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The Nation

Handicapped people or others who could impede escape from an airliner would not be allowed to sit in rows next to emergency exit doors under a rule proposed by the Federal Aviation Administration. The Air Transportation Assn., which represents airlines, said the rule is needed to provide uniform procedures. But Mark Maurer, president of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “This proposal is both silly and discriminatory, and we’ll resist it.” Maurer, a former attorney with the now defunct Civil Aeronautics Board, said in some situations--a smoke-filled or darkened aircraft, for example--a blind person might be the best one to have at the exit door because he or she would be accustomed to the dark.


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