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?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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