Am I the only one who prefers rear facing airplane seats to forward facing ones? Is that strange?
Why rear facing airplane seats are awesome
A vast majority of airplane seats face forward, though select airlines have rear facing seats in business class. Off the top of my head, All Nippon Airways, American, British Airways, Etihad, Qatar, and United, come to mind as the airlines with these types of seats on at least some of their planes.
While many airlines are slowly phasing these out, what I consider to be the two best business class products in the world both have staggered configurations, with roughly half the seats being rear facing. Specifically, I’m talking about Qatar Airways Qsuites and All Nippon Airways “The Room.”
While I totally understand why some people don’t like these kinds of seats (especially if they’re prone to motion sickness), in this post I wanted to share three reasons I select rear facing business class seats whenever possible. In no particular order…
You get the best view
I know it’s the ultimate first world problem, but one of the downsides to sitting in business class is that you’re often so far forward that you have to turn your head more than 90 degrees in order to see the wing. I consider aviation to be a miracle, and as an avgeek I love just gazing out the window, watching the wing flex, and seeing the huge jet engine at work.
One of the awesome benefits of a rear facing business class seat is that you’re often looking right at the wing and engine without even having to turn. Seriously, what a treat to have this as your direct view for a long haul flight!
It’s better for sleeping
At cruise altitude, airplanes are typically angled up a couple of degrees, and the only time the nose will ever be fully level or pointing down is during the descent. As a result, if you recline your seat into the fully flat position in a forward facing seat, your head is actually slightly below your feet. Of course there are pillows, but rather frustratingly many airlines have very thin pillows that don’t do much for me.
Meanwhile when you have a rear facing seat, your head is naturally slightly higher than your feet. We’re talking about a minor difference here, but I find it noticeable when sleeping.
I know everyone has a different definition of fun, but personally I find it sort of exhilarating to sit backwards during takeoff and landing. Even after having flown many millions of miles, I’d like to think that I still appreciate the miracle of flight.
However, over time the excitement and sensation of takeoff and landing does diminish a bit. In many ways, flying backwards is like flying for the first time all over again. It’s such a different sensation, and sometimes I find myself giggling just a little bit during takeoff and landing (not Emirates A380 shower levels of giggling, but still giggling…).
I know some people try to avoid rear facing seats, though personally I love them. To me sitting backwards is more fun, better for sleeping, and gives you a better view. All else being equal, I’ll always choose a rear facing seat over a forward facing seat.
Anyone else love rear facing airline seats?