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Claustrophobia seating in aisle

Discussion in 'Airlines' started by retiredfornow, Apr 14, 2017.

  1. retiredfornow

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    I suffer from moderate situational claustrophobia for which I have a Dr. note. I need to have an aisle seat to avoid having a possible panic attack if stuck in the middle or window seat. I have had no problem so far with American and Southwest domestic travel but recently heard a story of someone who was refused an accomodation even though they notified the airline well ahead of time. Is there a way to ensure my disability is accommodated?
     
    #1
  2. Neil

    Neil Moderator
    Staff Member Advocate

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    Never book a flight through third party discount site like Expedia, Travelocity, etc. Book your flight early and book an aisle seat. If you have never had a problem with Southwest then you shouldn't have a problem anywhere because you can't choose a seat on SW.

    Also; never book code share flights, book directly with an airline that flies where you want to go. On code shares you often can't choose a seat until 24 hours before unless you pay for it. So make sure you know the rules because some airlines may not accept a dr. Note.

    Sometimes you may have to pay extra for seating but if it's a must, shell out the money.
     
    #2
  3. Tricia K.

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    I booked flights with Delta to Dublin recently for me and a friend. I need economy comfort seats because of a disability due to a bad outcome from knee replacement surgery. When I went to their app, it didn't show economy comfort as an option, and their website was quoting me prices of $4,000 round trip for those seats. It finally let me upgrade the international portion (I'm meeting up with a friend at JFK) of our tickets, but any time I tried to upgrade the domestic portion, I got a notice that said I selected "main cabin"
    And wasn't eligible
    For upgrades. Finally I called Delta (when I've booked with them on the phone previously, they never seem to find the same rates I get from their own website) and explained that I am handicapped and need the extra space. After consulting with a supervisor, the agent on the phone was able to upgrade my seats for the domestic leg and did so at no extra cost, and gave me an aisle seat so I could give my leg a bit more room when the cart wasn't in the aisle. I've never pushed it from a handicapped perspective because that part is so hard to define. I don't receive disability checks (I tried to get it years ago for another condition and was told I hadn't worked enough to qualify. The reason I hadn't worked enough? My disability that caused serious, unrelenting pain, and still does), but I do have handicapped parking status for the longest term allowed by my state. It seems unfair that someone can print off a certificate on the internet saying they have an emotional support animal, but those of us with other difficulties, emotional, physical or both, are at their mercy. I agree code shares complicate the situation, but you don't always know that you are booking a code share, especy if you call the airline directly. We booked a trip to Hawaii on Delta that used Hawaiian Air as a partner when we changed planes in Portland, which was great, especially since we were able to upgrade the flight from there to Maui for $125 each. On the way back however, when we went to check in, we were quite surprised to be charged a fee for our baggage. My husband has had Gd status or higher with Delta for years. The agent replied they aren't part of Delta, but have us a discount to check the bags because of his status. A small thing maybe, but aggravating. One solution we have found to the middle seat problem is to look at the first class fares for domestic travel (as much as I would
    Like to fly as. Delta One passenger, we are not independent wealthy). Many flights are surprisingly little for the upgrade (as little as $100, sometimes less) and for us, it's worth it. I won't pay $1800 extra for an international flight, at least not yet--I would rather use that money at my destination. Two other solutions should you find yourself assigned to the middle seat--appeal to the good nature of your fellow passengers (and yes, there are enough decent people left that will make the switch for you), and if that fails, have a back up of either something like Ativan (short acting and very effective for panic attacks if used sparingly) or download a few meditation apps to your phone or iPad (Relax and Rest or Calm) are especially good and perhaps a seat of sleep phones (a knit headband with ear buds built in) can get you through it. I don't think we will see great changes in support of people with disabilities (seen and unseen) under the current administration but if you arm yourself with multiple back up plans, you can work through it. Good luck.
     
    #3
    Neil, Carrie Livingston and Mike Z like this.
  4. Mike Z

    Staff Member Advocate

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    You have a disability that you have a doctor sign off on. All that should be required is a call to the airline. Airlines have people in airports who are specifically trained to assist people in cases like your and have them in other departments as well. A call in to their customer service department should be all that is required. There should be no need to pay extra due to your disability.
     
    #4
    Tricia K. and VoR61 like this.
  5. Tricia K.

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    I'm going to get my surgeon to write a letter for me for future reference. I've always just assumed I had to pay for the seat. He has stopped issuing ID cards for his joint replacement patients as the TSA ignores them. Didn't do me any good with my implanted pain pump either. I would tell them
    I was going to set off the detector and why, holding up my card, they would say go on through, and then freak out after I set off the metal detector (this was post 9/11 but pre whole body scanners).
     
    #5
    Neil likes this.

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