Seats in Full Upright Position

Q: Why is it required to have the seatbacks in their “full upright position” for takeoff and landing?

For one thing, it allows easier access to the aisles in the event of an evacuation. Also, it keeps your body in the safest position during an impact: it reduces the distance your head would travel backward, thus lessening whiplash-style injuries, and prevents you from “submarining” under the seatbelt in a crash.


This article is part of a collection that originally appeared on Salon.com. Patrick Smith, 38, is an erstwhile airline pilot, retired punk rocker and air travel columnist. His book, Ask the Pilot (Riverhead) was voted “Best Travel Book of 2004” by Amazon.com. Patrick has traveled to more than 55 countries and always asks for a window seat. He lives near Boston.