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I spoke this morning with the relevant authorities of the country of registration of the airline. I was surprised to hear they have received similar reports from passengers on a number of airlines, as other posters above have stated this situation is the result of on-line check in systems where the first time passengers are seen is at the gate. I will update readers here when I get a response.

For reference the regulations from ICAO are as follows:

Be of a certain minimum age, ranging from 12 to 18 depending on the airline’s policies and/or local law.

Not be traveling with anyone requiring special assistance in an emergency (such as an infant or person with a disability), or an animal (including service animals)

Have no physical or mental impairment that would hinder quickly reaching and operating the emergency exit.

Speak and read the national language of the airline’s home country (e.g. English on Qantas or German on Lufthansa, etc.)

Not use a seatbelt extension.

Be able to lift 27 kg/60 lb (for window exits only)

I have also written to the airline via their website but have yet to receive a response beyond the standard, “thank you for your communication’ reply.