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Special needs child and ear defenders on takeoff.

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Special needs child and ear defenders on takeoff.

Old 26th May 2012, 13:43
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Special needs child and ear defenders on takeoff.

Hi,
I have a child with learning difficulties and aural sensitivity. When we fly we try to used ear defenders. We usually fly ba and I usually phone ahead and tell them what we need to do, there are promises that it will be put onto the manifest and will all be okay. Most often the cabin staff are not aware and it ends up as a negotiation between me and the cabin crew, never an argument, if they say no after I have put my case then I accept it.

So we have a flight on a different carrier (Meridiana) and have no idea where I actually stand.

My son is 8, mental age of about half that. Communicates with sign language and some speech. In an emergency he would not be able to understand cabin crew verbal directions and will need to be directed by me and as I understand it the objection to ear defenders is that the needs to be able to hear the instructions (which he cannot understand Enron if he could hear them). He has a hearing sensitivity and is much happier on takeoff if he wears ear defenders ( over the ear kind) and the gentle pressure the exert helps to calm him.

Is there an official position on this? Some documentation that the cabin crew can accept to avoid my having to negotiate this every time?

Thanks in advance.

Last edited by monoceros; 26th May 2012 at 13:46.
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Old 26th May 2012, 15:58
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You can buy ear defenders and that would save you having to get them supplied.
Regarding being allowed to let him wear them, possibly a doctors note of some sort to carry with you. However, I would do my very best to email the relevant company and print out their response, if you can, get them to duplicate the response in the local language.
Show that to the FAs.

Good luck
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Old 26th May 2012, 16:14
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As I read it the problem is not the onboard supply of ear defenders, more a case of the CC not allowing the child to use them for t/o and landing so that he can hear (although not understand) instructions or the safety brief.

That said, redsnail's advice on printing out airline responses sounds the way to go.
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Old 26th May 2012, 17:42
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Doctor's letter on suitable headed notepaper might be another (small) part of the answer?

Getting a seat away from the CC so that, once taxying, you can put the ear defenders on him with ease?

Having your son' situation translated into Italian and also printed out? That helps save the language problem.
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Old 27th May 2012, 15:24
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So Paxboy you would advicate not conforming to cabin crew members requests?
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Old 27th May 2012, 16:04
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Deben: Stereo Electronic Hearing Protection


And tell them its a hearing aid. And turn the volume down on both ears if you like.
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Old 28th May 2012, 01:27
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marlowe IF I had:
  1. Notifed the airline of the request and the reasons for it (and in a way that proved that they had received it even if they did not reply)
  2. Brought other proof of the situation with me
  3. Secured seats as near as possible to an exit, in order to help my child in an emergency (presuming that the nearest exit was available)
  4. Allowed the extra time for any discussions with the crew on entering the aircraft
  5. The Cabin crew did not accept the paperwork
  6. The Cabin crew did not accept the situation
  7. The Cabin crew insisted the child be seated without the ear defenders
Yes.
Why? Because the safety and comfort of all the pax and the CC would benefit. In my experience, parents of children who need special support have to make these kind of decisions almost every day and they know the tolerances.

I am well aware of the legal obligations of the Flight and Cabin crew and, in this forum (all those tediously large number of posts that I have made ) this is the first time I have said that I could see a reason for not obeying the orders. So I have thought about this and do not expect to make another variation to my creed in the near future!

I have myself helped to scure the seat belt around a four year old child that was SCREAMING against it, otherwise the cabin would not be secured for landing!! I put up with a mother who had clearly spoilt her child and made sure that the child was belted up without, somehow, belting the brat.

I have myself used the call bell during taxi out as the pax next to me had a broken seat belt and did not know what to do. The CC were already in their seats so could not see that the cabin was now insecure.

So I like to think that I take the subject seriously!
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Old 28th May 2012, 08:54
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Well Paxboy it really doesnt matter how much paperwork you may have assembled to argue your case, on the day it still comes down to the in charge and ultimately the captain as to how they wish to proceed? You have stated that you would not follow a lawful request from the crew, so can i presume that if the captain decided to offload you, you would be ok with this ?
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Old 28th May 2012, 08:58
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Marlowe just got back to sleep where ever that is and try to be a little more intelligent.

Last edited by GANNET FAN; 28th May 2012 at 09:00.
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Old 28th May 2012, 09:25
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I'm off to LAX - Can we all play nicely for the next 24 hours or so please?
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Old 28th May 2012, 10:34
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ok mum we promise
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Old 28th May 2012, 13:10
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It is a funny situation. They tell you to turn off ALL electronic equipment. ALL should include hearing aids, pacemakers, neural stimulators, diabetic insulin pumps, sphincter controllers etc.

So turn off the hearing aid and cabin crew instructions cannot be heard - but the PAX has followed instructions!

And of course nobody follows those instructions to the letter - even if, with some implants, it was possible.

So, NO, you cannot always strictly follow CC instructions. Now OK, you could say that because of that, the PAX with the fittings will be deplaned. I suspect the resultant court case and the newspapers (especially in the US with the ADA act) would lead to the usual interview without tea and biccies.....
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Old 28th May 2012, 18:41
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Gannet did you get out of bed wrong side this morning ? The point is you cant just abide by the rules you want to and ignore the ones you feel dont apply, or you just want to ignore, but i guess thats society these days or maybe European politics !
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Old 28th May 2012, 21:19
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The problem with these kind of discussions is that blind adherence to rules written for the majority are assumed to have universal applicability and to prevail over common sense.

Do what the man said. Don't say anything, sit him out of the way, put the headphones on when the crew are seated. No-one will be any the wiser.

The mistake is to draw their attention to it. Sometimes you have to protect those in authority from themselves.

Last edited by SLF3; 28th May 2012 at 21:21.
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Old 28th May 2012, 22:13
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Knowing a little about learning difficulties, I'd say take a doctors note and as much information as you can.

Aural sensitivity is no fun, I have it when it comes to very loud, sudden noises. Bonfire night is no fun for me and I use the squishy in ear ear defenders to ease the noise. I can still hear speech, and I would assume this is the case with the over the ear kind of ear defenders.

As a passenger, I'd rather have a calm, happy child on a flight, than a child who might possibly become aggressive due to overstimulation (no idea if that's true of your son OP, but it is the case for some, I think).

BUT, I can see the crew perspective too. If it were me, I'd try and phone someone, or use an airline where I know this wouldn't be a problem.

PS: Most ear defenders, to my knowledge, aren't electrical.
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Old 29th May 2012, 00:14
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Thumbs up

marlowe I'm not going to answer what I would do - because this is a theoretical problem for me. So I cannot know what I would do. My guess, is that I would do what I said. However, I do not have children at all and so have the freedom to consider the almost limitless permutations here, rather than real life.

In my work, I meet many people with restrictions of their body or brain and those caring for them. I see the myriad nuances and instant change of mood/direction that can occur. CC cannot be expected to know or understand and I do sympathise with them when they see a pax doing the opposite of instructions - in order to maintain calm. But that's humans!

I think that SLF3's point about the broad swathe of applicability is a good one. Bear in mind that many of these rules have their origins more than 50 years ago. At that time, people with restrictions simply did not travel. Further, the reductions in time allowed by the carrier for processing pax (both ground and on boarding) has been reduced.

The ramifications of this are visible in many PPRuNe threads and the main media - people who 'run amok', get drunk, get ill - or are drunk/ill before they board but have hidden it, etc. Many of THEM do not have loving parents alongside to watch out for them and protect the rest of us.

So, YES, this is a terribly difficult subject as a hypothetical and very thorny for monoceros and family. To whom, I wish a pleasant flight and a rewarding time at destination.

By the way monoceros, I've only just noted that you are new here in our 'cabin'. You are welcome and I hope that you can give feedback of what happens on this trip, as others searching the threads in time ahead can then benefit.

Our Moderator Tight Slot works as cabin crew for a long haul company of repute and - for the most part - we do play nicely in here!!

Last edited by PAXboy; 29th May 2012 at 00:18.
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Old 29th May 2012, 08:27
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safety instructions are a broad brush

to try to cover every eventuality, and as PaxBoy points out so well, the application of the safety instructions are best locally (ie in that seat) interpreted.

For example last SLF sector, my seat would not stay in the upright position for take off or landing, the same for another seat close to me. this was know by the CC prior to take off. using the 100% rule the flight should have returned to the gate, and either the seat repaired, of the 2 pax off loaded.......
On a recent sector, there was no life jacket under my seat, it was missing....when the CC advised by me prior to push back, no action was taken to rectify this breach of safety regulations (again full flight).
In this part of the world, push back, with passengers still standing, and trying to organise their family group, is the rule rather than the exception.

So the rules are there to be observed, when practical and possible...
please do not make me turn off my internal electrics, the mess would be unacceptable...
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Old 29th May 2012, 16:12
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Sunrise in LAX and all appears normal. Thanks everybody


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Old 29th May 2012, 18:21
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Devil

Well, Gulfstreamaviator, since you agree that some rules have to be carefully decided due to local circumstances ... I guess it depends whether you (personally) are around to deal with the mess!

If, following your following of the instructions and turning off your electrics - you are no longer present - then it's someone else's problem, namely the CC!!

"Please could you turn that control box off?"
"No - you would not like the result."
"Regulations apply to everyone, equally."
"I don't think you understand..."
"TURN IT OFF!"
"I did warn you." <click>

CC to FC: "The cabin is insecure and, uummm, rather messy. Is there a contract cleaner on board?"

Hi TS, welcome back to the real world, here inside PPRuNe! [OK, I admit it, there has been too much sunshine in the last week and my brain is fried.]

Last edited by PAXboy; 29th May 2012 at 18:23.
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Old 29th May 2012, 18:56
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Originally Posted by PAXboy
Secured seats as near as possible to an exit, in order to help my child in an emergency (presuming that the nearest exit was available)
Please do not take the seats nearest the exit; it has already been stated that this pax will not readily understand the commands and will take extra time to exit, especially in an evacuation scene. You should sit midway between exits as this will get out the maximum number of other pax in the shortest time.

Yes you will be last out. That's how it is. Disabled pax I have explained this to understand perfectly the logic of it.
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