Unveiling The Fascinating Reason For Airplane Seats Being Upright During Takeoff and Landing

For a number of reasons, it’s important that airplane seats remain upright when taking off and landing. Seats in the upright position are in a good posture, and their seatbelts are fastened. If there is any turbulence, or a sudden deceleration of the aircraft, sitting upright helps to keep passengers seated securely, and reduces the risk of injuries. Seating alignment is important to ensure that passengers can easily access emergency exits. This allows for a quick evacuation in the event of an emergency.

Second, upright seats allow for better communication between passengers and flight crew. During critical phases such as landing and takeoff, pilots and flight attendants need to have a clear sight line to monitor the cabin and look for any possible hazards. Seats in the upright position make it easier to hear and see passengers. This improves communication and helps crews address any problems quickly. In addition, keeping seats upright helps maintain cabin integrity in case of an accident, minimizing the chance of seats collapsing, and further ensuring the safety of passengers.

You are a frequent flyer, so you already know the routine. As your plane begins its final approach, flight attendants will walk through the aisles making sure seats are in the upright position — even if you’re fast asleep. But why is it necessary to place your seat in the upright position for takeoff or landing? Technically, this is the law.

The reason why you need to keep your seat upright when taking off and landing

Image Credit: Long Zhao/Pexels

According to part 121 of the US Code of Federal Regulations, “no [air carrier] Take off or land airplane “Unless each passenger seat is in its upright position.”

This seemingly small task has been written into federal legislation for a simple reason: safety. “In the upright position, the seat is locked and most robust to withstand any force from a potential impact,” Hans Mast is a former pilot and now a travel agent at Golden Rule Travel. The seat can be thrown forward by a sudden stop when it is reclining. Acceleration could cause the seat backwards. “The airplane’s inertia can change the seatback’s angle, which potentially can crush the knees of the passenger who is sitting directly behind that seat,” Former pilot Dan Bubb is a professor of the University of Nevada. Las Vegas. (This is a great reminder to always use your seat belt, too.

“It also ensures that the path to the aisle remains as unobstructed as possible, facilitating a more efficient evacuation if necessary,” Mast adds. This is why the seats near emergency exits only recline to a limited extent. In an emergency, a person sitting in the seat may forget to raise the seat or not be able to do so. “If a seat is reclined, it could slow down the person in the seat behind trying to exit during an emergency,” Steve Daniel, a flight attendant from Montreal. In an emergency, every moment counts.

The most dangerous phases of flying are takeoff and landing. According to an Airbus studyAbout 75 percent of all accidents worldwide involve Airbus In the past 20 years, aircraft accidents, fatal or not, have occurred on takeoff, landing, and approach. “Approach and landing are highly complex flight phases which place significant demands on the crew in terms of navigation, aircraft configuration changes, communication with air traffic control, congested airspace, and degraded weather conditions,” Airbus has written a study on the subject. “This combination of high workload and the increased potential for unanticipated events can create a complex interplay of contributing factors, which may lead to an accident.”

Boeing also found that the takeoff phase, climb phase, final approach phase, and landing were the most dangerous phases. Its most recent studyAccording to a report by, covering the period 2011 to 2022, 67% of fatal accidents in the world involving Boeing airplanes occurred during this phase.

During takeoff and land, you should always return your seat back to its upright position. flight attendants They will also ask that you close and lock your tray, make sure all of your bags are stored under the seat or in the overhead compartment and retract any extendable screens in flight entertainment (the ones which come out from the armrest on the bulkhead, sometimes even the exit row). This is for your safety.  “Safety is a symphony of many little things that, together, can make a huge difference,” Daniel.

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This article first appeared on Travelandleisure.com

Related: Here’s When It’s Acceptable To Recline Your Seat On An Airplane — And When It’s Not