Why it is safe to have backwards facing seats

Transport PNG

ll sorts of nifty innovations were unveiled at the annual Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg this week,including an ambitious plan to turn unused parts of the cargo hold into some sort of relaxation area for passengers,complete with beds, play zones for kids and a bar.
One modification wasn’t proposed,however. And – despite experts claiming it would make flying(or, at the very least, crashing) farsafer – it probably never will be. Rear facing
seats.
For more than a century, ever since the first scheduled commercial flight, passengers have – with very few exceptions – faced forwards. Butwhen sudden deceleration occurs,such as in the event of an accident or emergency landing, rear-facing seats provide far better support for the back, neck and head.
That’s why rear-facing baby car seats are now the norm. Studies have suggested that, in the event of a frontal collision at around 30mph, a rear facing seat reduces the stress inflicted on a small child’s neck from the equivalent of 200kg to around 50kg.Occasionally the issue is raised.On July 6, 2013, Asiana Airlines Flight214 crashed on its final approach to
San Francisco International Airport.
Three died and 187 were hurt, many of whom suffered spinal injuries.
This prompted commentators,including doctors who treated survivors,to suggest manufacturers consider rear-facing seats and three point seat belts. But none gave the idea any serious thought.
Dozens of new aircraft have been introduced since then – and many more are planned – all of which will stick with the standard offering.
Aircrafts with rear-facing seats
For nervous fliers hoping to improve the odds of survival in the unlikely event of a crash, take note:some planes do have rear-facing seats. Unfortunately, they will cost you a small fortune – they are found in business class (or on private jets).Premium cabins on BA, AmericanAirlines, Etihad and United something feature seats that face in both directions. And tales of motion sickness appear few and far between.
They might be safer, but that’s not why airlines have them. It’s about saving space, of course.This was the motivation too when Zodiac Aerospace – an aircraft interiors firm – patented a new seating plan in 2015 that featured a combination of rear and forward-facing seats.
The design would “increase the space available at the shoulder and arm area” – eliminating the elbow wars at 35,000 feet – but would have forced passengers to make eye contact.
It never came to fruition.
Aircraft of the past had them in economy class. The Hawker Siddeley Trident, used by BEA in the Sixties,also featured a curious configuration– half the plane facing one way and
half facing another.
And for years Southwest Airlines was known for its “lounge seating”with two rows at the front of the aircraft facing one another. It was “the most sought-after, or avoided, seats
on the plane.”
– telegraph.co.uk

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