Airplane seats: fully upright position?

If you don’t put your seat in a fully upright position prior to takeoff and landing, the flight crew will wait by your seat until you comply with the procedure.

Certainly, in a normal landing, it doesn’t matter at all what position your seat is in, except possibly to the person behind you.

My question is, under what circumstances is it important that your seat be in a fully upright position, and what would the consequences be if it wasn’t?

Naturally, I put my seat in the fully upright position like a good passenger, usually even without a reminder. I just want to know why I’m doing it.

A reclined seat would interfere with the ability of anyone in that row, or the row behind from exiting the plane in a timely fashion were there to be an unanticipated extra-hard landing (ie crash).

Also, a reclined seat stops the person behind you being able to get into the “brace” position.

And if you are reclined far enough a lap belt will either do you no good at all or else crack your ribs (or maybe burst your liver) while your kneecaps smash against the seat or bulkhead in front of you.

I always thought they were saying “Please return your stewardess to an upright position”.

Given higher-density packing within economy these days, the brace position has since been greatly modified. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the new position unintentionally increases stresses on neck and upper spine. It’s a whole 'nother story in first/business class.

Ahh the few questions that would not die. I asked the very OP some years back now. I wonder if its even worth searching.

I thought seat backs could actually be pushed quite a long way forwards, partly to make room for the brace position? I’m sure I’ve seen this in a video safety-announcement, possibly on a BMI Airbus.

I attempted a search, but my meager abilities yielded nothing. I wonder if they run simulated evacuations with some passengers with their seats back.

The thing that puzzles me, is that I’ve never seen a news story that shows how standard safety procedures saved lives. It’s usually either minor damage to the aircraft, everyone survives, or bodies strewn over a five mile area.

A related question:

Have those inflatable slides ever successfully been used as floatation devices in an ocean landing?

I guess I can’t get over the suspicion that those safety procedures are just smoke-blowing (like duck-and-cover for nuclear war).

Well, evacuation during a runway fire is usually quite effective. However, some insider info from my ex-airlines wife (no idea as to its veracity). Spoilered to protect the sensitive.

The brace position exists mainly to prevent passenger decapitation, thus making bodies easier to identify.

I’ve seen a list before, although I can’t find it now, of examples of each of the common safety-demo features having a very real use in actual emergencies. And I think the use of slides was not a Robinson Crusoe scenario, but for people to hang onto after a plane overshot a runway into water.

Re. jjimm’s spoiler…it seems to be a very effective way to ensure the minimal seatbelts work effectively, rather than allowing people to slip under, and also minimises the likelihood of head injuries, which would cause big big problems for a subsequent evacuation.

I was on one flight where I leaned back in the seat and it went back all on its own :eek: I wasn’t pressing the button or anything. Lord knows what would have happenned in an emergency.

The nail that stick up, gets hammered down.

Just fix your seat like a good worker bee and don’t question the system.

I’m curious as to whether anyone has ever successfully used their seat cushion as a floatation device.

Here is a story about the recent Air France landing accident.

Although the aircraft was burnt to a cinder and written off, ALL passengers and crew evacuated successfully. That is why you have your seatbacks upright, tray tables stowed and baggage either under your seat or in the overhead locker, i.e., out of the way. It is also why, in many aircraft, the passengers in the exit rows are not permitted to have any baggage under the seats.

Just reading the Accident Report on the Air France crash and noticed this:

Please, if you ever find yourself evacuating an aircraft, just leave your oh so precious hand-luggage behind. There is nothing in there worth dying for, I’m sure.

when i’m behind you and just placed my scolding hot coffee on the tray.
consequences: 2nd degree burns to my nether region and much swearing :eek:

On all the aircraft I’ve been on the tray table is not hinged with the seat back. If the guy ahead of you leans back, it is impolite because it restricts the room you have for eating, but it doesn’t dump your scolding hot coffee on your lap (I’m also interest in what airline you are flying with that is serving scalding hot coffee.)

I think the sudden horizontal motion would be enough to spill the coffee.

I don’t think I have ever had scalding hot drinks on a plane but I have had tea that was too hot to drink straight away.