...Airbus, Airlines Show Interest...

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Airlines are the main marketing target for Amsafe and dozens have already installed the airbags, but usually only on specific seats in the aircraft. If you want the additional safety an airbag might offer, choose a seat in the first row or right behind any mid-cabin bulkheads. However, you may be trading the additional breathing space those seats used to offer for the airbag on your lap. Current regulations require those seats to be at least 41 inches from the wall so that a passenger won't hit his or her head in a crash. Seats in the rest of the plane are usually about 32 inches apart. The installation of the airbag removes that requirement for extra space at the bulkheads, possibly meaning an extra row or two can be stuffed into the plane. Not all applications make the cheap seats even cheaper, however. The airbags help "upper class" customers on Virgin Atlantic get a good night's sleep. The airline has equipped some of its Boeing 747s and Airbus A340s with diagonal sleeper seats that allow passengers to lie flat in flight. The airbags provide side-impact protection necessary to allow the seating arrangement to comply with safety standards. Although Amsafe doesn't provide a list of airlines using the airbags, it appears to have more interest from non-U.S. carriers. Air Canada is among the latest to install the system and has retrofitted its entire fleet of A319s and A320s. And Airbus has apparently decided they are an option some of its customers might want. New A340s and A320s purchased by Air Canada will have the airbags factory-installed.