Why don't passenger seats on aircraft face backwards?

Wednesday 22nd July 2009
Submitted by Gareth Mitchell
Billy Doyle, by email

Air crash investigators have found that flight stewards in rear-facing seats have suffered less severe injuries in accidents than forward-facing passengers. This is because the energy from the body as it decelerates rapidly in a crash is dispersed evenly through the seatback, rather than concentrated on the seatbelt, which cuts into a person facing forward. Although rear-facing seats are probably safer, airlines have resisted them, largely because they fear passengers will find the idea unacceptable. British Airways has installed rear-facing seats in its Club World cabins; Southwest Airlines in the US experimented with the idea in economy class, but reverted to conventional forward-facing seats.

What's the sharpest object ever created?
previous qanda Article
How do search engines find results so quickly?
next qanda Article
Q&A Tabs

Trees release oxygen when they use energy from sunlight to make glucose from carbon dioxide and water. Like all plants, trees also use oxygen when they split glucose back down to release energy to...

 Certain types of fig are male and female and so require a special breed of wasp to pollinate the females. The...

Astronomer Fred Hoyle was the first to point out that if you could drive a car upwards at 95km/h (60mph), it would only take about an hour to get into space. To get to the Moon would take a little...

All of it! Every neuron in the brain is continually active, even if firing only slowly. Neurons that stop responding die. Even so, many people seem to believe that we use only part of our brain....

Icebergs are notorious for keeping around 90 per cent of their bulk hidden beneath the surface of the sea. While this makes them far more dangerous to shipping than they appear, it does mean they...

All female mammals have a clitoris, the sole purpose of which is to react to sexual stimulation, and presumably this stimulation has evolved to be pleasurable for most species. But establishing...

To create a sound, we have to set matter - whether it's a gas like air, a liquid or even a solid material - in regular motion, creating a wave of specific frequencies, which we hear as a sound of...

Mirrors don’t reverse left and right either – that’s just our interpretation of what happens. Your reflection in the mirror is actually reversed front to back – if you have...

Discovered by an American student named Gary Flandro in the mid-1960s, the slingshot manoeuvre usually involves spacecraft briefly 'coat-tailing' a planet orbiting the Sun, extracting some of the...

The ice disappears because the wind blows away water molecules that have evaporated or 'sublimed' from the ice, so the ice slowly shrinks in size. The molecules that escape are those with the...

We use cookies to improve your experience of our website. Cookies perform functions like recognising you each time you visit and delivering advertising messages that are relevant to you. Read more here