I had a discussion on this topic at work today, someone stated that airlines used to choose who they would let take the seat beside the emergency exit on the premise that they needed someone who would be both (a) willing and (b) capable of operating the emergency exit in the event of a crash. This person further stated that due to anti-discrimination laws they are no longer allowed to do so.
My questions are, was this ever policy officially or unofficially and if so can airlines no longer select who they want to sit in this position?
I am not a frequent flyer but on several occassions the airline check in staff have actively asked me if I want to take the emergency exit seat but it hasn’t happened recently. I guess my chisselled manly jawline, piercing blue eyes and attitude of quiet competence was exactly the man they needed for the job.
In all seriousness, I’m a six-foot tall male of average build and fitness and I don’t think I look any less competent than I did a few years ago, but you never know…
Kind of annoying because I did like the extra leg room at that row.