What is an experience with flying back-facing seat on the airplane?

Seating backwards in seat 16A on BA’s Boeing 777-300ER in 4 class configuration

Did you book seat is backwards-facing? Did you (like me) wonder what is like flying back/rear-facing seat?

Just to clarify. I will use back-facing and rear-facing interchangeably in this blog post.

Many people mentioned that they were afraid and/or didn’t like to travel on rear-facing seat. I was curious about why. I don’t know the scientific reason, but fron my reflection, I think it narrows down to 3 possibilities:

  • It is not natural to move backwards.
  • They based their experience from travelling backwards on the bus, metro and car and as it turns out for me, it doesn’t apply to the flight.
  • Fear of flight.

It was something that I was curious about it. Luckily, I got an opportunity to do it on my recent flight from London to Beijing. I book a back-facing seat on the BA flight.

Let’s answer the question: What are the differences in the experience?

  • Takeoff doesn’t feel as awesome to a forward-facing seat.
  • Harsh landing feels smoother.
  • Emergency position may be different, which means you need to pay extra attention during safety introduction. I DIDN’T bother to find proof, but I remember to read about some research even claims that it increases the chance to survive in the event of “unplanned” landing. It will explain why some military transport use back facing seats.

That’s all. Except for the first 2-4 minutes during takeoff, you will not notice any difference. Everything else like turbulence feels the same.


If it happens, that you will seat backwards then don’t worry, you will enjoy flying in the same way as when fly in forward facing seat.

I hope you will have an epic experience!