Back in the heyday of airplane travel, it was all about the experience - sublime service, stylish outfits, and enough room for passengers to cartwheel around if they felt so inspired. These days, it's all about cramming as many people into as many seats as possible, making sure the airlines' accounting books stay in the black.
We always complain about airplane food and argue of the window or the aisle (the latter reigns supreme on long-haul flights), though rarely do we take much notice of the actual seats themselves. Do you remember what color your last seat was the last time you flew? Or did you realize that they have hidden cameras watching your every move? When you're flying high at 37,000 feet, a seat is much more than just a seat, and that's not always a good thing...
15 If You Haven't Noticed, The Seats Are Always Blue...
Next time you step onto a plane - whether you're heading to Chile or Chattanooga - take a moment to notice the color of the seats. Nine times out of ten, each and every one of them will be some sort of shade of blue. There's a couple of reasons, one of which (according to the folks at Colour Affects) being that blue is a calming, relaxing hue.
14 ...And They're Blue For Two Specific Reasons
Aside from the blue seats' positive effects on the brain, they also do a stellar job of masking and concealing all the grime, dirt, germs, and stains. Ever noticed how bus seats are predominantly blue with wild patterns? It's the same deal - compared to a bright yellow, for example, a dark shade helps to the seats appear cleaner and, therefore, offers longevity.
13 Seats Over The Wings Experience Less Turbulence
It doesn't matter if you're a seasoned flyer galavanting around the world on your frequent flyer miles or a first-timer itching to see a new place - turbulence is never fun. Unfortunately, we can't always avoid it, but what we can do is minimize it. Studies have shown that if toward the middle of the plane, right over the wing, is where the journey will be the least bumpy.
12 The Real Reason Why Windows And Seats Don't Line Up
For those you would do anything to be next to the window, it's can be wildly disappointing when you're not actually next to a window, instead needing to crank your neck forward or back to get a glimpse of the clouds. Ever wondered why that's the case? Money, that's why. Cash-hungry airlines try to squeeze in the maximum number of seats - adding windows, on the other hand, is a little more difficult.
11 The Material Is Almost Always Fabric
If you're just sporting a tiny carry-on bag on an even tinier plane for a short-distance flight, it's certainly possible that you'll find yourself sticking to a leather seat. On most long-distance routes, however, the seat material is almost always a cloth-like fabric. Why? Simply, to allow the passengers' skin to breathe and avoid excessive sweating.
10 The Emergency Exit Seats Are Boosted With Extra Legroom...
Shoutout to all the lanky-legged people out there - there's nothing worse than being squeezed like a sardine in what feels like a millimeter of legroom. Thankfully, the exit row seats are here to save the day. In an accident, large amounts of people need to vacate the plane as quickly as possible, so for the sake of safety, there needs to be some extra room.
9 ... But Those Emergency Exit Seats Don't Usually Recline
Don't get too excited just yet - it's not all glitz and glamor in the exit rows. Aside from the often-annoying reality that you're provided with a flimsy TV screen hidden in the armrest as opposed to a seatback entertainment system, the seats don't always recline. So before you move heaven and earth to sit near an exit, think about what matters most.
8 First-Class Seats Are 70% More Than Those In Economy
For most of us, the thought of sailing through the skies with incredible first-class amenities like a glass of champagne in one hand and a freshly-baked cookie in the other is but a far-off dream. For those with pockets deep enough to afford a first-class ticket, it's a reality. Is the 70% hike in cost really worth it though for just a few hours of luxury?
7 Can Airplane Seat Cameras Really Spy On Passengers?
Singapore Airlines might have come out and stated that "These cameras are permanently disabled on our aircraft and cannot be activated on board,” but that doesn't mean that we necessarily believe them. That's right, Panasonic Avionics, the company that builds most of the seatback entertainment systems, DO really install cameras and biometrics equipment.
6 It's Not Just Cameras - They're Adding Microphones Too!
Aside from the existence of hidden cameras that people are quickly realizing (in sheer panic, most of the time), the seats have microphones too. Back in 2017, Panasonic Avionics announced that its systems on Emirates' First Class and Economy seats featured a camera, plus a microphone and a speaker. Isn't that just a little creepy?
5 Sometimes, There Are Infrared Sensors As Well
Cameras... microphones... speakers... it doesn't stop there! British Airways, as well as the award-winning Air New Zealand, have come out and admitted that their seatback screens are fitted with infrared sensors. The idea of anything being hidden in plane seats - let alone biometric scanners - has raised a heck of a lot of questions.
4 Sometimes, Airlines Remove 'Row 13' Of Seats
When you're taking note of the color of the seats next time you board, be sure to count the row numbers as well. Depending on which airline you're flying with (Lufthansa is a perfect example), they may have omitted row number 13. Yes, it's exactly what you're thinking: the result of the widespread superstition that 13 is wickedly unlucky.
3 Seats At The Back Are Safest
If you want luxury, sit at the front (and pay up). If you want the smoothest ride, then sit over the wings in the middle of the plane. But if you want the highest chance of survival when everything hits the fan, then plonk yourself down at the back of the plane. According to Business Insider, "data from past crashes and crash tests shows that the back of the plane is probably safest."
2 Some Flight Attendants Sit Backwards
The image of a flight attendant sitting backward seems a little weird, doesn't it? As a regular flier, wouldn't you expect them to be facing forward like the rest of us? It comes down to space. Since the cabin crew is usually on their feet, the retractable, back-facing jumpseats can be stowed when not in use, allowing more room for passengers to stretch their legs.
1 What's With The Cloth On Top Of The Seat?
Next up on things you never noticed on planes but won't be able to avoid seeing next time you fly to Disneyland, the humble seat cloth! These thin pieces of fabric act as a barrier between the passengers' heads and the seat itself, and with correct cleaning, reduce the chances of transmitting any germs (cause you can't just put an entire seat through the washing machine, can you?).