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Why Airplane Seats Face The Wrong Way

Why Airplane Seats Face The Wrong Way

Imagine boarding a plane only to find all the seats facing away from you. You might think there was some kind of mistake, but backward-facing airline seats are safer than forward-facing ones. They provide extra support for the head and torso. Our spines are scientifically proven to withstand more shock than our chests and front. So, why don’t airlines have the option of rear-facing seats?


  1. Research confirms that backward-facing airline seats are safer than forward-facing ones. They provide extra support for the head and torso, plus their larger size and heavier weight provide even more protection by lessening the impact when landing, or in the case of an accident. The Society of Automotive Engineers, who create safety standards in the automobile and aerospace industries explain that forward-facing seats allow the torso to move forward. This doesn’t harness the same kind of protection.

  2. Babies and toddlers are supposed to sit in rear-facing car seats until they’re at least 2 years old because it’s much safer! Statistics show that rear-facing seats reduce the risk of injury by more than 70%. This is the same argument for rear-facing airline seats. If a plane has to come to a sudden stop, such as landing, (or impact), the impact is far less intense on the passengers.

  3. It saves space! Airlines that have included backward-facing seats in their business class have been able to fit 80 more seats in the cabin. Travellers also benefited from an increased amount of space between seats overall. Up to 15% with an added 10cm of leg room. A recent pattern suggested an economy class hexagon, with alternating forward and backward facing seats.

  4. With rear-facing seats, you get to enjoy the view the entire time you fly! In business class it can be difficult to get views of the plane’s engines and wings, as they are behind you. With rear facing seats you get to enjoy the view the entire flight.

  5. Sleeping is more comfortable… Airplanes are naturally angled up a degree or two when in flight, Seats that face backward can recline into fully flat beds. When facing this direction, you head will be slightly higher than your feet, making sleeping safer and a lot more comfortable.

  6. Better amenities. Passengers aboard planes with rear-facing seats also up the ante with their food, soaps and lotions. If these seats are in business class then this might not come as a surprise. So, with all these benefits, why aren’t more airlines adopting the use of rear-facing seats?


  1. Rear-facing seats are heavier than forward-facing ones, this adds weight to the plane.

  2. Some frequent flyers who have tried the backward-facing seats say that it’s a little awkward when you ride facing other passengers.

  3. Completely replacing old seats and installing new rear-facing ones would cost a fortune.

  4. If you’re someone who struggles with vertigo or nausea, these “innovative and revolutionary” seats may not be for you.

  5. Studies undertaken on various forms of transportation show that most people choose forward-facing sets.

  6. Completely redoing seating arrangements on board would be risky and may not guarantee revenue.