If You’re On the Terrorism Watchlist, You’re Not Allowed to Sit in an Exit Row

Toqueville passes along a piece about the blogger who is on a terrorism watchlist because of a conviction related to his animal activism in the 1990s.

He chronicles his experiences. And one of the things I learned was that if you’re on a watchlist, you’re not allowed to have an exit row seat assignment.

This one rather befuddles me. Someone who gets super duper screening and is deemed not a safety risk, so they can fly, is still too much of a safety risk to sit near the emergency exit.

The blogger speculates why

  • Terrorists hate humans so much we would physically block exit points in the event of a crash and/or fire.
  • They make you do that weird verbal confirmation thing after the fight attendant recites that exit row speech, and we’re known for only speaking Arabic.
  • In any case, I never knew that if you’re watchlisted you weren’t cleared for exit row seating. I wonder whether it would preclude an elite flyer from economy plus or main cabin extra?

    At least it’s apparently a way to earn bump vouchers.

    About Gary Leff

    Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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    1. Reminds me of an issue a colleague of mine had when being subjected to “expedited removal” (aka deportation) from the USA. He arrived on a Business Class ticket (Delta) but was downgraded on his return flight as US CBP will not allow deportees to travel in premium cabins for whatever reason. He did get the miles for the purchased class of service though.

    2. Not too impressed with the bump voucher story. Of course his designation as a terrorist is absurd, but ultimately, an innocent third party (Delta) was punished… not the TSA. Not only that, but he went out of his way NOT to explain the likely cause of the problem to the innocent third party who has no choice but to abide by TSA’s ridiculous regulations.

      IMO, if Delta reads that story they should revoke the comp voucher as it was issued under false pretenses. He knew why he wasn’t able to board and chose not to tell the agent.

    3. @Justin

      Delta’s personnel are supposed to be trained, and further, not lie about him having not boarded. And who really created the situation? It seems to me that Delta would benefit from lobbying to abolish silly TSA procedures (weird keystrokes on the keyboard? Is this just a sad ploy to buy time?) rather than wasting time harassing customers. The gate agent should have called a Sup if he was super desperate.

      Please note that I did not defend the writer’s actions, either, though.

      @Gary – Thanks for the post.

    4. This is hilarious stuff … if only it wasn’t true …

      It rather leads one to wonder whether Kafka, were he writing today, would be a literary failure. Turn-key totalitarianism is the new normal.

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