Lokbolt
Topic Author
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Sep 08, 2019 7:45 pm

Question: Function of a Certain Armrest KLM 787

Sun Sep 08, 2019 8:19 pm

Hi everyone,

I have just joined the forum because I just can't figure this out. Before it gets worse and it robs me of my sleep, I thought I might find an answer here (no info on the internet so far). :-)

So: I have recently flown on KLM's 787 "Sunflower" (PH-BHC), sitting in 42A. An hour into the flight I noticed that the armrest between 42A and 42B was different from all the other economy armrests that I could see. Instead of featuring a molded dark-blue top surface of rubbery material (best guess would be a thermoplastic elastomer (TPE)), the armrest was thicker and the top part was cushioned, made from sewn-together sheets of dark-blue plastic fabric (a bit like artificial leather, but tougher). I assumed it must have been a premium economy armrest. The armrest didn't have any special or additional function, all it had was the silver pushbutton to adjust the back of the seat. At first, I thought it might had been put there as a stopgap replacement until the correct economy armrest is available.

However, a little while later I noticed that on the tray tables on 42A and 42B, a genuine (as in labelled with a reference code) safety placard had been added to the existing symbols that describe the location of the life vests. The placard pictured an armrest with a semicircle arrow indicating the "fold back" movement in black. This scene was overlaid with a red crossed-out circle and probably meant "do not fold back the armrest". I was surprised, since the armrest folded back just fine, as I had found out before I saw the placards.

Working in aviation, I was very curious to find out the meaning of all of this. I asked the cabin attendant if they could tell me something about it. They hadn't noticed the armrest or the placards yet, and they couldn't think of a reason. They did however ask their purser to come and have a look. The purser told me they had seen that the armrest is different, but hadn't noticed the placards either.

Now, here's what I speculated so far, but without conclusion.
1) The armrest is a temporary replacement until the right part is available. Cons:
- Since there are way more economy seats on the plane than premium economy (if any, I didn't check if there are such on KLM's 787 at all), I suspect there would also be a greater stock of replacement armrests, and so the use of a different armrest is unlikely.
- If so, I'm not sure if they would be compatible with normal seats.
- I see no reason why the replacement should not be folded back, hence no need to put placards on the tray tables.

2) The armrest serves a special purpose that prohibits it being folded up, e.g. a step to reach emergency equipment stowed overhead. Cons:
- Since 42A is the window seat, there is no need for a step to an overhead stowage, since one can only just stand under the hat racks.
- There is no equipment stowed (as the purser explained to me) in the vicinity of 42A, hence no need for a step.
- Even if a step is required, why would you not allow it to be folded back and why would it have to be padded?

Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures of the armrest or the placards. Maybe someone who's going on "Sunflower" can have a look? :-)

OK, let's see if we can solve this mystery together.
Happy landings
Lokbolt
 
unimproved
Posts: 107
Joined: Sun Jun 22, 2014 7:14 pm

Re: Question: Function of a Certain Armrest KLM 787

Mon Sep 09, 2019 3:36 am

Hmm, that's a weird one. I'll have to check if the CMM mentions anything of it.

Premium eco isn't an option on KLM. It might be a reservation to install a a stretcher.
 
extender
Posts: 264
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2007 2:52 am

Re: Question: Function of a Certain Armrest KLM 787

Mon Sep 09, 2019 8:29 am

The alternative to that is the seat is INOP. and your seat cannot be used. A tricky issue, as maybe the series of seat that is now SAFRAN 5750 series seat, where by an armrest may be interchangeable or al alternate to the armrest that was installed when the unit was completed and shipped to Boeing. The placards don't need to be identical, they need to communicate what they do. Don't lose any more sleep.
 
ChrisKen
Posts: 799
Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 11:15 pm

Re: Question: Function of a Certain Armrest KLM 787

Mon Sep 09, 2019 2:41 pm

Most likely to be for a stretcher installation. KLM operate their fair share of medivac services.
 
User avatar
747classic
Posts: 2644
Joined: Sat Aug 15, 2009 9:13 am

Re: Question: Function of a Certain Armrest KLM 787

Mon Sep 09, 2019 2:57 pm

Look here for a walkaround in KLM's 789 cabin : https://my.matterport.com/show/?m=wNNEzhvstb5
Operating a twin over the ocean, you're always one engine failure from a total emergency.
 
Flanker7
Posts: 313
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2008 4:38 pm

Re: Question: Function of a Certain Armrest KLM 787

Mon Sep 09, 2019 6:44 pm

ChrisKen wrote:
Most likely to be for a stretcher installation. KLM operate their fair share of medivac services.


I don't think it's for a stretcher, if you look at this link https://bucher-group.com/products/medic ... tretchers/ you can see that its supported on it's own legs . But it made me wonder so I'll keep digging.
Flying blue only if possible
 
ChrisKen
Posts: 799
Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 11:15 pm

Re: Question: Function of a Certain Armrest KLM 787

Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:53 pm

Different stretchers have differing arrangments. Many of which clamp to seating units and armrests in varying degeees. I'm unsure which ones are certified for use on a 787-9 or which variety KLM themselves use.
Either way, 42A is slap bang in the middle of where such a stretcher would be placed within the cabin. My bets are hedged towards those lines.

Unfortunately the aircraft walk through linked to above doesn't allow a clear view of the seat (armrests) in question.
 
User avatar
longhauler
Posts: 6311
Joined: Sat Mar 06, 2004 12:00 am

Re: Question: Function of a Certain Armrest KLM 787

Mon Sep 09, 2019 10:00 pm

ChrisKen wrote:
Unfortunately the aircraft walk through linked to above doesn't allow a clear view of the seat (armrests) in question.

No, but if you look on the other side of the cabin, the armrest between 42J and 42K is different from the rest of the armrests in the area.

And, if you look at 42A/B from across the cabin, you can see the unusual armrest.
Just because I stopped arguing, doesn't mean I think you are right. It just means I gave up!
 
Lokbolt
Topic Author
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Sep 08, 2019 7:45 pm

Re: Question: Function of a Certain Armrest KLM 787

Tue Sep 10, 2019 6:45 am

@extender: "The placards don't need to be identical, they need to communicate what they do." - I don't think I am getting your point here. Can you please elaborate?
@747classic: Thanks for the amazing walkaround feature! Why didn't I think of that?
@ChrisKen and @longhauler: Standing at 42C you can see the armrest between 42J/K and standing at 42J you can see it between 42A/B. That's exactly what I saw on the plane. Now we know the armrest is a standard, serial installation and not a stopgap solution.

In the walkaround I could see that there are no additional placards on the trays at 42J and 42K - so they were added after the 787s went into operation with KLM.

The stretcher argument sounds plausible. But why would the armrest need to be modified in order to install a stretcher? The idea of an aftermarket stretcher, at least in my understanding, is that it can be fitted to an existing cabin equipment. Using the aforementioned walkthrough, I coudn't find any other examples of said armrest. Also, why the need for the "do not fold back" sign? Professionals installing or using the stretcher won't need to be told and will probably not be able to reach the armrest if the stretcher is installed on top of it anyways.

Thanks for your input so far!

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: jetmech and 25 guests

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos