This was the first time I noticed it. A squared shape thing under the arm rest. All central chairs have it.

Knowing that everything about an airplane is about efficiency I wonder about the function of such thing. I am sure it must have a goal. Is it a step?


  • @HenningMakholm I think they mean the handle underneath the chair.
    – Summer
    Oct 14 '16 at 8:19
  • Is that seat in a bulkhead row or is there extra space in front of it? There's a tray table in there. Can you see the hinges, just under the arm rest? It opens and you pull the folded tray up.
    – mkennedy
    Oct 14 '16 at 8:23
  • 1
    I just identified it
    – nsn
    Oct 14 '16 at 8:24

These are steps to help people reach the overhead luggage compartments. Most people are unaware of their existence, but cabin crew, especially shorter members, use them frequently during boarding.

  • Is this a new thing or it depends on the company? I've flied in several companies since I saw this and none had it.
    – nsn
    Oct 14 '16 at 8:38
  • @nsn I first noticed this maybe 20 years ago. Frequently the step isintegrated in the seat design.
    – phoog
    Oct 14 '16 at 8:42
  • @nsn here's an example from, I think, the 70s, but no later than the 80s: static.messynessychic.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/…. Note the dark gray bit. That part of the seat is often given a rough tread to step on. I don't like this design because it means people have to step partially on the seat cushion. Often, there's an oval-shaped opening in the side of the seat with a flat tread on the bottom.
    – phoog
    Oct 14 '16 at 8:53
  • @phoog odd, I was always told members of a cabin crew needed a certain minimum height in order to be able to reach the overhead compartments.
    – Summer
    Oct 14 '16 at 9:11
  • 1
    @JaneDoe1337 that's probably true, but I reckon that the minimum height requirement takes into account the existence of these steps. I'm 6'5" (195 cm) and the back of the bin is a stretch even for me.
    – phoog
    Oct 14 '16 at 9:22

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