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Ever Wondered Why Airlines Ask Passengers To Keep Window Shades Open During Takeoff And Landing?

Published on 27 May, 2017 at 8:45 pm By

All you who have travelled in flight must have heard or aware of, those frequent fliers must have even fed up of hearing them, the flight attendants telling the passengers, during preparation announcements prior to take offs, to keep the window shades open during takeoff and landing. Do you know, or ever care to know, the reasons behind them saying this? Yes, most of us are not aware of the specific reasons behind it. So we are here to tell you today.

Flight attendants require all passengers to open the window shades during takeoff and landing.



This is done for safety reasons. It is said that airplanes are at their highest risk during these phases of flight, more so during landing. Many things can go wrong during these times, most accidents do happen during take offs or landings, so passengers are asked to open window shades along with other things to make everything prepared as if the plane were in emergency.


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Cabin crew have only 90 seconds to evacuate all passengers in case of emergencies.

The window shade opening is a part of a long process to prepare the cabin for sudden or unexpected emergencies. The process of evacuation itself should not take more than 90 seconds regardless of the size of the aircraft or the number of passengers. So to make the evacuation possible in 90 seconds cabin crew and other airlines staff prepare every flight in advance to make this possible.

There are other certain specific reasons behind flight attendants asking passengers to keep the window shades open. They include:

  • Passengers are curious, hence they are perfect extra eyes to see if something goes wrong. Usually passengers report anything right away.
  • In case of sudden emergencies, every second counts. Therefore, if window shades are open crew can easily see outside conditions to help them in planning the evacuation, like which doors to use for evacuation etc.
  • During daytime, opening window shades and putting cabin lights to full makes the eyes used to sunlight so if something goes wrong and passengers need to be evacuated there will not be sudden change in light contrast which might lead to temporary blurred vision. Same thing at night flights, window shades are open and cabin lights are dimmed.
  • Keeping the shades open helps ground emergency personnel outside to see the inside of the cabin.

It is said that the rules might be different from one airline to another, but in general almost all airlines require their crews to make sure of the window shades opening during takeoffs and landings.

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