Why crash upright?

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14 years 3 months

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Why should all seats be upright on takeoff and landing? In economy, it makes sense that seatbacks recline into someone else´s escape path. But what about premium classes? The seatbacks are often fixed shells, so reclining the seat does not enter the legroom behind. The footrests might enter escape paths - not even that for the window seats - but the space is surely more spacious than in upright economy rows anyway. So, should the premium seats be upright on takeoff/landing?
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Profile picture for user rdc1000

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19 years 9 months

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I believe that some airlines allow their premium passengers to be in a slightly reclined position for T/O and Landing. It would be my guess that the main reason for being basically upright is to minimise the effects of items moving aorund the cabin in an accident, and most specifically falling items from overhead lockers. There have been a numbre of accidents over time in which falling items from the lockers have caused significant injury and in some cases death (British Midland, Kegworth). By sitting upright the person is minimising the body exposed for such items to fall upon them and cause damage. I would also guess that evacuation will be easier for the passenger if they are sat upright to begin with. In addition, most business class cabins still require passengers to pass by other seats in order to reach their own.

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Spot on explanation rdc1000. 1L.
Profile picture for user Whiskey Delta

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16 years 5 months

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I would also guess that evacuation will be easier for the passenger if they are sat upright to begin with. In addition, most business class cabins still require passengers to pass by other seats in order to reach their own.
That's the reason there. Having your seat upright isn't to help you in an evacuation but to help the folks sitting behind you. With every seat in the upright position you maximize the escape path for everyone. Putting your seat back restricts those seated behind you.
Profile picture for user Hugh Jarse

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14 years 8 months

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RDC1000 got it basically. Have you tried standing up from a recumbent position lately. It takes a 2 stage movement and a fair amount of effort. Also, if lying down, you are more likely to be asleep and therefore will react slower to an evacuation command. There is also the deceleration side of it all too. It's too easy to slide under a restraint if lying down. If you give the choice to people to have the seat upright or reclined then you scupper the people who seat back count to find the nearest exit. I do it while sitting waiting for the magic to happen. I count how many seats I will feel on my way to the nearest exit. If some were horizontal, I would have no clue. As an aside, I flew into Fairford the other day and saw an old VC10 parked there which reminded me of travelling to Washington DC years ago in one as a kid and the seats in there all being rear facing. They had them like that for the crash scenario but it never took on.

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13 years 9 months

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the other reason they are upright is that should you have to adopt the brace position, you can!....be a bit hard to put your head on your lap with the seat in front reclined.
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19 years 9 months

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Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Suite passengers are permitted by the UK CAA to take off and land in any seat position due to the fact that the seat belt contains built in airbags to protect the occupant in the event of a mishap.
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19 years 9 months

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Lufthansa let me have the seat back about 20 degress in Business for take off and landing.
Profile picture for user Arm Waver

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I should also think that, as the seat is up right, during decelleration the seat backs move forward and therfore provide added protection from debris that maybe falling from the lockers or transiting forward during this phase due to not being secured.