No Aid For Grandma’s Leg

May 1, 2009

in Illness/Medical Stories

My sister was married in Cancun, Mexico a few years ago. A few hours before the ceremony, my grandmother slipped on some wet marble, fell, and broke her knee. A few days later we arrived at the airport, prepared to head home on a U.S. Airways flight. The airline had no idea how to deal with an individual in a leg cast. Apparently broken bones are a very rare occurrence. It took forever for the airline employees to figure out how to get her on the plane. When it came down to it, they refused to help and insisted that my father and I move her out of her wheelchair and into the seat. Thank God another passenger volunteered to help.

Another issue arose when she was unable to support her leg. They permitted us to sit in the first row so she had more room for her leg but would not allow me to place a bag under her leg to keep it elevated. It was beyond ridiculous and this poor, old woman was in pain for the duration of the flight. For most of the way, I leaned over and held her leg up with my two hands. The real shame was that there were empty seats in first class which would have afforded her a bit more room to stretch out and not be in so much pain. They wouldn’t, however, allow that because…well…I never really got a reason out of them for that. That was my biggest irk: pointless rules and regulations passed down from corporate “on-high” that have no bearing on safety whatsoever.

I will never, never travel with U.S. Airways again.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

SAW May 2, 2009 at 4:00 am

I can understand not giving you a free upgrade to 1st class simply because of a medical condition – it would set a precedent. BUT… they should have let you put a bag under her leg during the flight (though maybe not for take off and final landing approach). I avoid US Airways in general – as I believe most frequent travelers try to do.


Julicans May 2, 2009 at 5:40 am

"pointless rules and regulations passed down from corporate "on-high" that have no bearing on safety whatsoever." The rules are from the FAA and ARE for safety reasons. In the invent of trouble the space must be kept clear. It must be very hard for the FA and the rest of the crew to deside if they want to chance a huge fine for themselves and the company, block pax escape route or have a pax be in pain. The crew-gound and flight-could and should have been more helpful in the loading of the pax into her seat.


Anonymous May 3, 2009 at 6:15 am

Uh, Julicans, unless it's an exit row, there's nothing unsafe about allowing an injured person to prop up a broken leg in a bulkhead seat (first row).

This is thinking outside the box, I know, but the FAs could have seated Grandma in an empty first class seat for takeoff and landing, and then moved her back to coach for the rest of the flight…


Kristi July 11, 2009 at 4:51 am

Julicans is right. It doesn't matter whether or not it's an exit row… all items have to be properly stowed under the seat in front of the individual or in an overhead bin if they're seated in a bulkhead row. Any item left blocking passengers from quickly entering the aisle is a safety hazard and has to be dealt with accordingly since planes are designed to be completely evacuated in 90 seconds or less for safety reasons.

In case anyone is wondering where I got my information, I'm a flight attendant myself and have upset more than a few passengers by making them move their items. It's not just to be annoying. All those "pointless rules and regulations" are in place for a reason and have likely stemmed from a previous incident in the aviation industry that has led to better safety policies.


S.M. September 15, 2009 at 8:25 am

That sucks for grandma but as they mentioned safety rules come first. As far as moving you to first, well that's an option but I don't know what that particular airlines rules were on that type of thing. The airlines are in it for the cash and you most likely had the option of paying for an upgrade so that she could be more comfortable. Not an ideal situation but not entirely the airlines employees fault either.


Leave a Comment
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous post:

Next post: