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I have noticed this strange knob on flights typically near the video screen (in this case on the right and is underneath the USB port).

Strange Knob in Flights

Is there a use to this knob or is it just a component which has remained in airplane design for some reason or the other and is not required for use by the passenger?

Typically it just comes out to a certain length and goes back in, does it do something else as well?

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@Flimzy But wouldn't contradict with their whole policy of "stowing away" things. Because here, a small bag would just be hanging... –  Aditya Somani Aug 21 at 16:33
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I always assumed it was for hanging things on. You're supposed to stow things when the plane is taking off or landing but when it's in flight having stuff hanging I don't think is a problem.. –  neubert Aug 21 at 16:51
    
@neubert But if it's possible for you to stow away that item on take off and landing, then it means you already have a place for it. I've never seen anyone use it to be honest, but that would be a possibility, in which case, what purpose does the coming out and going back in serve? –  Aditya Somani Aug 21 at 16:55
    
Just because you have a place for something doesn't mean it's a convenient place for it. If I'm going to make use of something 10x times on a 10h flight I don't want to have to go digging through my luggage 10x times. Easier just to dig through luggage once and hang it for convenience. Another idea for the hook: headphones. Some planes give you earbud headphones but others give you supra-aural headphones and if you're not watching the TV you might want a place to hang them rather than have them sit on your lap for the whole flight. –  neubert Aug 21 at 17:02
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This is one of my favorite "out of context" question titles, along with gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/34804/… –  Tom Hart Aug 22 at 9:19

1 Answer 1

up vote 33 down vote accepted

It is a hanger, you can hang your jacket or anything similar there. The same exact ones typically available in lavatories for passengers and in galleys for crew members. In the passengers cabin, they are usually available in first or business classes' seats and it comes with a sign:

enter image description here

I guess they forgot to add the sign, making it harder for passenger to know how useful it is.

Why is it retractable?
To make it hold tight to your jacket or whatever you hanged on there, so it will not fall easily with airplane movement or when you get in/out of your seat.

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What is the logic behind it coming out and going back in again? –  Aditya Somani Aug 21 at 17:20
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@AdityaSomani so the jacket or whatever you hanged does not fall easily, you need to get the knob out then put the jacket and then retract it on the tip of the jacket. –  MeNoTalk Aug 21 at 17:22
    
I see. Well I agree, they should put a little bit more information on it! I had no idea what this is meant to be used as. -_- Also, I'm pretty sure these are on economy class as well. This picture was taken in Economy (B787). –  Aditya Somani Aug 21 at 17:23
    
@AdityaSomani I could tell it was on economy, I didn't know what model was it but thanks for mentioning. Never flew the 787 before but I can assume economy class in B787 is a different experience :) –  MeNoTalk Aug 21 at 17:26
    
Just purely FTR (speculation) .. I'd guess the reason they are retractable is to add emphasis to the concept that you shouldn't use them during takeoff/landing. (Of course, who knows?) –  Joe Blow Aug 21 at 17:42

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