You can be rewarded with some of the most amazing, awe-inspiring views just by leaving the window shades on the plane open while you are flying, but did you know they can actually be a valuable tool for flight attendants, too?
Airlines require travellers to leave the window shades open on take-off or landing. This request is made not because airlines want everyone to see the beautiful sights of the city they are landing in or leaving, but because it can be helpful to the flight attendants and flight crew. We will take a closer look at why airlines make this particular request and what the future has in store for aircraft window shades.
Why Airlines Require Window Shades to Remain Open During Take-Off and Landing
There are various reasons why flyers must adhere to the crew’s requests on window shades. The reasons can vary from a need to have extra eyes on the aircraft to help travellers adjust to the changes in lighting.
Some of the reasons why plane window shades are to remain open include:
Extra pair of eyes – Pilots and flight attendants are always on the lookout for problems with the plane’s equipment, but even they can’t see everything. Leaving the shades open, travellers can spot problems and alert the flight crew.
Evacuation Preparation – If an emergency should occur, flight attendants need to know what the conditions are like outside and plan accordingly. The open shades help flight attendants save time when every second could save a life.
Adjusting Eyes to the Light – The lighting in the plane is dramatically different than the light outside. This can cause people to experience headaches and even blurred vision. Opening the shades helps travellers prepare for walking outside in the different light.
The Future of Plane Window Shades
With all the technological advances occurring in the airline industry, it is no surprise that requiring travellers to physically open and close window shades on a plane may become a thing of the past.
Recently, Qantas announced that on their Boeing Dreamliner planes that have been ordered, there would be no window shades. Instead, the windows will be controlled by electronic dimmers. The windows will have five different shades that allow travellers to have complete control over how dark or light their windows appear. Travellers will be able to control the dimming window shades with just a touch of a button.
In addition to allowing travellers to have control over the window shades, the electronic dimmers can be controlled by flight attendants and the pilot. This means that when the plane is preparing to take off or land, the flight crew can set all the windows so they appear clear. No longer will you hear them asking you to open the window shades as you prepare for landing or take off.
Who knew that a simple feature on a plane, like window shades, could be so interesting? Next time you are travelling, you will be able to impress your friends and family with this knowledge. If you are lucky enough to fly on one of the new Qantas Dreamliners, you will be one of the first to see and experience the electronic dimming windows.
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