Airplane seats with potential safety issue ordered removed

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A Delta Boeing 717. Source: Delta Air Lines

Delta Air Lines and some other carriers have five years to remove a certain model of seats from some planes, to comply with a new Federal Aviation Administration directive aimed at preventing serious injuries during a survivable crash.

The seats made by Zodiac Seats California LLC are mainly on smaller airliners, including Boeing 717s and MD-90s flown by Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines.

According to the FAA, the design of the seats is such that passengers could strike their heads on the seat backs, and their chins could “catch” on the top of the tray table as their heads slide down the seat backs. The chin catching on the seat could cause “high neck bending loads,” according to the FAA.

Delta had initially suggested to the FAA that further testing and discussions should take place before the directive was finalized.

Zodiac and an industry committee told the FAA that the directive was based on limited research, and cited accidents where reports did not mention serious neck injuries.

The FAA responded that it found sufficient data and identified an unsafe condition.

To read more about the FAA directive and Delta’s response, get the full story on


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