This Is The Terrifying Reason Why You Should Never Move Seats On A Plane

All of us budget travellers know how it goes; you don’t want to spend the extra £25 each way to sit with your mate so you settle for sitting apart on the flight only for one or both of you to have an empty seat next to you.

So, what then? Just move seats and cosy in next to them? Well, doing this seemingly harmless thing could actually put the entire flight at risk. Yes, really. It’s probably not worth it for the sake of a few hours, really.

Why you should never switch seats on a flight

First of all, it’s essential that airline staff know where everybody is seated, in case of emergency. The experts at Simply Flying said: “If a passenger is to have a severe medical emergency and doesn’t have anyone traveling with them, it will be necessary for the crew to know as much about the passenger as possible, which is only easily accurate if they are sitting in their assigned seat.”

However, it’s not just your personal safety at risk when you move seats. This is because planes have a very delicate balance in order to maintain a ‘centre of gravity’ and if this balance is off, it could be hazardous for everybody on board.

According to Air New Zealand’s Chief Flight Operations and Safety Officer, Captain David Morgan, aircrafts that aren’t correctly balanced can be difficult to control and lead to a lot of ‘drag.’ Not exactly the most comforting thought when you are so many thousands of miles in the air.

Finally, it is essential for landing safely, too. Simply Flying said: “an aircraft landing is significantly lighter than when it took off since it burned off lots of fuel during flight. So... before the flight has left the ground, an estimation of where the centre of gravity will be upon landing, based on the allocation of human weight, is calculated.”

This is also why you are occasionally asked to move seat on a flight! Perhaps somebody couldn’t make a flight or a row of seats weren’t sold; these scenarios can lead to uneven weight distribution that must be amended before take-off.

A few hours with a good podcast is a much simpler solution to sitting alone.