Sleeping Across Empty Seats Could Prove Deadly

Sin or saviour?

Image Credit: Tang Ming Tung / Getty

We recently found out that changing seats before the plane has taken off is a bad idea, because it can mess with the plane’s weight distribution. But did you know there are a few other reasons not to bound over to a row of tempting looking empty seats (and lie across them), even after takeoff?

A man who claims to be an aeronautical engineer recently wrote a letter to travel publication Traveller warning: “There is no way they [passengers lying across a row of economy seats] can be properly restrained in that position.”

“In the event of a sudden updraught or downdraught, they would become a missile, endangering their own and their fellow passengers’ lives,” he said.

“Moreover, several passengers together just switching seats without obtaining permission from the flight attendant could cause a change in aircraft trim, unexpected by the pilot.”

Left Image: Passenger Shaming. Right Image: Flickr/Kent Wien

That said, there are conflicting accounts as to how bad it really is. Quora user Guarav Deshmuckh, whose profile states he has travelled to 24 countries, wrote the following, in response to the question: “On an airplane, is lying down to sleep on multiple seats allowed if those seats are otherwise empty?”

“It is actually encouraged by most of the airlines. Yes, you read it right!!”

Quora user, Guarav Deshmuckh

Mr Deshmuckh said: “The gate agents actually try to make the seat allocation in a way that its possible for passengers to get some space, especially on emptier long haul flights.”

“Also, some of my flight crew friends told me once that they encourage passengers to do so. Its good for passengers as well as crew.”

“Its just like any other activity you do on aircraft (like walking etc.) when you are not strapped in the seat,” he added.

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