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I regularly notice reports of injuries due to turbulence on AVHerald. I've also seen photos of bedrooms in aircraft such as the Boeing BBJ. Are beds fitted with 'seat' belts to stop you hitting the ceiling in the middle of a nap should the aircraft run into turbulence?

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  • $\begingroup$ I would think they would be waken up if the pilots anticipated turbulence ahead $\endgroup$
    – Mateo
    Aug 4, 2023 at 18:16
  • $\begingroup$ @mins That sounds like the basis for an answer. AC 25-17 looks to be quite comprehensive. $\endgroup$ Aug 7, 2023 at 16:44
  • $\begingroup$ Since there are some relatively large planes that are officially limited to 19 passengers for various regulatory reasons, I suspect (but just a comment, I don't know for sure and hopefully someone more knowledgeable will answer) that this may be a reason to not provide seat belts at extra seats. For example, if you have 19 regular seats in one part of the cabin and a "conference room" with 19 seats in another section of the cabin then if you put seat belts in all the seats someone in the govt. could argue that this is really a 38-seat plane having additional staffing & safety requirements. $\endgroup$ Aug 8, 2023 at 15:43

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Overall

US regulation doesn't require every seat/berth to be provided with restraints.

It requires there are approved seats/berths with restraints in appropriate quantity and they are used during taxiing, takeoff and landing. Approved berths with restraints are required only for non ambulatory persons.

So if we except non ambulatory persons, a different topic, each occupant of a private aircraft is provided an approved seat with a restraint, but there can be additional seats and berths, showers, massage tables, rocking chairs without safety restraints.

The seat allocated must be used during critical phases of the flight, and the crew may ask passengers to return to their approved seat at any time, and fasten their approved seat belt.

This applies to private transport or parabolic flights like it applies to public transport. Whether regulation can be enforced by the crew is indeed a separate topic.

US legislation

Regarding number of seats vs. number of passengers

Aircraft requirements are described in 14 CFR § 25, Airworthiness Standards: Transport Category Airplanes. At 25.785 Seats, berths, safety belts, and harnesses:

(a) A seat (or berth for a nonambulant person) must be provided for each occupant who has reached his or her second birthday.

Each ambulatory passenger must have a seat, each non ambulatory passenger must have a berth.

Regarding when to use safety belts

Regulation is found in 14 CFR § 91, General Operating and Flight Rules, at 91.107 - Use of safety belts, shoulder harnesses, and child restraint systems.

(a) Unless otherwise authorized by the Administrator— (3) Except as provided in this paragraph, $\sf \color {OrangeRed} {\text {each person}}$ on board a U.S.-registered civil aircraft [...] $\sf \color {OrangeRed} {\text {must occupy an approved seat or berth with a safety belt}}$ and, if installed, shoulder harness, properly secured about him or her $\sf \color {OrangeRed} {\text {during movement on the surface, takeoff, and landing}}$.

Each seat used by an ambulatory passenger or crew during the critical phases (taxi, T/O, landing) must be approved, and equipped with a belt or a harness.

Regarding medical aircraft

Non ambulatory patients are central to this type of aircraft, recommendations are provided in 23.785 Seats, berths, litters, safety belts, and shoulder harnesses. An example of a simple approved restraint can be seen here.

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