Landing while sleeping?

Reply

Old Feb 16, 19, 1:17 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Mountain View, California, USA
Programs: Dividend Miles
Posts: 42
Question Landing while sleeping?

I had an unexpected experience recently. I was on a UA transcon in business (777-200 w/ the 2-2 setup). I was exhausted from a long international trip. I put the seat flat and fell asleep about halfway through the flight. I woke up, surprisingly, when the plane hit the ground.

Does anyone know if it is policy that lie-flat seats can stay flat during landing? If so, why? I thought the idea was that landing is risky and you want to have everyone ready to brace.

Sincerely,
​​​
A recent AA -> UA convert
EverywhereHome is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Feb 16, 19, 1:46 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: NYC
Programs: AA PLT, VS Silver, EY Silver
Posts: 788
I'm sure its not a policy but I've had many instances where UA FA's don't check for seat backs upright, windows up, seat belts etc. before landing. I've had one ocassion on UA where 3 attendants were standing in galley when we touched down and a passenger was in the toilet. I like BA in this regard as they make sure 20 minutes before landing cabin is ready and its consistent across many flights with them.
BearX220 likes this.
Acid is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Feb 16, 19, 2:02 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: SNA
Programs: UA 1k, 2.5mm, Hilton LTD, SPG LT Gold, Marriott Gold, Hertz Whatever
Posts: 97
Originally Posted by EverywhereHome View Post
I had an unexpected experience recently. I was on a UA transcon in business (777-200 w/ the 2-2 setup). I was exhausted from a long international trip. I put the seat flat and fell asleep about halfway through the flight. I woke up, surprisingly, when the plane hit the ground.

Does anyone know if it is policy that lie-flat seats can stay flat during landing? If so, why? I thought the idea was that landing is risky and you want to have everyone ready to brace.

Sincerely,
​​​
A recent AA -> UA convert

I've never had a bad flight in my life so the chances of the landing being worse than the actual flight are somewhat slim. Yes, it's policy to have everybody strapped in for landing but I doubt there are more landing prevented seatbelt injuries than there are in air ones. Seriously, if it's a landing related one, it's likely a seriously bad situation and the seat position will likely not make that much of a difference.
luke5111 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Feb 16, 19, 2:28 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: Seattle, WA
Programs: Delta Diamond, United 1K, Platinum Premier Elite with Ambassador, Hyatt Globalist
Posts: 17
I can guarantee that's not policy and someone dropped the ball by doing that. Being upright in your seat is a safety aspect for if you were in an emergency or the plane unexpectedly crashed on landing you're in the safest position and able to quickly move to the exits.
seatacpilot is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Feb 16, 19, 3:35 am
  #5  
Marriott Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 393
Someone messed up.

Unless the cabin conditions made it unsafe to do so, pre landing checks include seat backs to their full upright position
fezzington is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Feb 16, 19, 5:48 am
  #6  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: ORD/MDW
Programs: AA, HH, MR elite. Fly mostly AA/WN/B6.
Posts: 18,651
I was aboard an AA regional flight a couple of months ago where the pilots made no prepare-for-landing announcement, there was no double-ding on final, no cabin announcement live or recorded, in fact the FA was in the aisle picking up trash and gabbing with passengers until I waved at her and said, hey, judging from the view out the window, we're about fifteen seconds from the piano keys. She made a run for the rearward jumpseat and was not quite buckled in when we touched down. On that flight nobody, flight deck or FA, was paying any attention to safety regs at all. It happens.
FlyingNone and delpiero223 like this.
BearX220 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Feb 16, 19, 6:22 am
  #7  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: Buffalo, but live from suitcase
Programs: Delta, AA, Marriott
Posts: 240
On Virigin they will put your seat down prior to takeoff and I have taken off many times asleep. Am usually awake for landing for last minute coffee.
Gadot is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Feb 16, 19, 6:22 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: CT USA
Posts: 2,529
Always remember they are there for your safety
JumboJet is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Feb 16, 19, 7:38 am
  #9  
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Navajo Nation, Northern Arizona
Programs: ex-Con *Gold (earned)
Posts: 8,501
Originally Posted by seatacpilot View Post
I can guarantee that's not policy and someone dropped the ball by doing that. Being upright in your seat is a safety aspect for if you were in an emergency or the plane unexpectedly crashed on landing you're in the safest position and able to quickly move to the exits.
Well, OP did say that s/he was awakened “when the plane hit the ground”.

I have the ability to fall asleep even when the seat is “upright” and have slept through numerous takeoffs, landings and once an entire flight.
kale73 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Feb 16, 19, 9:05 am
  #10  
 
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 8,747
If OP's seat was not in the landing position during landing, then the FA has messed up big time. I think if documented, this is a safety violation and UA can be fined.

The wild variation in the takeoff/landing cabin safety check is not good. I find probably 20% of the FAs do it thoroughly (especially with devices plugged in and things behind the legs) and the rest are all over the place.

This is one of these things that until something bad happens (including if UA is fined big time), nothing is going to change. FAs really don't want to make passengers do things since some of the passengers are just too ignorant and "cool" to follow rules.
username is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Feb 16, 19, 9:17 am
  #11  
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: SFO
Programs: UA 1K
Posts: 103
A few months back there was a family traveling together in Polaris on the 77W. The father spent almost the entire 15 hour flight standing in the isle talking to his wife/playing with his young kids. I found the entire thing extremely distracting since I was seated directly across from them. The FAís were annoyed because he was constantly blocking the isle.

A few minutes from touchdown was the first time during the entire flight he wasnít standing up. When I looked over I realized he wasnít even in his seat. 5 seconds to touchdown he pops out of the lavatory and starts walking to his seat as we land.

The FA was obviously not happy and ended up having a chat with him while taxiing to the gate but Iím not sure what was said. Not having the cabin prepared definitely falls on the FAís even when you get those passengers who make their job difficult.
WakeTurbulence is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Feb 16, 19, 10:13 am
  #12  
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Programs: United Gold, BA Exec Club, Via Rail
Posts: 2,798
I thought it was considered a courtesy for FAs to leave you alone in your lie flat whilst sleeping (even if landing). Especially given how short the domestic trans-cons and TATL puddle jumpers are these days surely you want to maximize your sleep!

So long as you're strapped in what's the worse that can happen? Those seats are certified by the FAA to be safe in any configuration so long as you're using the provided safety belts (i.e. three point seat belt with airbag). While it is true that most emergency situations occur during take off and landing, there still must be safety built in when the airplane is at 40,000 feet and hits, say, extremely violent turbulence or requires a rapid descent (i.e. due to aircraft depressurization).

-James
j2simpso is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Feb 16, 19, 10:23 am
  #13  
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Houston
Programs: UA 1K and Million Miler, *A Gold, Marriott Bonvoy Lifetime Titanium, Hertz Five Star,
Posts: 690
Depending on configuration an aisle seat in lie flat mode blocks egress for window pax.
Collierkr is online now  
Reply With Quote
Old Feb 16, 19, 10:31 am
  #14  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: BOS<>NYC<>BKK
Programs: UA 4MM LT-GS; AA1MM; Amtrak S+; MAR LT TITAN; PC Plat; HIL DIA; HYA GLOB
Posts: 3,714
Originally Posted by j2simpso View Post
I thought it was considered a courtesy for FAs to leave you alone in your lie flat whilst sleeping (even if landing). Especially given how short the domestic trans-cons and TATL puddle jumpers are these days surely you want to maximize your sleep!

So long as you're strapped in what's the worse that can happen? Those seats are certified by the FAA to be safe in any configuration so long as you're using the provided safety belts (i.e. three point seat belt with airbag). While it is true that most emergency situations occur during take off and landing, there still must be safety built in when the airplane is at 40,000 feet and hits, say, extremely violent turbulence or requires a rapid descent (i.e. due to aircraft depressurization).

-James
FAA requires seats to be in the "upright position" without exception. It's to ensure easy egress in case of emergency. You'd think there could be exceptions if there's no one next to you or you are in the rear row, but it's tough to write strict rules for exceptions. So there are none.

(e) Except as provided in paragraphs (e)(1) through (e)(3) of this section, no certificate holder may take off or land an airplane unless each passenger seat back is in the upright position. Each passenger shall comply with instructions given by a crewmember in compliance with this paragraph.

Last edited by wxguy; Feb 16, 19 at 10:42 am
wxguy is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Feb 16, 19, 10:44 am
  #15  
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Programs: United Gold, BA Exec Club, Via Rail
Posts: 2,798
Originally Posted by wxguy View Post
FAA requires seats to be in the "upright position" without exception. It's to ensure easy egress in case of emergency. You'd think there could be exceptions if there's no one next to you or you are in the rear row, but it's tough to write strict rules for exceptions. So there are none.
Interesting! Didn't realize there was a rule on this very thing. Out of curiosity what would happen if the lie flat seat were to malfunction and is unable to get into its fully upright locked position (and there were no other seats available)? I'm guessing the FAA would let it "slide" provided the faulty seat is fixed/blocked off?

-James
j2simpso is offline  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Search this Thread