Flight attendants object to Northwest exit-row pricing plan

EAGAN, Minn. (AP) - Flight attendants at Northwest Airlines are raising safety concerns about the airline's program to sell exit-row seats with extra legroom to passengers willing to pay a $15.00 fee.

The Professional Flight Attendants Association sent a letter to Northwest Chief Executive Doug Steenland calling the idea "ill conceived," alleging it degrades federal safety rules about who can sit in the exit row.

Passengers who sit in exit-rows must be at least 15 years old and be willing and able to help with the emergency evacuation of the aircraft, including opening the emergency door.

Northwest passengers who pay to reserve one of the seats online or at a kiosk check a box indicating they accept the conditions. The process has been approved by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Minnesota-based Northwest has passenger hubs in Minneapolis, Memphis and Detroit. It's the fourth-largest domestic airline and has been operating under Chapter Eleven bankruptcy protection since September.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)