• Why are there two different brace positions (pictured below) ?
    (If there is a difference between the official and true reason, please state both. In many planes the reduced seating spacing does not allow the pike position (on the right), but I doubt this is the official statement of airlines.)
  • Are they equally protective ? If not, why are both recommended ?
  • What arguments are there in favor or against each ?
  • If available, statistical data and relevant links to studies and crash tests would be very welcome if they distinguish between the two positions.


  • $\begingroup$ We have answers on that here and here. Please explain what those two answers leave unclear. $\endgroup$ Jan 6, 2019 at 17:30
  • $\begingroup$ They don't answer any of the questions above. $\endgroup$
    – summerrain
    Jan 6, 2019 at 17:42
  • $\begingroup$ No. Q12599 is a different question. It is not about the pike position, but about the head-against-seat-in-front-of-you-position and only asks about the arm position in that case. Please remove the comment. Thank you. $\endgroup$
    – summerrain
    Jan 6, 2019 at 23:13
  • $\begingroup$ The semi-upright position is the only position available for my portly self. I can't breathe in the pike position. Perhaps the growing girth in the general population comes into play on the choice of prayer position before the crash. $\endgroup$
    – Mike Brass
    Jan 7, 2019 at 0:10

1 Answer 1


One is for when the seat in front of you is in the way of using the other.

The other is for when you can't reach a seat in front of you.

They won't both be relevant for the same person in a given seat. If you can assume the second position, the first one probably won't provide meaningful support for your head anyway.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The most useful brace position is when you place your head right down between your legs and kiss your a** goodbye. hardeharhar $\endgroup$
    – John K
    Jan 6, 2019 at 20:45
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks. This partly answers the question. Remaining questions are: Which of the two is more protective and why? And what reason do airlines give for the existance of 2 positions? I very much doubt they say "our seats are so close that you cannot use the safer position" ... $\endgroup$
    – summerrain
    Jan 6, 2019 at 23:16
  • $\begingroup$ @summerrain You're assuming that one (specifically the "pike") is automatically "safer" than the other. That isn't necessarily true: in the alternative position, the head is supported by the seat in front -- maybe that's actually beneficial. $\endgroup$ Jan 6, 2019 at 23:49
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, I assume one is more protective but not which one. I'm just saying IF it's the pike, the official airline statement won't be "our seats are too close for the safer position". But regardless of the merits of either position, I am curious about what reason airlines state for the existance of 2 different positions. I have never heard them say that seat spacing is insufficient. That's not the reason they give. I'll happily stand corrected if provided with such a statement. $\endgroup$
    – summerrain
    Jan 7, 2019 at 0:03
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I can't recall an airline ever giving a reason; it's assumed you'll do whichever one matches your body size and available space; there isn't really a choice for any given passenger anyway. $\endgroup$
    – StephenS
    Jan 7, 2019 at 0:58

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