Aircraft seating for traveler with stiff leg

Old Jun 11th, 2008, 12:42 PM
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Aircraft seating for traveler with stiff leg

Surgery has left me with a stiff right leg. I can bend it about 30 degrees. And i'm tall, 6 feet. Continental tells me the best option is a bulkhead seat, and that this will be fine in a regular-size jet, Boeing 737-300, or a regional jet, Embraer RJ145. Can anyone share experiences? Is this realistic? Any other options (other than FirstClass/Business?) And what if Continental moves me back to a regular seat when I get to the airport? I'd be grateful for any advice.
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Old Jun 11th, 2008, 01:13 PM
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They usually won't move you once you have a seat assigned, except for last minute equipment changes. But the bulkhead seats are usually either held or can only be assigned to elite FF members. So, you need to call to make sure you can get those seats before actually purchasing the ticket.

What route and what date?
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Old Jun 11th, 2008, 03:35 PM
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I'm not convinced the bulkhead seats are more roomy. On planes where there is a cutout in the bulkhead for your feet, they may be. But on planes where there is no cutout, I get more footroom sticking my feet under the seat in front of me, and that space is not available in a bulkhead seat.

Some people advocate getting the appropriate aisle seat and sticking your stiff leg out into the aisle, but I think this is quite inconsiderate of people who may want to walk in the aisle, and you have to deal with the service cart when they bring that around.

And lately, Continental seems to have no discounted business class seats available, nor much availability for automatic upgrade if you buy a Y fare (I'm not sure, this option might only be available to people with frequent flyer status, even when it is available), so business class had become quite expensive.

Airlines are doing everything they can think of to get more income.
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Old Jun 11th, 2008, 08:48 PM
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The designated "special needs" seats on have armrests that raise but not extra leg room. You can call (and will probably have to pay a call center fee) and indicate that you have a medical need for a specific seat (such as exit row, but be aware that not all exit rows offer extra room) and ask that a notation be made on your PNR. there is always the chance that there will be an equipment change, so it would also be a good idea to get checked in a bit earlier than usual and remind the agent of your need.
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Old Jun 12th, 2008, 04:28 AM
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If you call and can't get a seat you think will work, I think your best option may be to checkin 24 hrs in advance (when they release all unassigned seats) and see if you can change to a seat that you think will work better. I've had pretty good luck getting bulkheads, exit rows that way. Although I agree that bulkheads aren't always better depending on the configuration and they may, or may not, let you have an exit row if they consider your leg problem to be a "disability". An aisle may be a better bet, but as noted that may present some issues as well.
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Old Jun 12th, 2008, 06:59 AM
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I don't like the bulkhead seats (unless there is that cutout, which is rare) for legroom. I'm only 5'6" and cannot have my legs out straight in a bulkhead seat unless I sit at an angle. Like clevelandbrown, the only way to get my legs stretched out is under the seat in front of me.
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Old Jun 12th, 2008, 07:18 AM
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Haven't heard back from the OP, but we really need to know route and date. CO will be retiring its 737-300 fleet fairly quickly, but Row 5 on the CO's 733 have tonnes of legroom because the FC divider doesn't extend to the floor, and you can put your leg and stuff under the Row 3 seats. Those are awesome seats!
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Old Jun 12th, 2008, 08:47 AM
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Just flew from Guam to Honolulu on a 767-400. I selected my seat beforehand on Continental's website and was able to pick 10L which was fantastic. I couldn't believe when I went to sit in my window seat that the passenger already seated didn't even have to move. Loads of legroom. I was able to select this seat with a Y fare many months ago - I do not fly frequently but have "One Pass" membership.
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Old Jun 15th, 2008, 10:44 AM
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I don't think anyone with a stiff leg should get an exit row seat. That's for people who are agile and capable of rapidly performing the required duties.
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Old Jun 15th, 2008, 11:01 AM
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No, they shouldn't. Just like I don't assign my parents exit row seats even though they're eligible, because they're supposed to help with opening the doors, and they are incapable and unwilling.

But again, back to CO's 733. Row 5 is NOT an exit row.
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Old Jun 29th, 2008, 01:00 PM
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Thanks very much for these very helpful replies to my post. A couple of people asked about type of plane and route. unfortunately it's a regional jet. From Newark NJ to Bangor ME, Embraer RJ145. I don't like to be a defeatist, but I'm starting to think this just isn't going to work. Will have to drive. Extra leg-room seems to really work only on larger planes, or if I can spring for Business Class. Does anyone disagree, or have thoughts on this. Thanks again.
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Old Jun 29th, 2008, 06:30 PM
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The leg room on some of those is actually better than on larger craft. You might try asking for the first row seat near the door so you have no one in front of you. Ask the agent to put a note on your record indicating that you need that seat.
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Old Jun 30th, 2008, 05:34 AM
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Row 12 on CO's ERJ-145 has extra legroom but it's exit row, so you shouldn't sit there. Same with 1A.

The other rows have about the same pitch (31") as CO's mainline aircrafts. But if you sit in an A or B seat, you can probably put your leg out into the aisle.

There are no mainline planes into BGR, but USAirways have a daily Embraer ERJ-170. Row 1 may be okay, but I don't know if they consider them exit rows.
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