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Home > Air Safety > Where is the best and safest seat in the airplane?
Where is the best and safest seat in the airplane?
Aviation - Air Safety
Thursday, 06 December 2007 19:45

Comfort for seating in airplanes in terms of width and legroom varies from one to the other or even on the same plane. (Passengers are getting more concerned about legroom today due to the DVT scare.) The best seats are found in the first class. They are usually at least 22 inches wide with between 60 to 90 inches of legroom. Business class passengers enjoy only 45 to 50 inches of legroom whereas the economy or coach section’s seat width is 17 to 18 inches and its legroom is crammed to between 31 to 34 inches depending on whether it is on an International or domestic sector.

Whilst there are better seats, there are also seats that one should only choose as a last resort, especially those near the toilets and galley. Choose an aisle seat a few rows from the toilets as the crowd waiting to use them becomes very heavy especially after a meal or about an hour prior to landing.

Seats near the rear of the airplane tend to be a little noisier and the effects of turbulence are more pronounced than those near to the front. The other disadvantage is that, these passengers are the last to get off the plane. If you are in a hurry, you may miss your connecting flight!

Where is the safest seat then? Theoretically speaking, the safest seat is one that is facing to the back of the aircraft. Why is it so? A backward facing seat gives better protection to a passenger in the event of an impact because of the back cushioning effect on the body. However this is not proven in a major impact! Despite its safety argument, you can almost never find one today in any airlines except in some VIP, military or executive jets. The reason is that, such backward facing seats do not appeal to the fare paying passengers. So, generally most consumers would prefer a seat that is forward facing.

Practically, there is no solid evidence to point to any specific area of the airplane that is safer than the other. Some believe that it is safer to sit near the wings. Conventional wisdom has sometimes influenced safety experts to conclude that sitting at the rear of the airplane provides a higher survival rate in the event of a crash. This is one of the reasons why the black boxes are always installed at the tail portion of the airplane.

However, I would caution to say that the safest seat during an emergency evacuation is probably one near the aisle and emergency exits. Speed of evacuation is one of the reasons why FAA requires all airplanes to be capable of getting every passenger out within 90 seconds of a crash landing. . In real life, an emergency evacuation can be a very chaotic event with people trying to collect their precious baggage, further hampering the flow. Being nearest to the exits ensure the best guarantee of a safe evacuation. So I would like to be the first few to be out before the rush starts from the back!

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