Why can't kids sit in an
emergency exit row?

Your kids’ question of the month in February (2017)
Loris, 12 years old, from Straubing

Have you ever been on a longer flight? Then you’ll know how great it can be to streeeetch your legs right out.

The seats in the emergency exit row are particularly popular with many passengers because they usually have the most distance to the seat in front and therefore also the most legroom!
These seats go very quickly ... but you’re right, Loris, not everyone is allowed to sit there.
To put it simply: Passengers in the emergency exit row need to be able to support the crew in the unlikely event of an emergency.

Lufthansa, for example, has the following rules:

• Passengers must be at least 16 years old.
• They must be able to understand the onboard staff and English or – in the case of Lufthansa – German.
• They must not be traveling with any pets in their hand luggage.

• They must not have any physical limitations* or be traveling with someone who needs help, such as small children.
(* e.g. pregnant women, injured or infirm people, or people with mental or physical disabilities)

Passengers must confirm that they meet these criteria when booking online. They could, of course, lie, but the flight attendants on board are aware of this possibility and are entitled to ask them to sit elsewhere.


This is because those who sit in the emergency exit row have a great responsibility in an emergency. Passengers who sit by doors and emergency windows that are not manned by a flight attendant are instructed personally by the cabin staff in how to open the emergency doors, what the emergency procedures are and expressly asked if they want and are able to take on this duty.