George C asked in TravelAir Travel · 1 decade ago

Why do airlines require passengers to open windows near their seat during take off and landing?

3 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I'm an ex-Flight Attendant and we were told in training to make sure the window shades were open during take-off and landing for several reasons.

    First, the interior lighting should match outside as much as possible for take-off and landing, which is helped by opening the shades. We had to adjust the cabin lighting accordingly, such as a full-bright for a daytime landing or completely off for a night landing.

    This means time isn't lost during an evacuation when people are either blinded by the outside light or need a second to adjust to the dark. Although it can't be matched exactly but even a slight adjustment either way can help.

    Second, in a crash, the emergency lights should go on. Even if they didn't, the passengers would have any outside light to help them find an exit. It would help their orientation. In either case, having as much outside light as possible, logically, is helpful.

    Lastly, after the evacuation, any rescue personel from outside can see inside the cabin more easily, to see if anyone is trapped inside.

    There have been claims that it's so that the authorities can do a "body count" after a crash by looking through the windows. This is so absurd and illogical, it doesn't merit comment. This appeared in a book which was meant to be a comedy on the airline industry but it wasn't very accurate on many points and now some believe this to be fact.

    Another small plus, which isn't the reason for the rule, but if anyone gets airsick, it's better if they can see outside. On descent, you can get stuck in a "holding pattern", where the plane flies in circles because it can't yet land. This is not fun for those who are prone to get motion sickness. Seeing the ground, even if far below, helps equalize their inner-ear balance.

    Please let me remind you that in an emergency evacuation, do NOT grab any of your bags. As soon as the plane comes to a complete stop, follow crew members', and only crew members', instructions. If you are supposed to get out, do so and don't take anything with you.

    If there is someone else having trouble exiting their seats, evaluate the situation and only help if you can do so quickly. In most cases, it's better to take note of the location, evacuate yourself and immediately tell any rescue personel on the ground and/or crew members where the help if needed.

    Hopefully that's information you never need to use! Just a small public service message...that could save your life!

    It's nice to have the window shades down during the flight but for take-off and landing, the most dangerous portions of the flight, it's more practical to have them up. Everyone really should be awake at those times anyway so even if the sun is in their eyes, they'll be on the ground shortly anyway.

    Don't be afraid to ask the crew any emergency or procedural questions next time you fly!

    Source(s): ex-Flight Attendant, 13 years, 2 companies mostly long-haul international
  • 4 years ago

    I only complete a visit final week the place the flight attendants did request passengers to close the window colorings in the previous leaving the airplane on the gate. At the two St Louis and Dallas, outdoors air temps have been in the intense ninety's, and the belief replaced into that the airplane cabin could stay cooler whilst waiting for the subsequent flight if the colorings have been pulled down.

  • 1 decade ago

    Eclipse had a great answer! I just want to add one thing. The window shades that are in the exit rows, or close to it, should be the case of an emergency evacuations, you want to check the situation before jumping out the window. For example, you wouldn't want to use the left overwing exit, if that wing is on fire. Before opening an exit, you need to look for fire, water, or make sure it is safe to evacuate out of that exit. If the shades are closed, it's that much more time to open the shade. Timing can be everything.

    Source(s): flight attendant
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