Travel Q&A: why do I have to pull up the shades when we land?

William wants to know why he was asked to pull up the shades the last time he flew.

Why you need to lift the shades

When last William flew, he was woken up and told to pull up his window shade, which annoyed him no end. He’s asked us why he was made to do so and if he has the right to say no.

Q. William
I was coming home from Singapore and sleeping quite soundly when I was woken and asked to pull up my window shade. Firstly, why do I have to do that and, secondly, can I just say no?

A. It’s a shame you were requested to pull up your shades while you were sleeping, but there is a very good reason why you were asked to.

Put simply: it’s a safety issue.

When your plane is coming into land, flight crew ask everyone to pull up the shades – unless you’re on a Dreamliner, which does this automatically. This is because, in case of emergency, should a flight need to be evacuated it has to be done in 90 seconds or less. Lifting the shades gives the flight crew the time to recognise the exterior conditions, making it easier to judge which doors to use as well as what’s going on outside either side of the plane.

And allowing natural light to flood in means our eyes will adjust to bright light outside, instead of being temporarily blinded by the brightness, thus adding to evacuation times.

Unfortunately (depending on your view), you do not have the right to knock back this request. Although, if you were sleeping, it would have been nice if the person sitting next to you could have done it instead of the attendant having to wake you up!

Have you ever been asked to do something on a plane that irked you?



    To make a comment, please register or login
    10th Dec 2017
    but why do they make you put them down in the middle of the day???? hours and hours before it is dark???
    is it because they need to work less if people are asleep??

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