
Some carriers require passengers with an exit row seat assignment to check in with an agent (as opposed to online or at a kiosk), who will manually verify eligibility and issue a boarding pass.


Well-Known Member
a) as noted already- there are rules/regulations by both the government and the airlines on who are permitted to sit in the exit row. Even if you have unilateral deafness I suspect they put that under disability anyway. I suppose you could argue the case that you can hear just dandy with the other ear but the regulations are kind of broad in the area of exact hearing ability.

b) Is it really smart and wise to posting this flight attendant's picture all over the place? I am never a fan of it unless the airline and/crew did something super egregious and illegal. In this situation all she was doing was her... JOB.

c) the handicap vs disability "debate"... stop being offended... people are going to use the word they feel most comfortable with or KNOW. Most people by now have used disability. I have rarely ever seen or heard 'handicapped/handicap) in the last 25-30 years. Though on a slightly off topic bit I'm still getting used to switching to intellectually disabled from mentally retarded so.. there's that...

d) It's fine to complain and post your experience but I get turned off when someone then says.. "DON'T BOTHER WITH USING THEIR SERVICES!!!" - simply because- there's probably no chance I'd ever run into this particular attendant and because American Airlines is such a big business you can almost have a a shining amazing experience on the first leg of your flight and a horrible one on the second leg... and if you fly the same route again later it could change.

But-by all means make sure to send feedback to American Airlines...that is a must. Whether they'll listen or not is another story...