I've seen the same configuration in the first row of various ATRs and Dash 8s (where the emergency exits are located). As for Southwest, I've seen it aboard a 732, but I'm not sure if they also have it on their 73Gs. It's ridiculous! Okay, it might save some centimeters in the exit row and thus allow them to install some additional seats.
However, I would not like to fly on one of those "aft facing seats", nor would I like to sit on one of the "fwd facing seat" face to face with the aft-seat-passenger.
Yet the rear facing seats were rather popular, allowing a group to hold an inflight "meeting" prior to arriving at their destination. FWIW Ndebele - SWA 737's have fewer seats than other airlines 737's.
Mohawk had a similar seating arrangement in its BAC-111s. I also have faint recollections of facing seats, separated by a table that folded up, on a DH Comet (Olympic or BEA) - can anyone verify the latter?
The aeroplane has unveiled for us the true face of the earth. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Hey, BA new Club World config has half rear facing seats and is pummeling the competition, yay! Pax dont notice any difference except on take off and landing. Anyway its about time they knew what hanging out of a rear facing seat on take off feels like, then they know what we cabin crew go through every day!! Should introduce self service meals to add the finishing touch!!
I remember this WN seating config. from the late '70s and early '80s. I don't know if it is still around but, if the flight was lightly loaded, it was great to be able to put your feet up on the rear-facing seat in front of you like it was a flying recliner.
True re-the RAF VC-10's. I remember reading somewhere that should an entire pax plane be fitted with rear facing seats the cabin floor must be stressed for integrity in case of an emergency landing. The is because the rear of the seat, and hence the floor supporting it, will now take the full brunt of the body weight. This means adding weight to the aircraft and reducing the capacity. So plans were shelved.
This seating arrangement still exist on most of Southwest's fleet. When Southwest introduced the 737-700's into the fleet, they were the first new planes without this seating. As the old planes are being refurbished and getting the new interiors, they are eliminating this "lounge" seating. As some one else mentioned, these lounges are located at the very front of the plane and at mid cabin where the emergency exits are located.
It is good fun when you are flying with friends. Also, it is especially helpful for WN's FAs when they are shuttling a bunch of unaccompanied minors on the "custody runs" (Friday and Sunday evening flights between Dallas and Houston are loaded with them); fill the club rows up with kids, and they are easier to watch (up front near jump seats) and tend to keep each other entertained.
Not too comfortable for the shy when you have to sit face to face with strangers, but I've done it and, unless you are a complete jerk, it can be a good way to promote friendly conversation, accompanied by cold beer.
...three miles from BRONS, clear for the ILS one five approach...