You’re boarded your plane and gotten yourself settled. Your carry on bag is in the overhead. Your handbag is under the seat in front of you. You’ve Purelled EVERYTHING. You’re ready to go.
You’ve been on the plane for hours. You’ve enjoyed your Stroopwaffels. You drank your whole can of Diet Coke and subsequently used the lavatory (hopefully it wasn’t this one – what a view?!?!) If you’re on a Delta flight, you’ve maybe meditated with Peloton (did you hear about THAT?). You’re just ready to be DONE and OFF THE PLANE.
Either way, you suddenly hear this part of the flight attendant’s announcement:
“…Please place seat backs and tray tables in their full upright position…”
The tray tables would make sense…everything on them could become projectiles in the event of an emergency. When they’re down, they also make it virtually impossible to leave your seat (also needed for an emergency evacuation situation).
But what’s up with keeping the seat back all the way up? Turns out there are a couple of reasons:
Even though you’re only allowed to “lay back” a couple of inches in any seat except the mondo expensive ones, you’re still going into the space of the person behind you (whether they like it or not. Remember this lady? LOLOL!). During an emergency situation where you have to leave your seat, anything encroaching that space, even just by a couple of inches, will make it that much more difficult. If the plane is crashing, no one wants to slow down an evacuation to navigate around a reclined seat.
Upright = locked
When your seat is up, it’s locked. When your seat is reclined, it’s not locked. In the event of an emergency, an unlocked seat would have more force during impact, and the thrusting forward of the seat could cause passenger injury.
It’s sort of like a catapult – the further back your seat is reclined, the larger distance your head would wind up traveling during an impact (and thus more force generated). Even if it’s only a couple of inches, it’d be enough to potentially cause whiplash.
We’ve said it a bajillion times; a flight attendant’s main job is to keep their passengers safe and to do what needs to be done in the event of an emergency. Sometimes that emergency requires seeing outside the plane – is the wing on fire? Is the engine intact? If everyone’s seat is upright, it’s easier for the FAs to see out the window.
And that’s why. 🙂
Feature Photo: Hippopx
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