Have you ever wondered why flight attendants force you to raise your window shade prior to takeoff or landing?
I always knew it had to do with safety, but never thought through why. The answer, per Condé Nast Traveler, makes a lot of sense–
In the event of an emergency, U.S. regulators require that aircraft be evacuated in 90 seconds: if the shades are open during takeoff and landing—when most accidents occur—crew are able to see outside and can evaluate which doors to use, and see equipment abnormalities or hazards—think debris or fires that may affect an evacuation. Having airplane shades lifted is also directly tied to why cabin lights are dimmed during takeoff and landing: so that our eyes can adjust to the natural light.
That makes perfect sense. Turn off the lights and natural lights already enters the cabin. That way, if doors are flung open the light will not be (as) blinding.
Okay, maybe that was all common sense to you but I never put two and two together before. I don’t know about you American or Delta flyers, but I do know United rarely enforces this on my flights.
What About During the Flight?
The debate over whether the window passenger has a right to leave her window open has raged for decades. While there are no rules governing in-flight window shade position, I have seen FAs sternly insist that passengers close them. This occurs particularly on daytime westbound intercontinental flights in which daylight spans the whole flight but many passengers attempt to sleep.
The 787 Dreamliner fixes this “problem” by allowing FAs to quickly override passengers. With the touch of a button, all windows can darken or lighten. That makes it easy…
Now you know why FAs ask you to raise your window shade for takeoff and landing. If a FA asks you to close your window shade, do not argue. While you should be able to enjoy the view if you chose a window seat for that reason, common courtesy goes a long way.
(H/T View from the Wing)