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Pax seat that will not latch upright

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Pax seat that will not latch upright

Old 13th Dec 2014, 18:46
  #1 (permalink)  
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Join Date: Jul 2011
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Pax seat that will not latch upright

Guys, please be gentle, as I am not a pilot.

Today, my seat (A320, European scheduled airline, part of * Alliance) would latch in a reclined position, but not upright.

For the avoidance of doubt, when the latch from fully reclined was released, the seat back would travel between upright and fully reclined with no friction or hesitation.

I am used to seats being 'tired' and having a little movement, but this was the first time (in thousands of pax flights) that I have encountered such a situation.

The cabin crew said it was not a safety issue, which sounded somewhat strange to me, given that seats are meant to be latched upright for take off.

Can you put my mind at rest, that this was not a safety issue?
Three Thousand Rule is offline  
Old 13th Dec 2014, 22:24
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Join Date: Feb 2001
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Both airlines I worked for would not allow a passenger to be seated in a seat which did not lock upright. I am very clear on this as I had to deal with offloads.
Capetonian is offline  
Old 13th Dec 2014, 22:34
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Join Date: Apr 2004
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Crew education .....! and airline ground staff ..... seat cant be u/s because we are full.....
bvcu is offline  
Old 14th Dec 2014, 02:33
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Join Date: Mar 2012
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Yep, in our airline you can dispatch with a broken recline like this as long as it is NOT an emergency exit row seat. Obviously if we had an empty seat to put you in then you would be moved for your comfort.
Ollie Onion is offline  
Old 14th Dec 2014, 03:52
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Angel Not A Legal Opinion, But...

It depends upon where you are and what airline. To a substantial degree, airlines CAN modify the National Rules - to a degree. Good Policy? You'll have to make your own choice. In MOST situations, a dysfunctional seat (or seat-back) is considered a seat Out of Service. In some cases A crew member may use the seat, but use by a fare-paid passenger is unthinkable bu an airline that is thinking.
It is always up to the captain, but as you describe it, I doubt the s/he was informed. Please let us know (PM if necessary) in which country this flight began.
By any measure, this is a horrible practice and that INOP seat shoudl have been excluded from service, yes, even if a low priority 'tourist' family of five got bumped. With ONE dead seat, the airline could have found a suitable option, somehow. Here, or via PM, can you share more facts and details? I'd like to inquire a bit more. Thanks.
No Fly Zone is offline  
Old 14th Dec 2014, 07:55
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With my lot, if the seat is stuck in the recline position on the 320 it can't be used and the row behind it is to be blocked off as well.
That should be a no-brainer on any airline.

If I was sitting in a row behind a seat that was stuck in recline for takeoff or landing and the crew wouldn't/couldn't move me, I'd offload myself rather than fly.

Perhaps the author of post #5 could identify his carrier so we know who to avoid.
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Old 14th Dec 2014, 08:02
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SB is 100% correct, not acceptable. Seat behind, even the row behind depending on position. Egress is inhibited.
Wodrick is offline  
Old 14th Dec 2014, 08:10
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Broken recline mechanisms are expensive in terms of knock on effect. My lot apply the same rules as Smash and David's. A broken recline, as in a seat that can not be secured upright, in-ops that seat. But if it's an aisle seat it also makes the entire row behind unusable, otherwise it just the seat, the seat behind and those to the end of the row (behind). Contact them. If you are not happy with their response, drop them in it.
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Old 14th Dec 2014, 08:19
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3,000 rule - as far as I am concerned, frequent flyers like yourself are a valuable source of information regarding unusual noises, smells, procedures and broken bits. You generally know what is right and what is wrong because of your experience. I'll always listen to F-F's.

(But some F-F's do occasionally take the P regarding cabin service and upgrades, but for safety items they are very valuable)
Piltdown Man is offline  
Old 14th Dec 2014, 10:26
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Most airline seat recline is controlled by a linear hydraulic cylinder - they can normally be locked in the upright position by repositioning a large 'C' clip. This procedure takes less than 5 minutes to perform if a competent mechanic is available. The seat is considered serviceable for use by a passenger.
bcgallacher is offline  
Old 14th Dec 2014, 10:55
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On a BA 777 flight from Denver my wife was sitting in the centre seat of three. As soon as she sat down one side of the hinge collapsed and that side reclined so the seat back twisted. The CC jiggled the seat back until it seemed ok.

On take off the seat collapsed again so, as soon as the seat belt lights went off, we summoned the CC again. The third seat was occupied by a very tall man who had probably booked an aisle seat. So that we could stay together, they tried to move him to the only vacant seat which happened to be in the centre of another row but, when we pointed out his long legs, they went to extraordinary lengths to shuffle people around so that he could have an aisle seat.

We ended up in the happy situation of having three seats to ourselves. I thought that the CC handled this situation really well. I did suggest that the problem could have been solved by giving me a jump seat up front, something I used to do frequently before 9/11.
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Old 14th Dec 2014, 12:15
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Many thanks to all, for your replies.

I am going to write to the airline and ask them to state their policy for broken seats.

In the meantime, I will not book any flights with this particular company.

Not that this is relevant to safety, but I was in a paid business class seat and am a * alliance Gold card holder, not great customer service.

PS PIltdown Man, thanks for your kind comments - NB: I don't play games on service or upgrades :-)
Three Thousand Rule is offline  
Old 14th Dec 2014, 13:30
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As mentioned prior, the effect of a non-functional recline could be degree from the row behind.
If yours was the window seat, little impact as only that seat behind would be affected, not your own.
Had yours been the aisle seat, then the egress of the entire row behind is at stake, rending the town behind inoperative, in addition to the seats from your aisle seat towards the sidewall.
Different operators have differences in interpreting the impacts of the recline in these cases.
Be aware, cabin crew are (usually/sometimes) not aware of specific limitations imposed by the MEL (Master Equipment List) which lists any allowable defect items on board your aircraft. Engineers or pilots need to refer to this document to ascertain if and how the defect can be accepted prior to departure.
When faced with any equipment which is broken, please always advise cabin crew and ask them if they are aware of this, if not can they inform cabin supervisor (who usually has a bit more knowledge of contents of MEL) or in turn the pilots.
Let the pilots make the judgement call on whether to use the seat, row behind, etc, in accordance with the document available to them to refer to limitations in cabin furnishings.
In the inadvertent event something should happen during the flight they (the pilots) are ultimately responsible and thus will be held accountable should they in any subsequent investigation have been found to have failed to refer to this document and record the defect accordingly prior to departure or have it rectified depending on airline policy.
I would commend your actions for following this up with the airline involved.
Skyjob is offline  
Old 21st Dec 2014, 04:46
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Reading this sounds like the end of the world. I've bee on many flights with various airlines and bewteen my wife and I we both have had a 'dodgy' seat many times or seen others with one. Nobody seems to care. Regular thing I thought. Shame they weren't reclined all the time.
ruddman is offline  
Old 21st Dec 2014, 05:04
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Both the MMEL and Co MEL state a broken seat cannot be sold.

However when push comes to discretionary shove, as long as the seat back locks in the upright position it can legally be used for TO and landing. If it doesn't it can only be used TOPC to TOPD.

In reality such seats can be authrised to positioning crew by the capt with a full ship.
mikedreamer787 is offline  
Old 21st Dec 2014, 11:18
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From 737:
MEL 28-6-1 Recline Mechanism (If Fitted)
  • MEL Category: D
  • Number Fitted/Required: tba/0
  • Remarks and Exceptions: (M) May be inoperative and seat occupied provided seat is secured in the up-right position.
  • MEL Category: C
  • Number Fitted/Required: tba/0
  • Remarks and Exceptions: (M) May be inoperative and seat occupied provided seat is secured in the up-right position.

CDL 28-6
  • PLACARD
    As appropriate - DO NOT STOW BAGGAGE UNDER THIS SEAT or SEAT RECLINE INOP or DO NOT OCCUPY or ARM REST INOP or ELECTRICAL/ELECTRONIC SYSTEMS/COMPONENTS INOP.
  • MAINTENANCE (M)
    • SEAT INOPERATIVE SECURED IN UPRIGHT POSITION:
      Refer to the seat manufacturer’s information for securing seat in upright position.
    • SEAT INOPERATIVE OTHER THAN UPRIGHT POSITION:
      • Secure seat in break over position with a strap or rope such that seat can not be moved during flight.
        OR
      • If seat is stuck in the recline position:
        • Verify that emergency exit is not blocked.
        • Block off the row of seats aft of inoperative seat and placard the entire row DO NOT OCCUPY.
Skyjob is offline  
Old 21st Dec 2014, 20:36
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$$$ supersedes something written in a book nobody has read.
ruddman is offline  
Old 22nd Dec 2014, 00:10
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Not in my airline.
Derfred is offline  
Old 22nd Dec 2014, 00:28
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Join Date: Sep 2014
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@Three Thousand Rule

Think of the alternatives... they could have:

a. Send you down to coach, or
b. Bump you off the flight, or
c. Restrain the seat upright so you can't recline at all for the entire flight

Since it wasn't a flight safety issue, maybe they did you a favor...
peekay4 is offline  
Old 22nd Dec 2014, 08:32
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Join Date: Dec 2006
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Not in my airline
I fly 90% in Australia where I've seen and had one AFTER boarding. Been sold a dodgy seat. And I don't fly budget either.
ruddman is offline  

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