How do you use your seat back pocket? We received an interesting observation and query from TravelSkills reader J.U. this week that led to a discovery.
I love reading your daily column, and learn a lot. This is the first time I’ve had a question I thought you could check out. Yesterday I flew on Southwest, and was startled by an announcement at the beginning of the flight, saying that we were not to put any personal items in the seat back pockets! The flight attendant actually said, “The seat backs are for our magazine and safety information. You are not to put any personal items in them – no water bottles, no books, no computers, …” I noticed that the seat back pockets have in fact gotten very tight, with hardly any room for anything other than the magazine. (I had in fact put my water bottle in there, and it barely fit.) This seems very strange to me – what next!? Maybe we will have to pay for a seat back pocket with a little more room? Have you heard anything about this? The person sitting next to me was also a frequent traveler, and neither of us had heard of this before. I would love to know if you have any information on it.
I could not think of a time when I’d heard an announcement like this, so I grabbed a Southwest spokesperson who told TravelSkills that this wasn’t new and in fact an FAA regulation designed to prevent encroachment into space needed in case of the need for a quick exit.
I also kinda cringe when I think about seatbacks and avoid them like the plague (pun intended). Did you know that seatbacks are the dirtiest part of the plane and the place were nasty germs like MRSA live the longest? So I’d refrain from putting any personal items in there on account of that! Maybe the FAA rule is there to protect us from germs, too.