Why are airline seatbelts lap-belt only?

I heard someone say once that it was because all the FAA and the airlines really care about is finding your wallet so they can identify you.

I’ve flown on one of those military VC10s on a test flight being put through its paces. I didn’t have any nausea problems. I think the biggest problem would be overcoming passenger resistance to change as you say.
If the case for better protection hasn’t been made (according to the above link) then it’s not going to happen.
Perhaps using air bags might be a better idea.

Same problem as with three point harnesses. You’re going to lose the tray table. Yes, it could be replaced by one in the arm rest, but they cost $$

If your 767 augers into a cornfield in Nebraska, folks, it doesn’t matter a whole hell of a lot what kind of seatbelt you’re wearing.

Cisco had it right; their main purpose is keeping you seated during turbulence.

There’s also the point that the safety record of scheduled airlines is already pretty good using lap belts only, and the number of additional lives that shoulder belts would save is not obviously very high. Put another way, if there was a widespread public perception that many lives could be saved by adding shoulder belts, the resistance to them would doubtless be a lot less.

The harness you’re talking about may save lives in the crash of a Cessna at 120 mph, but will not save lives when a 767 spirals in at 450 mph.

I don’t think the parents are being completely illogical. There are plenty of other reasons for not wanting to fly with kids (it’s expensive, it annoys the other passengers if the kid is too noisy, you can’t stop and get a bite to eat whenever you want, the kid will get impatient, etc.) and comparing the odds of a car crash (close to zero) to the odds of a plane crash (very close to zero) is not going to sway the decision that much.

Perhaps more of them would fly, if they looked at the statistics. But even if they didn’t, there would be some rationality to their choices.

When I’ve flown on USAF MAC (Military Airlift Command) C-141 flights, the seats always faced the rear of the aircraft. Nobody asked the passengers for their opinion. It didn’t bother me.

1964, MAT, DC-6, Piston engines, { C-118 or 121, I forget what they called it } rear facing seats, across the Pacific, 33½ hours, I stood up the whole way, I don’t do backwards well.

( 3 fuel stops so I got to relax and a few hours they let me on the flight deck. )

C-124 Globemaster - sitting sideways … Lots of rivets, real loose formation…

Yeah, actually I can imagine the recertification headache. It’s still possible, just not probable

Airlines were quite happy (apparently) to get permission to mount little TV screens in seat backs (and that certainly took some paperwork) but then they thought they’d get a return from their investment.

Couple points:

First of all, it is possible to get a small Cessna up near 275-300 mph prior to impact. Not advised, but it’s possible, at which point no seatbelt is going to help you. However, that is NOT the typical “impact mode” of a small Cessna.

Which brings me to point number two. The purpose of that seatbelt is not to help you if the airplane flies into the side of a mountain at 500 mph because there’s no way any seatbelt or harness is going to help you then. It’s to aid survival in less extreme accidents, which, by the way, do occur. Such as that jet in Toronto that slid off a runway earlier this year. Or the Sioux City, Iowa crash where the airplane cartwheeled after touchdown - about 2/3 of the passengers survived and I think seatbelts might have been a factor in some cases there.

Sorry if I wasn’t entirely clear - the source of that “if we make parents by seats for infants they’ll drive instead and a greater number of children will be hurt/killed that way” is a paraphrase of the reason the FAA decided not to require child seats on passenger airplanes. It did not factor in noise levels, food availability, impatience, or anything else, it was an “all else being equal” comparison. The FAA decision was made with an eye to increasing overall travel safety. Apparently, the reasoning is that in a car you put the kid in a special seat and restraints, and in an airplane you rely on not crashing.

Well, it figures - the weekend after this thread is started is the very first time I get attacked by an airplane seat belt! Thanks a lot, everyone!

And no, it wasn’t a four-point harness, it was a stupid lap-and-shoulder belt what ambushed me.

It is possible to survive a catastrophic crash. One example is a Korean Airlines 747 that crashed in Guam in 1997. There were 26 survivors - I don’t know if they were wearing their seatbelts or not.


Really. The last time I flew, the instructions for passengers in the emergency exit row went something like this:

Oh yes, and one last thing

Yes, they certainly do. Getting an exit row seat is the next best thing to being bumped up a class. Everybody wants those ‘not quite as cramped as all the other people who paid the same price as me’ seats and the airline employees have heard every reason that the collective ingeniuety of hundreds of thousands of travellers can concieve as to why exactly they should give them to a particular passenger. Which is why they tend to go on a first-come first-served basis…

Regardless of how securely you’re strapped into the seat, how securely is the seat attached to the plane?

If you had taken the trouble to read the post immediately before your post you would see one reason for your statement to be untrue.

The seats are attached to two rails which are bolted to the cabin floor. Because the seats have sometimes to be moved for different cofigurations it’s possible on rare occasions for the seat by mistake not have been securely attached to the rail. I’ve seen that happen only once in many years.

And if you had taken the trouble to read the text you quoted you would have seen I used the qualifier ‘tend’. Is this word new to you? I sometimes use it to indicate a general situation which may or may not be true depending on circumstances, but generally is.

“Emergency exit seats are usually allocated on a first-come first-served basis, unless the airline staff have someone they wish to give preference to (such as a high-mileage frequent flier, someone who is unusually tall and would find the normal seats a challenge, someone who has been particularly nice to them) and provided the passenger meets the physical and legal requirements required to occupy the seat (viz. to be an adult and able-bodied to such an extent they would have no more difficulty opening the door than an average person).” That sufficiently prolix for you?

:mad: I’m not normally this crabby, but had a bout of insommnia last night. I need a hug and 10 hours sleep.

It’s nothing to do with what airlines “tend” to do, there are regulations about passengers and safety exits.
For example:

(b) No certificate holder may seat a person in a seat affected by this section if the certificate holder determines that it is likely that the person would be unable to perform one or more of the applicable functions listed in paragraph (d) of this section because –

(1) The person lacks sufficient mobility, strength, or dexterity in both arms and hands, and both legs:

(i) To reach upward, sideways, and downward to the location of emergency exit and exit-slide operating mechanisms;

(ii) To grasp and push, pull, turn, or otherwise manipulate those mechanisms;

(iii) To push, shove, pull, or otherwise open emergency exits;

(iv) To lift out, hold, deposit on nearby seats, or maneuver over the seatbacks to the next row objects the size and weight of over-wing window exit doors;

(v) To remove obstructions similar in size and weight to over-wing exit doors;

(vi) To reach the emergency exit expeditiously;

(vii) To maintain balance while removing obstructions;

(viii) To exit expeditiously;

(ix) To stabilize an escape slide after deployment; or

(x) To assist others in getting off an escape slide;

(2) The person is less than 15 years of age or lacks the capacity to perform one or more of the applicable functions listed in paragraph (d) of this section without the assistance of an adult companion, parent, or other relative;

(3) The person lacks the ability to read and understand instructions required by this section and related to emergency evacuation provided by the certificate holder in printed or graphic form or the ability to understand oral crew commands.

(4) The person lacks sufficient visual capacity to perform one or more of the applicable functions in paragraph (d) of this section without the assistance of visual aids beyond contact lenses or eyeglasses;

(5) The person lacks sufficient aural capacity to hear and understand instructions shouted by flight attendants, without assistance beyond a hearing aid;

(6) The person lacks the ability adequately to impart information orally to other passengers; or,

You can find the rest of the regulations via the link

Federal Aviation Regulations