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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Follow Up With Delta and Questions

I had a long talk with an employee from Delta. Profuse apologies were made and accepted. I am very curious though about one thing. I was told some passengers prefer the sort of straight-back I used. I find this hard to believe. The straight-backs I routinely use when I fly all have a cushioned seat. Given the width and short duration of use I do not expect much padding on a straight-back. I do expect the straight-back to be clean and have working straps. Curious I looked for images of straight-backs and came across the below.

Note the complete lack of straps. Imagine this straight-back with ripped canvas and dirty and add 20 years of use. That is what I had to use. The Delta agent suggested in the future if I am unhappy with the straight-back that I could ask to speak with the conflict resolution officer and not worry about the backlash of such a request. In an ideal world this is good advice. But we do not live in an ideal world. The fact is if I insisted on an appropriate straight-back and competent assistance the flight would have been delayed. This would undoubtedly have angered the flight crew and 160 passengers. Easy advice to give, hard to actually implement. This leads me to ask readers:

1. Would any paralyzed person prefer an unpadded straight-back with no working straps for torso and legs?

2. Has any paralyzed person ever knowingly delayed a flight by insisting on straight-back with straps that work, some padding, and competent assistance?

3. In recent years has service getting on and off the plane become significantly worse?

Over the years I have worked with a few conflict resolution officers with mixed results. I have also noted that assistance on and off the plane since it has been farmed out to the lowest bidder has deteriorated. I would love to know what other people have experienced.


Jo Kelly said...

Hi Bill

I prefer a padded straight back - especially on the bum. I do not, however, like the straps. I feel very confined and I feel that I am strong enough and have adequate balance that I'm not in danger of falling off. In all my years of flying, I've never had even so much as a close call in that area. I do note that in the US, use of the straps seems to be mandatory - they argue with me if I say I don't want them. In Canada, they don't seem to care as much. I have delayed a few flights but that is always because they are unprepared for how many of us there are (travelling as a team) no matter what we do ahead of time to warn them. What really burns my ass is when the pilot comes over the PA to apologize for the delay and blames US! That is seriously wrong. As for the level of service, I've found over the years that it remains the same - consistently bad. Mostly it's an attitude thing - they talk to you like you're a child and I detest that.

william Peace said...

Jo, I too prefer the padded straight-back. I seem to recall they came into service because so many people were injured. Use of the straps is inconsistent but have never been forced to use them. I have long legs and need straps for my legs. And Canada is indeed more mellow. Yes, if the flight is delayed we are often blamed. Great way to become popular--heavy sarcasm. Sadly the airline service is terrible. I set the bar way low and still airlines find a way to screw up. It is never a pleasant experience.

Katja said...

Reminds me of the time I waited over half an hour on a plane for a straight back, when all along my wheelchair could have been brought close enough to my front row seat for me to transfer.

A flight attendant later told me that she knew that some people preferred the straight back to their own chairs. Mind-boggling.

If I have to use it, I want padding and I want straps, at minimum around the knees.

william Peace said...

Katja, The level of ignorance within the airline industry boggles the mind. I have had airline employees say some remarkably stupid things. My favorite is "can't you walk a little bit".

John Kelly said...

Padded and strapped for me! Even with the cross straps coming down from the shoulder, along with the seatbelt and the leg belt, I am still floppy. Often there is no strap for my legs, which end up dragging on the floor. One worker usually runs along bent over, trying to keep my legs together. Worker least fluent in English always stands behind me and holds my shoulders…

John Kelly said...

I am flying on Thursday and I am terrified! :-(