My Frustration With Airline Crews Regulating Window Shade Usage

Filed Under: Travel

Hello from Hawaii! I just flew from Los Angeles to Honolulu (I’ll have a post soon about the flight as such), but in this post I wanted to address a broader issuer as it relates to the use of window shades on planes.

I’ve written about window shade etiquette a few times before based on reader questions, including issues like:

Anyway, I wanted to share my thoughts on a situation I faced this morning, and I’m curious where you guys stand on this. First off, my general view on window shade usage is as follows:

  • The person in the window seat has the choice of whether the window shade should be opened or closed; of course it makes sense to be courteous if someone seated near you asks nicely if it can be raised or lowered, especially if they’re being “blinded” by the light
  • I respect when flight attendants ask passengers to lower window shades on redeyes where the sun will rise in the morning and people will naturally be asleep, or on flights where a vast majority of people want to sleep (for example, an evening departure from Asia to the US west coast that arrives in the morning where most people want to sleep, in spite of it being light out for much of the flight)

However, this morning I took a 7AM flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu. I’m a morning person, and I’m also solar powered. I got a good night of sleep last night as I got up around the same time I do every day. However, I struggle to stay awake in dark environments.

After takeoff the crew announced that they “request that passengers lower their window shades since it’s an early departure and a lot of people want to sleep.” Here’s the thing — I didn’t want to sleep on the flight, and I also would have preferred my window shade open, so that I could have been more comfortable the whole flight. Heck, even when flying over the ocean I enjoy looking out the window. To me a flight leaving at 7AM isn’t a redeye, and also isn’t one where the crew should “request” that the window shades be closed, in my opinion.

Of course I don’t want to be a jerk either. Everyone lowered their window shades, and for the next five plus hours, it was dark in the cabin. I wasn’t going to be the only person to raise their window shade (since everyone complied with the instructions), but I can’t help but generally be frustrated by crews that make this request.

This is totally minor in the grand scheme of things, but I figured it was worth posting about. I’m curious if most of you disagree with me, because there’s a chance I’m in the minority. I am a weirdo, after all.

Do you appreciate when crews ask all passengers to lower window shades, and the cabin stays dark the whole flight? Under what circumstances (on redeyes, on early morning flights, on all flights, etc.)?

  1. I just don’t think it’s difficult to carry an eye mask in your bag if light bothers you. I could see if the person had no way to control the light. But, heck, they might have even gotten handed an eye mask in business class by the flight attendant on your flight. I share your frustration.

  2. Dark cabin = sleeping passengers = fewer requests for beverages and assistance with IFE = more time flight attendants can spend gossiping in jumpseats, doing needlepoint, reading magazines, or whatever the hell else they do when they’re getting paid for sitting around.

    Given how allergic many US-based flight attendants are to providing any service above and beyond the bare minimum, this is a regular feature on any United, American or Delta longhaul flight, no matter what time of day. These are the same people who claim handing out drinks for 30 minutes and then sitting around for eight hours is a “career.”

    Never mind your what time it is, never mind how helpful it might be to your circadian rhythm to see some daylight, never mind that (in premium cabins at least) eyeshades are provided. They want the shades down because it makes life easier for them, and now they can have you removed from the flight for failing to do what they say.

  3. A 7am departure means waking up at about 4am for most people. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to assume most would want to try and make up for the few hours of sleep they lost in getting to the airport on time.

  4. All US crews want lowered window shades for long haul flights, even if it’s a day time flight. It means more pax sleeping and needing to do less service. Ever flown a day time flight JFK LHR?

  5. Totally agree with you. No reason the flight attendant should have made that request. Besides a 7am flight is not “early.” And what…then you’re expected to keep the shade down the entire flight? The fact that everyone did comply is silly too. (Though I probably would have done the same to go along with the group. Which is pathetic.) it’s like that old psych experiment where normally rational people do something they normally wouldn’t do when an “authoritarian” figure tells them to do something. In retrospect all the window seat passengers should have simply ignored or laughed at the attendant.

  6. Yes. Passengers should not be allowed to control the shades. Ever. Frankly, any flight over three hours should have the shades programmatically bolted shut 15 minutes before and after departure and touchdown.

    I’ve been on enough TATL flights where one idiot has their shade half open, blasting a beam across the entire cabin. Passengers can’t be trusted to be courteous.

    There’s an overhead light for a reason. Use it. The ME3 and APAC carriers have no problem governing this. Why can’t the US carriers?

  7. I generally like to have the shades up too, but I think the FAs are being reasonable in this case. A 7am flight means that passengers might be getting up at 4am or earlier, and many probably didn’t get a full night of sleep and are counting on sleeping a little more on the flight.

  8. Ben,
    I love to hear your opinions, I to love having my window shade open (up) most all the time when in the air. I totally hate to be asked to close the shade but I do not to be the biggest a__hole on the jet.
    But I have a question for you, i’m A legacy USAirways Chairman, for almost 20 Years, I remember the days that I was told taxi, takeoff, and landing that shades needed to be in the open (up) position. Lately on AA many shades are closed during taxi, takeoff, & landing. I asked an FA about this behavior and was told matter of factually that the only shades to follow my question were those in the emergency / exit rows.
    Do you know any information on this ??

    This is not a duplicate question of mine

  9. Hmm, on a 7 am flight people would. have been at the airport at 5 or 5:30 which probably means they got up at around 4 am or earlier, so I can understand people would want to sleep. But it is annoying if you’re awake to not see outside. That is why the dreamliner is so good, they can dim the windows half way so you can still see out but the cabin is darker.

  10. I love that the crew did this. I fact I wish that the shades were never allowed open, or the planes need to tint the widows. It’s blinding even across the isle when someone had it open. You can’t watch tv because it’s so bright.

  11. I am usually a blind-shut kinda gal. It does not have to do with my sleeping preference, but with my preference to watch movies, work on my iPad, etc. It is much better for the glare when the blinds are closed. I do have the anti-glare screen guard on my devices, but it is a better working and viewing environment when I do not have to be dodging the sunbeams.

  12. you ARE being a jerk. it’s not just about you or the crew …. since most eyes inside the cabin have their pupils adjusted to the ambience of the darkness, that single window open is extra bright and painful, and actually impacts a few rows both in front and behind yours, not just your seat neighbors.

    unless you’re reading a paper book that actually requires light (and there’s a big individual light for everyone), why do you need sunlight ? laptops, ipads, phones, and IFEs all function fine without the need of the window open.

    saying “others can just use an eye mask” is where it crosses the line from individual freedom to being a jerk.

  13. I’ve never heard FA’s request that… its the kind of thing that would piss me off as well. Thats the thing about being in an airplane, there is no correct time, some people are coming from a 12 hour flight, some just got up, etc…

  14. I’m not a big flyer, but I have never seen that happening before, even on a red-eye flight. I’d say it is totally inappropriate for a crew member to ask the whole plane to do that. That should be even against safety, if anything happens during the flight, total darkness inside a plane is not a good thing. But you know by not agreeing on something with the crew you risk being dragged out of the plane these days 🙂

  15. A 7AM flight means that most people had to get out of bed at 4AM or so – for MOST people that is the middle of the night (Lucky you already explained how you go to bed at 8PM and wake up super early but this is really not how most people function). When I occasionally do these transcons from NYC departing at 7AM, I actually do enjoy getting 2-3 hours of sleep after take off so I can basically finish my night.
    Also, 7 AM on the West Coast means 4AM in Hawaii, so if the airline tries to adjust to local time it makes perfect sense that they ask for the blinds to be closed.
    However I was asked to close the shades on the same flight departing at 9 or 10AM, I would have the same reaction as yours and would much, much prefer to keep them open.

  16. If the flight included eye masks for all passengers (for free) then they shouldn’t ask in my opinion (on this flight)

  17. Flew HA3 (~10:00am departure) LAX-HNL in 3A last month, FA decided to close all of my window shades for me with the exception of the one behind my head. Didn’t even ask or motion about it first.

  18. I can’t say I’d be bothered by this. While I love staring out the window, brigh light makes it impossible for me to be confortable and even enjoy IFE. Besides, my migraine would be crazy.
    However, I do get the point that the passenger should be able to make the choice as to how they want their window shades.
    I don’t quite think it’s much of a choice when direct light is on a fellow passenger or in the case of someone being blinded by it.

  19. @Elizabeth : that’s why i love the 787 tinted windows. at the 2nd dimmest setting, I can still a bit of outside while not negatively impacting anyone around me.

  20. Given that you probably spent a fair percentage of your time working on your computer, you should have had sufficient blue light exposure to keep your circadian rhythms in check, so it’s really a question of the view.

    I’m also less cynical than some commentators about the sloth of the FA’s. Maybe from their career experience, they know that the majority of passengers do indeed want to sleep.

    Personally, I get really annoyed when someone opens a window on an otherwise dark flight, and suddenly my inflight screen is washed out. Eye shades can’t fix that.

  21. My shade would be full open at that time of the day, and if asked, tell them it’s my choice.

    It also irks me a bit for those FA’s that request lowering the shade on arrival, let the cleaning crew do it.

  22. I pay for a window seat and prefer it because a) I like to look outside and prefer being aware of my surroundings b) a view of the horizon helps prevent motion sickness when the seating is too horrible to sleep in….

    If someone doesn’t like my shade open, ask to be moved.

  23. On the 787 the flight crew can lock the windows dark & disable the passenger buttons. Happened to me on UA.

  24. The windows are there primarily for your safety.

    Seriously, unless you are enjoying the view, those passengers in the cabin who are trying to sleep don’t need the light from your window brightening up the entire cabin. 7am is an early departure for most people who don’t travel for a living and get to the airport more than 40 minutes before their flight. Furthermore, 7am in LAX is 5am in HNL; most people try to do light exposure based on destination. Windowshades down at 5am destination time? Appropriate. Halfway through the flight it might be time to lighten things up.

  25. My opinion (and enforced on flights I fly) is that my shade stays open if I have the window seat. It’s part of my seat selection entitlement, and I picked that seat to enjoy the window. That means clouds, airport infrastructure, and sky. If I’m asked to lower it, I politely decline. There are no safety related reasons for the crew to override me, thus I advise that they won’t be.

    I don’t sleep on flights, and that won’t be changing.

    If and when I want to enjoy in flight entertainment, I’ll be lowering the shade at that time and not before.

    If people want a say in the shade position, then they should pick the window seat. If you don’t have it, you don’t get to have a say.

    Long live control of the shade.

  26. On our last flight to Hawaii we were in the second-to-last row of first with an infant lap child. The kid is trying to sleep, and everyone has their shades closed except the guy behind us–whose light is shining right through the seat gap onto the kid. Asked him to close the shade and he refused. The whole time he’s watching movies on IFE, so its not like the light is useful for him. Talk about an asshole.

    And before everyone gets up in arms about flying in first with an infant, he’s been on several trips and is always well behaved. We go out of our way to ensure he doesn’t disturb other passengers, including timing naps and feedings. He never bawls, this flight included. He was just having trouble falling asleep. Lucky for us, the FA overheard everything and offered to turn off the lights/screens in the galley and let us bounce him to sleep up there.

  27. I agree with you.

    These dumbasses have obviously never read what pioneer aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupery wrote about the joyful wonders of flight.

    On the contrary, they’ve probably never had a joyful experience in their lives. They think staring for hours at an IFE or jockeying spreadsheets is the height of human endeavour. And you enjoying the extraordinary glories of sunlight on cloud formations just reminds them what utterly banal lives they lead.

  28. When it is bright outside, the shades should be lowered. End of story. 7 AM is extremely early. What if passengers were out until 2 AM in the morning? They are going to want to sleep.

  29. Flight Attendant here, and I can tell you that’s absurd. It’s not a red-eye, so there’s no reason to tell passengers what to do with their window shades. I’ve never come across this as a policy either. My educated guess is it was something the cabin crew decided amongst themselves to say before the flight. Crews often decide what to do with the lighting in advance of the flight, so that was probably something they did to keep the flight quieter and to keep people asleep. Lighting in-flight is left to the crew’s discretion.

  30. There’s nothing worse than when the majority of shades are shut but there’s one window left beaming through the cabin. If you’re about 2-3 rows back in a centre seat it’s like someone is beaming a military grade flashlight into the room

  31. Since you didn’t ask the experienced crew for their rationale in asking for the shades to be closed, there’s no way to guess their intentions. An intelligent person asks first and then formulates an ethical position. Do you know if anyone aboard asked for a dark cabin because they consume life saving drugs that makes them photosensitive?

  32. My favorite is when they ask, at midday, for pax to close their shades so people can “watch their TVs.” As in, “Please don’t revel at being above the clouds, amidst the majesty and miracle of flight, because the guy next to you wants to watch ‘The Bachelor.'”

    And no, I don’t comply with that.

  33. While I don’t request the shades to be drawn, I find that even one shade up prevents me from warching entertainment comfortably. So I’d be happy if the FAs requested it. Exception being if there is great scenery and I have the window, then I wouldn’t be as happy with the request but would honor it,

    I have had FAs refuse to show a second movie on the red eye back because folks were sleeping, and that annoyed the heck out of me.

  34. I recently flew the Dreamliner for the first time to London and the crew took over the dimming controls from 20 mins after departure until 20 mins prior to landing! It was 8pm by the time we left the ground so dark already and it would’ve been nice to watch the lights go by as we headed up the east coast, I can understand them doing it after meal service and everyone wants to get settled in for the night. Meanwhile it would’ve been nice to get to see the approach over the UK in the morning, the sun was just coming up and breakfast had already been served yet still nothing until we were in a holding stack over London, then suddenly it’s bright as day 20 mins before landing, no gentle wake up

  35. I feel so strongly about this.

    It’s day time.

    You’re flying over beautiful landscapes and generally experiencing the miracle of aviation.

    Open the dang shades.

    People who want to sleep can bring eye masks.

  36. I love the window seat and love looking out even though i fly a lot. I don’t like flying in pitch black planes during the day. I think that people who think they will want to sleep on any flight should come prepared to wear an eye mask and that it’s rude of them to expect the other passengers to darken the cabin if they didn’t bother to bring an eye mask. I do agree that when everyone is watching movies – partially shut windows are a good idea – but right now i’m flying and have the shade drawn just about 2/3rds of the way – and i didn’t ask my row mates what they thought – i can see they are watching movies and that this appeases my interest in looking out and their’s possibly, as well.

  37. The worst are daytime flights from the mainland US to Asia. The plane is flying over the Canadian Rockies, Alaska, and Siberia, and you’re denied the chance to see anything. After dozens of 747 and 777 transpacific flights, I’m finally making my first 787 flight to Asia next month, and I can’t wait – even with the tinting, I’ll finally be able to see.

    Forcing passengers to close shades for ten hours is ridiculous.

  38. The older I get, the less absolute I get. There are shades to this shade issue after all.

    I too like the window seat. I like it because I like to look outside. I like to see the ground. Over land, if there are no clouds, I’m able to see where we are by looking at the ground. “Isn’t that neat, that’s Peoria!”. At night, I’ve seen the northern lights before, lightening shoot upwards, and fireworks. Over water, I’ve seen ships.

    But I do watch where the sun from my window is shining. If it’s shining directly in someone’s eyes, I think it’s polite to pull the shade down a bit. Not closing the shade when you land — especially in the summer — is as antisocial as you can get. The plane will get hot and there isn’t a cleaning crew between flights, sad to say.

    I guess what I’m saying is that in your situation, I would likely have left the window shade open during takeoff from LA. I would want to see the taxi; what runway we were using; the direction of the takeoff; the unusual aircraft at LAX; and the sites after takeoff. I’ve flown several million miles and this stuff never gets old to me. I would then likely have closed the shades after we got over water for a couple of hours. It was a “request” not a directive. You are not obligated to follow it. I would have tried to be courteous to my fellow passengers in this shared space but they are also sharing the space with me too and there wants don’t necessarily trump mine either. But when we got closer to Hawaii, up my shade would go so that I could look out for interesting sites as we neared land again.

  39. @Hepworth

    Don’t touch other people’s window blinds and be responsible for your own baby ok thanks bye.

  40. I agree with everything Neo Caines said above. I love looking out the window and only close the shade when direct sunlight is entering. But I also try to pick window seats on the non-sun-side of the plane so it’s rarely an issue for me. I have no problem watching IFE with an open window shade next to me so I can’t understand those concerns.

    For all the people complaining about open window shades, I’d say this is your problem to address. Not trying to be confrontational, but bring an eyemask. Or book a window seat so you can control the shade.

    Do these people also keep their homes and offices dark at all hours? Shades drawn in their living room, no desire to have any light enter their home. A request to your manager to sit as far from a window as possible at work. Do you install shades on all your car windows? I’d hazard that the answer to all of those is a “no”, so what changes once you get on a plane?

  41. For me, the choice is to have the window shade up. My primary requirement for flying is to have a window seat. I’m one of those people that like to look out the window. It’s cool to watch the landscape slide by, to be able to match what I see on the ground with a map on my tablet or the plane’s IFE. Basically, I like being able to know where I am while in flight. Not to mention all of the other things that you can see – interesting cloud patterns and formations, ships at sea, whitecaps on the ocean, waves breaking on a shoreline, other aircraft streaking past at ~1100 mph closing rate or slowly overtaking you from behind. I’ve even seen F-15s and other military aircraft from my window seat. It’s also cool on a night flight to see city lights, the stars, and northern lights outside the window. There’s just so much outside the window that I find interesting to look at. And frankly, I can’t comprehend why so many people don’t seem to have any interest in the world that’s passing by outside.

    So yeah, I pay for a window seat and I expect to have control of the shade from the time I step on the plane to the time I step off.

  42. Needs of the many outweigh needs of the few (or one). I think you may forget what an average traveler goes through and a 7 am flight simply is not normal for “normal” people.

    Shade down, mouth shut.

  43. I think if we’re asked to lower the shade, we simply comply, turn on the overhead light and carry on.

    I was recently on a DUB to CLT flight in business class and everyone in the cabin lowered the shades except for one. Twice she went to the bathroom, twice someone lowered the shade while she was gone and twice she reopened it to light up the cabin in which many passengers were sleeping. Totally inconsiderate and rude.

    Pick your fights and move on.

  44. It’s not a red eye. If you wanna sleep, bring an eye mask. I like the shade up during day flights. And I would not like being told to lower it. Obviously, if there was some compelling reason like a sleeping baby or blinding light shinning on another passenger I’d comply. The crew needs to quit with the subterfuge.

  45. I like to see outside. I look for landmarks, interesting clouds, engine abnormalities, gremlins, etc. I am not a bird who needs a blanket thrown over my cage to calm me down. It’s why I booked the window seat.

  46. I like to look out of the window. If the sun is shining directly in I will lower the shade. If I’m on the non-sun side I’ll keep it open (I’m talking about daytime flights). Leaving London at 1 in the afternoon and landing at IAD at 3:30… way I want to sit in a dark cabin for something like that.

  47. When I am on the ground, if I have a window seat, which is unusual, unless I am in First or business, I like to watch the airport and the take-off. So I want widow shades up. Further, even if I am in the aisle seat, I am happy if the shade is up. The airplane isn’t a tomb you know.

    One time in DFW on AA, it was really hot. An announcement went out asking all the passengers to keep their shades down because it was so hot. I wonder if AA management has decided that shades down will save a few more pennies in airline fuel.

  48. I don’t get crammed into a window seat for any other reason than to look out the window. Its not about reading lights, DUH! Can’t believe some of these comments.

    I do echo some others – for me the wonder of flight never gets old. And yes it does help with vertigo etc. If one want to ride in a dark, visually cueless tube, one should bring eyeshades (as I do) or take a submarine.

  49. So yeah, our 7:30 flight SMF to HNL this morning the same request was made on HAL. We definitely appreciated that most people obliged. Home at 9:30 from work yesterday, packing until 1ish A.M, up at 430. Of course our exit row was blasting cold, so with a jacket and a blanket was still unable to get solid shut eye.
    Ultimately from what I noticed of other passengers, you’re in the minority here. Also, I noticed out the window there was barely anything to see but clouds today. Close to landing of course is beaitiful. Surprised your experience was any different.

  50. Sorry, not on your side this time. For most people 7am means getting up at 4am or so AND if you’re going to Hawaii some people will likely want the extra sleep to help with the time change. Plus, you have a light you can turn on. Nothing more annoying than the one guy with shade open when all others around are closed.

  51. Since a lot people may sleep watch their ipad or play video games having a bright light coming in make me upset

  52. If I have the window seat I control the window. I like to have the shade up it make me feel less claustrophobic. I never sleep while flying and I don’t particularly like to have the guy next to me drooling on my shoulder.
    So I keep the shade up and will continue to do so until they build windowless planes.

  53. You should have just lowered it halfway and if a flight attendant asked why you say because I wanted to work if you did that I don’t think many people would have seen you as a jerk and if so who cares.

  54. Spock said “Logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” No way. I am not a Vulcan. If I am in the window seat and want to look out the window I will. No one in the seat next to me can or should order me to do that.

    Personally, I cannot believe how intolerant flyers are becoming. Open the shade , recline your seat, refuse to exchange your seat….people racing to condemn. Seriously, lighten up. Flying now-a-days is difficult enough without getting stressed out by everything or fighting with the passenger sitting next to or behind you.

  55. I like to force my body to adjust to the time zone of the arrival city by following that time zone as soon as I get on a plane. I have been on evening departures from the West Coast to Dubai. As soon as I get on I would like to sleep for a while and then get woken up and get breakfast , keep the shades open to get sunlight to adjust circadian rhythms and then before landing in Dubai get Dinner. Instead the idiot hostesses serve dinner as soon as we get on and then ask us to close the shades and sleep. What that means is when you land in Dubai in evening local time you are still on West Coast time and jetlagged as hell. It should be a rule to follow the food and sleep patterns of the place you are going to on long flights

  56. I like looking out the window. It’s why I select a window seat. Having that perspective on the world is too amazing to sit staring at the inside of the can for hours on end.

    Of course, if the sun is beaming directly-in early morning or sunset I’ll lower the shade for a while.

    But otherwise, read up on earplugs and eyeshades, people They are amazing, and don’t require forcing other people to bend to your delicate needs. For the crew just doing it to pacify the sheeple, remember you are at work, not on break.

  57. This is exactly why I love the 787 windows so much more than any other plane: keep the cabin dim for those who want to sleep but you can still see outside on most settings.

    I’m generally a shades open guy for daytime flights but this departure time was very early and you were heading west – FA wasn’t being unreasonable from the perspective of most pax.

  58. In window seat:

    Redeye – shades closed after takeoff, opened only when everyone else opens.

    Daytime flight – meaning, sun is out where you are taking off from – shades opened, and then if there is a sharp sunbeam on someone’s space, close the shade for that period of time only. Otherwise, shades open – and if someone says “could you lower the shade?”, possibly, depending on how bright it really is in the cabin, just close the shade partway so the bit of light you need to read or see outside is still there.

    I don’t like reading with reading lights that are usually dim and angled the wrong way (not all are perfectly adjustable) and I’ve seen one reading light on in an otherwise fully dark cabin that can be much brighter than the shade half-closed even if it’s the only one on the flight. Most reading lights pollute their row and the row behind and forward if the only one on during a redeye.

    If the passenger somehow forces the situation whereby the shade gets closed (through intimidation or asking the attendant to make you close it or whatever) be sure to disturb him or her many times by getting out of the window seat and using the lav, getting a drink, etc. so that the sleep they thought they’d have with the shade close doesn’t happen. Oh well. “…sorry… need to use the lav, oh well…”

    In aisle seat:

    Ask nicely but if the person really wants the shade open, that’s the price you pay for having all that aisle freedom and access. Get a window next time and use a blindfold for sleeping.

  59. For those talkimg about how much they love looking out the window… can you really use that as your justification for leaving them up the WHOLE time? I mean, I love looking too. Especially on takeoff/landing when I pontificate aloud about whats going on at the ATC side. But again, our whole flight this morning was clouds obscuring the ocean. I opened the shade, did my scan, and shut. Not to mention what hours on end of that will do to your neck.

  60. I select window seats because I want to look out the window. I hate being told to close the window shade. I had it happen one time on a long haul flight when I was in first class. What is the point of getting a window seat if you can’t look out it. People can wear an eye mask if they want to sleep when its daylight. I’ve done then when I wanted to sleep on flights and people had the windows open. Actually I flew in SQ suites from frankfurt to NYC on a morning flight and I wanted to get some sleep and the guy behind me kept his window shades open the entire flight so I had to wear the mask. I was just trying to get on the NY schedule by napping a few hours. The one exception is if I notice the sun is at an angle where it is smacking someone directly in the face and blinding them. In that case I will lower the shade and everyone should do the same because maybe they want to watch a film without being blinded.

  61. I’m on the shade open team. I thoroughly enjoy looking out the window, and if it’s not a red-eye flight, my window shade is probably going to be open the whole time, unless direct sunlight is coming straight in. 7AM departure? I’ll shut it for an hour or two after takeoff, then open it again. You don’t need to sleep until 10:00 AM people. Why is it that people become suddenly narcoleptic when they step on an aircraft?

    And sitting in a dark, hot, coffin-like airplane, when I know it’s broad daylight outside, is just as miserable and anxiety inducing to me as is to the folks who insist on sleeping in the middle of the day. You can use an eyemask (or, you know, just close your eyes with some sunglasses on) to make it privately dark for yourself, if you insist on losing consciousness in the middle of the day.

  62. Yeah, if you’re above the clouds at 35,000 feet, there isn’t any scenery to look at down below. I think a couple of hours of closure so that people could nap would be fine. But not for five hours, either. That’s just too long.

  63. I guess some window people hate the dreamliner then since the FA’s can override and keep the window tinted and they cant do a think about it.

  64. @Greg

    In my experience I’ve always been able to put the 787 window on a slightly lighter setting even after the FAs dim all the windows. Not sure if this varies by airline…

  65. If I’m flying at 7 AM I probably had to get up at 4 to shower and get to the airport. But even if it was later I like a dark cabin. I can watch movies better and it is my chance to unwind and check out. Maybe take and extra nap. I for a dark cabin on all flights.

  66. Most people can’t sleep well before a 7 am flight! gotta wake up at 4 your sleep is not going to be good!

  67. I agree with you. If someone is working during the day on a computer in the middle seat and I am at the window, I will lower it enough for his/her screen to be more visible. That said, I recommend people who want to sleep keep a dark pair of sunglasses in their carry on. I often sleep on an early leg, and have found the sunglasses do the trick for me. Heck, you can even get fancies and order an eye mask.I recently bought these on Amazon for 12 bucks–they give total darkness without touching the eyes.

  68. My window, my shade, my convenience, my decision. That’s why I booked a window seat.

    However, if the sun is blinding someone, I will lower.

    Inappropriate for a FA to ask pax to lower the shade on a day flight.

  69. Yeah, I’m one of those “window people”. And I’m sick to the point of complete intolerance of those who smugly demand of me to close my window shade.

    Nope. Not going to happen. I enjoy daydreaming while staring out the window. I find it to have a meditative effect. I have a right to enjoy my flight. I’m not going to sacrifice my right just because some of you are too damn cheap, lazy or stupid to use a sleep mask.

    Sure, I’ve had flightmates go childishly whining to a flight attendant: “That big, bad man in 2A won’t lower his shade! Make him do it!” This is when having premium status really comes in handy. Well, that and the fact that I can pretty easily sweet talk my way into keeping my shade open.

  70. no strong opinions here…

    My most recent flight was a late AM flight CPH-IAD. I had to get up well before dawn to make my connecting flight. One person in the C class cabin left their shade open. Even with eye shades it’s still a shock when you take them off to have a bright shaft of light.

    I agree that when you’re at cruise altitude (especially over the ocean) there’s really not much of anything to see out the window.

  71. Close the window shade is protecting you from extreme brightness to eyes and harmful UV. Also we are sharing a very small space and to be considerate, to have the shade down can make everyone feel comfortable on the plane. There are individual light for those who need to read. The fact is that the light up the sky is much stronger than on the ground. The light weekened after they pass through the air and croud. It is brighter and it contain a much stronger harmful UV. People worked in airlines are warned. Closing the window is do good to you and your neighbors on the plane.

  72. I want to look out at the landscape day or night even from 39,000 feet. I ask for a window seat for that reason, I will leave shade up,if the guy beside doesn’t,t like it too bad , I pay good money for my seat and I do what I want.

  73. I think on a 7 AM flight (especially one largely with passengers going on vacation) it is eminently reasonable to enforce a windows closed rule. As many have noted, most passengers on that flight probably left for LAX around 4 AM on average (and probably even earlier given how far LAX can be depending on where you live) and thus didn’t get a full night’s sleep the night before. I imagine the majority of passengers probably wanted to sleep. You might be an early riser and can go to bed early the night before a trip, but I would imagine, more travelers (once again, especially the sort of traveler that typically flies to Hawaii) probably aren’t. Given that this isn’t really a situation where there is an easy compromise, I think the preference of the likely majority of passengers supersedes your personal desire to have the window shade open.

    Also, to be perfectly honest, even if I don’t want to sleep on a particular flight, if I’m on a flight where most of the windows are shut and only a couple are open, I find that even more annoying than having most or all of the windows open, especially if they are right across the aisle from me. My eyes get used to the darkened cabin so the dimmer overhead light is a lot more gentle on my eyes than the aggressive sunlight coming in from the window, so even if I need the light I would never open the window. I mean, at cruising altitude, you can’t really see that much, and that’s if there aren’t any clouds below you (also what is there to see on an LAX-HNL flight after a certain point besides more ocean?).

    Finally to those commenters who say that you buy a window seat so you can control it and if others want the shades down they should have bought a window seat, you realize that’s an absurd argument right? I almost always get window seats, but I can’t buy all of the window seats in the plane. Sure, you might be entitled to open the window, but maybe read the room every so often and realize its rude to do so if almost everyone else is trying to sleep.

  74. In these days where anything done against what crew tell you triggers paranoid responses from those around you, I would comply. Lest we see the zip ties

  75. Eye shades are not the solution. It is only polite to close the shades on a 7am flight. Light still gets through the shades.

    Once on an UA flight from SYD-SFO on a old 744 in F, the lights were broke such that the entire F cabin and the first 2 rows of Business were stuck on full bright the entire flight. Light still came through the shades. Very uncomfortable.

    Put the window shades down on early morning flights folks.

  76. I’m a window open person, it also helps me feel less claustrophobic + vitamin D during the day. Usually can get a compromise for half if someone really asked me. The views never get old whether it’s the rockies during the day or city lights at night. I’m never too hungover to enjoy a spectacular 7am sunrise.

  77. I choose to sit in a window seat because I like the view. I do try to select a seat on the side of the plane where there isn’t direct sunlight glaring in though. In those cases I’ll close the shade out of courtesy, but if I’m on the “shade” side of the plane I don’t feel like I’m being a jerk by not accommodating someone elses preference. Here’s where civility can go a long way as if someone asks nicely I will do it and just peek out now and then.

  78. Down. Always down! If you’re such a special snowflake and need light, turn on the overhead light and don’t ruin someone else’s sleep (or tv/movie watching).

  79. For those who think we should calibrate the entire flight around the destination time zone…

    If I’m flying through 6 or more time zones but only staying 24-36 hours (a depressingly frequent occurrence), I want to keep my body clock on origin time.

    It’s why I love Qatar’s policy of “have what meal you want, when you want”.

    Incidentally, if it’s dark outside why do the shades even have to go down for sleeping? I’d rather get a gentle and natural sunrise to wake me up, than the crew just switching on overhead fluorescent lights.

  80. @ Mser

    If *you’re* such a snowflake that everyone else has to make the room dark before you can go to sleep, man up and buy some eyeshades.

    It’s called taking responsibility for yourself.

  81. @Doris Baldwin : good I want to see you stay up all 18 hours on DOH-AKL. If you sleep then you’re a hypocrite.

  82. You sound like a very spoiled child in your whiny rant. “I” want this, “I” had a good night’s sleep, “I” only complied because I would’ve been the only one who didn’t comply.
    Get over it. There’s nothing to see and loads of tired people who probably didn’t get your fantastic sleep the night before.

  83. I like the windows up, helps with claustrophobia and getting vitamin D. Usually can compromise for half if needed. The views never get old whether it’s the rockies during the day or flying over city lights. I’m never too hungover to enjoy a spectacular sunrise.

  84. Jeez Lucky, talk about nitpicking. It was a request to close the shades as a considerate gesture for the others around you, not an enforceable rule you had to comply with (like the shade open rule for takeoff/landing). If you didn’t want to close it, you should have left it open, pretty simple. IMO an airplane is still a public space, so one must balance their personal desires while respecting those around them.

  85. I always have a window seat. I select the window seat because I love to look out and I often take pictures my clouds, mountains or whatever. I do not like to be told to shut the shade. Once a guy in the seat in front of me reached back and shut the shade on my window, we were just taking off, like 4 in the afternoon, after a few minutes I opened it again. My seat, my window. Should I be uncomfortable, so you can be comfortable? How is someone else’s comfort or wants more important than mine? If you pick an aisle seat, I assume you want by the aisle. I pick a window seat to look out the window. Unless the sun is shining directly in, my window shade stays open. Even if you are sleepy, it is not my problem.

  86. @MSER: Up. Always up! If you’re such a special snowflake and need darkness, turn off the overhead light, invest in some eye shades, and don’t ruin someone else’s view.

    In fact, don’t be a snowflake and always thing about yourself. You are one 1 in 7.6 billion. The world does not center on you!

  87. At least 50% of the flights I take depart between 6-7 am. Never had an FA request we close the windows. Yep getting up at 4 am sucks, sucks for me too but that’s life. We either go to bed early or just suffer through it. I will be in a window seat, looking out the window.

  88. I’m extremely surprised by a few of the comments stating FA’s just want to be lazy and only ask so people won’t bother them. That’s not true. I’m a Flight attendant and have been for over a decade. One thing we know to be true is while one person complains, 20 more are happy and vice versa. Food for thought; we deal with no less than 150-300 passengers a day. Each thinking their problems are the most important and taking whatever went wrong during their travel out on us. Most of the time it’s only 3-5 of us depending on the aircraft and hundreds of passengers. Each of them having the “it’s all about me” attitude. It can and does become exhausting. We are there for your safety! We are not servants for hire on the flight. The service portion is an amenity that Airlines added to gain customers. We don’t go through months of training doing service. We train on safety and security. It’s a post 9/11 world. Be mindful of that. Majority of the things we do are from experience and knowledge of what the majority of passengers ask/want/need.

    On early morning flights we are often asked to make that announcement because most people have gotten up at 4/5am just to make flights that early and would like to rest. Evening flights are no different. It’s just thinking of others. Just because you got a great night sleep others didn’t. Bright blaring sunshine can be frustrating, regardless of the time. Especially on a plane. That is why there is a light above each seat. Maybe consider having the window half open so that it’s not too bright for others. Just be kind you aren’t the only person flying. If you were then you’d be flying private.

  89. fully agree with @Tiffany

    For me, keep the shades up! No cabin crew should demand or even block them. At the end of the day they are not the pax!
    Yes, if my seat mate asks me kindly to keep the shade down, due to his/hers preference, of course I would obey that request.

    Again for me, I specifically book day time flights because

    1) Even though I am frequent flyer, sometimes I get nervous. It clams me down being able to look outside the windows and having day light instead of shut down shades and a cabin light.
    2) Cabin crew on UA flight ZRH-EWR always require for the shades to be down during the whole 9 hour day flight! This still keeps happening to my colleagues, last time this Tuesday. Happened to me 1x – never flown UA on this route again!

    Also, many pax are not frequent flyers and for them it’s an experience to sit at the window, looking outside, enjoying the feeling, taking in the experience which so many of us take for granted

    If you want to work during your flight, try not to book window seat. If you want to sleep, try to accommodate flight time to this requirement or bring along a eye sleeping mask (majority flights + 6 hrs duration provide those also in economy)

  90. Suck it up buttercup… That’s what I think of all those poor people who have to wake up at 4am and can’t seem to function as a basic human being because they lost a few hours of sleep. I have zero sympathy for that argument. Plan ahead and prepare or dont book a 7am flight if your precious beauty sleep is that important to you. I have 630am flights all the time and I know full well I won’t sleep once I get on board because my brain just doesn’t work that way once I’ve been awake for a couple hours. I choose the window so I can choose what I want to do with the natural light. Obviously if there is direct light on myself or my neighbors, I’ll close it. I’m actually surprised by the number of people defending the FAs here. I thought the sun made people happy but sounds like a lot of people would rather travel the world in a windowless metal tube.

    I do however appreciate if when they ask people to close the shades before deboarding. Planes seem so much cooler for the next passengers when they do this.

  91. Wow, I find all these selfish opinions on here very disturbing-from both camps. When I was stationed in Japan, at times it took several hours to drive to Tokyo International or Haneda, add to that long work hours…then to work when I get to where I am going, forgive me if I prefer to forego the wonders of flight in exchange for some much needed sleep, which was mostly never enough in my 31+ years in uniform. (From Grafenwoehr to Frankfurt took 3 hours, Pyongtaek to Kimpo just as long) Then, there was the Crackberry because I had to catch up on emails. Lots of folks who travel professionally must do work on the flight to prepare for meetings / presentations etc.

    For the advocates of behaving like you are already at your destination – it may not be the destination of many others as they will continue on to places elsewhere.

    To the absolute shades up or down Nazis: wow, Adolf would be so proud of you.

    Whatever happened to kindness and consideration all the way around? Thankfully I managed to learn to sleep any and everywhere-had to. I know that is not possible for everyone.

    Also, just because you paid for a window seat doesn’t mean you get to terrorize every one else on the plane.

    Closing the shades on the ground when it blazing hot outside is common sense as the A.C. will only do so much.

    So nothing hard either way for me. I try to see it the way it makes the most sense. If I am asked to do so, I will. And yes, i am still amazed about flying. Also, there are so many more pressing issues out there that this is not the one to get hung up on.

  92. The folks traveling from DXB-LAX-HNL may be on a different sleep cycle than those originating in LAX. Just sayin.

  93. @James S – You really are an asshole. How dare you criticize someone’s choice of career and make them feel lesser. What kind of man are you?

  94. What a wonder it is to be up in the air flying through the clouds, gliding over mountains, lakes and rivers. If I wanted to watch TV in a dark room, I would stay home. I sleep best in a bed at home too. The Idea of hurling through the sky in a dark metal tube seem like an unnatural act. I like natural light to read and work. I get ill if I cannot occasionally look out the window. My wife is the same , she gets extremely claustrophobic with the shades down.
    I always buy a first class ticket and select a window seat. On international flights I fly westbound during the day. I do close my shade if the sun is shining in across the cabin. I try to pick the south side of the aircraft to avoid direct sunlight. I like to stay on the time zone I am traveling to, so I do sleep if I need to do business the next day. AND I PAY for my ticket with money, the stuff I earn when the flight lands. I pay to sit by the window. Think twice when you get that juicy upgrade and ask the person paying full price to close the shade. If you want to control the shade buy the ticket and select a seat by the window.

    I have only flown 4 million miles, not as many as Lucky and some of his associates, but still many miles. I still fly with my nose to the window looking out at the wonder of God’s creation. I will be in a dark windowless coffin soon enough.

  95. If i have a window seat then tough titty for the others. I usually request for window seat for that reason. If you want control then do the same. Otherwise…deal with it.

  96. Easy one Lucky. You just close the window shade 7/8 th of the way. Just enough light for you. And you can stare out the window from time to time.

  97. I’m really glad to read this, had a noon flight from DUB-JFK (DL) last month where they asked on loud speaker to lower the shades. I obliged over the Atlantic but once we get over Northern Canada, I opened the blinds because the views were so beautiful.

    I find the request odd when it’s mid-day and although brightness comes in the cabin, it wasn’t direct sunlight. I understand if direct light is coming in or if people are trying to sleep on a red-eye but this was neither.

  98. On a 7am flight, shades down for me above 10,000 ft but I usually peek outside every now and then. If there isn’t much sunlight coming through the window, I can leave the shades up. I don’t like seeing I’m inside the clouds, though. If I see most of the people sleeping in the cabin, I pull them down.

  99. It’s interesting how strongly people feel about this, me included. On daytime (!) flights between Asia and Europe it’s the norm among all airlines that the shades need to be closed, enforced by the crew. Fully closed, not even halfway or 3/4. For the circadian rhythm that’s by far the dumbest you could possibly ever choose to do, since it means people sleep during the day on the flight and then are fully rested when they arrive at night at their destination. Great for the crew (less work) and at least some punishment for these righteous fellow passengers. Good luck adapting to the time zone. I’m sure that the same passengers that wanted the slides down then passionately complain about jet lag which will also hit the beautiful toddlers, kids or whoever else that people always bring up in such cases. This extremely irking behavior of both crews and the passenger sheep is the reason why I like the 787 since at least there is some (albeit little) light still coming through at midday. It’s also the reason why redeyes now turn out to be better if you want to limit jetlag impact, since then you at least sleep when you roughly should.

  100. Up always up. I hate booking a window seat so i can look out and being told to close it.. As others have said eye masks work wonders infact i use an eye mask and ear plugs to sleep at work in the office on my lunch with no issues while life and others working goes on around me.

  101. How is an experienced flyer even concerned about this? If I’m on the window and I want the window shade up then it’s up. If the sun is glaring in through the window I’ll budge a little…but then I choose the other side of the plane for that reason.

    Sheesh, this is not even a concern.

  102. It’s not a concern for Lucky. Did you read what he wrote? He only brought this up because he thought it was odd for the crew to specifically ask for them to be lowered.

  103. I had this happen to me once too on a morning flight from San Diego to Boston which departed around 8 am I think and flight attendants asked that we lowered or closed the window shade so we could see the tv screens better without the brightness coming from outside

  104. Flight attendant here, and I’m appalled at some of the animosity directed at cabin crew. In addition to safety matters, flight attdenants are there to provide service to the best ability that our carrier allows us. We are only provisioned for so much, so please dont accuse your crew of only wanting to do the bare minimum. You have no idea how hard we work and how many unpaid hours we are on the job. Apart from takeoff, landing and red eyes, crew would only request that guests lower shades so that fellow passengers can better enjoy the IFE (or sleep on an early flight). While I agree that 7 am isn’t the *earliest* of departures, it is still a bit early for a vacation, especially heading into an earlier time zone.

    I’ve also flown Hawaiian many times and their crews always go above and beyond. I find your claims very hard to believe.

    Please check yourself next time you fly. There are hundreds of other passengers and you all paid about the same amount for your seat. It’s not all about you!

  105. I live for the view. I only close the shade/shades of the glare is severe or if a neighbor asks reasonably politely.

  106. Funnily enough im a steward for an airline carrier, worked in both intl and domestic.
    In addition i had commuted long and short distances for 10 years.
    I can see it from a number point of views.
    As crew we like to think about the collective.
    A 7 am flight would mean passengers would have been up at 3-4 am to leave home at 5 am to get the airport 1 hr prior in case of any delays with roadways or transport.
    Ultimately you can request to have window stay up. However most guest do comply and understand that one window can really illuminate the whole cabin which on the very few occassions it does happen. You would be the idol of many for having it up. I know passenegers occassionally open n then quickly close it. Its your call.

  107. If someone woke me up for being an inconsiderate her, they would learn about it. Not in a shouty way. Not passive aggressive. Superior English language skills.

    Mainly because thrashing them in the back of the head is frowned upon.

  108. Hi Lucky, i am sorry, but you do sound like a jerk. Just because 7 am is the departure time, doesnt mean that people materialise in the airport at 7 am straight from their beds. There will be people who want to sleep, and it would be better to keep them closed.

  109. Ben, seriously? You are choosing to get into a very small, confined space with hundreds of other people, none of whom will have the option to leave that space for many hours. If there is any time to compromise and reign in a childishly entitled need to have all your whims fulfilled exactly as you please, then it is when you are stuck in an aluminum tube with 300 other people 30,000 feet above the surface of the planet. The mere takeoff and landing of a jetliner on a scheduled flight is a masterpiece of human collaboration involving hundreds, if not thousands of different people. Grow the hell up and do your little, tiny part to make the absolute miracle of modern air travel go smoothly for the hundreds of others around you who are making it possible for you to wing across a huge and dangerous ocean in a few effortless hours for less than a days wages.

  110. Ben, I’m with you on this 100% and glad you made it a dedicated post. This issue is actually pretty close to my heart.

    Obviously, common courtesy should always prevail, like keeping the shade not all the way up or not up all the time and v.v. However, I find it decadent and downright bizarre if the whole plane is shut down for the entire flight, as has happened on a recent DL LAX-PDX morning flight. SO SAD. In this case, I was in an aisle seat, so I don’t know if I had succumbed to the peer pressure.

    It makes me feel claustrophobic, claustrophobic as in cargo plane or prison transport claustrophobia. Plus: I actually see potential safety issues during landing arising from disorientation. In fact, I distinctly remember flights on which passengers were instructed to open their shades during landing. I think for good reason.

    I sincerely hope that sunlight won’t become the new smoking. Maybe we’ll at least get to pick “sensual deprivation” or “natural light/non-sensual deprivation” seats in the interim before darkness/artificial light is universally enforced.

    I suppose even the next dark ages won’t last forever.

  111. It’s close to impossible to watch the IFE with window shades open, and its generally blinding. I close the shades and I usually ask for the shades to be closed. Of course I accept that from time to time, passengers may want to open them to take in the view or take pictures.

  112. Easier time for cabin crew. Dark cabin=sleeping passengers=no requests for drinks or assistance. Airline management can reduce working hours, employ more people so that crew don’t want easier flights out of sheer fatigue..

  113. It sounds pretty whiny. Life’s too short to make this big of a deal over it. A 7am departure means most people got up at 4-5am and since most people aren’t going to bed at 8pm like Lucky then it’s not unreasonable to have the shades shut.
    Planes run on what’s best for the majority, rather than the individual, because it’s a shared public space.

  114. Most passengers want to sleep at 7am. This is nothing more than trying to appease the majority who are tired and appreciate a dark cabin in the morning and want to sleep. Majority rules. On the other hand, had the flight attendants turned the cabin lights on too bright for the service, many of you would be bitching about that too. =D

  115. Why not get rid of windows entirely. Then the cigar tube experience would be complete. I’m with you, open widows are the only thing that makes flying bearable. After 25 years of regular flying I’m still inspired by the view. As far as I’m concerned, anyone who would rather sit in the dark for 5 hours while plugged into their entertainment unit has already committed to the dystopian future with their brain in a vat on the shelf.

  116. This is stupid. If I want to look out a fucking window I will. If they won’t let me then they will have to forcibly remove me and make the whole flight late.not a fucken duplicate

  117. If anyone of you have flown VX you know all shades are shut. The damn plane is the walking dead. Last week SFO DAL I was in 2F and as soon as I sat down all 3 shades open. Departure time was 12pm arrive Dallas 5pm. I enjoyed sipping my cocktail while looking out the window. They remained open during the whole flight. Everyone else had them closed even for takeoff(that’s a whole different discussion about safety)

    Sounds like lazy HA FA to me. 7am give me a break the sun is up and if I want to look out the window then so be it.

  118. I absolutely love flying. My Mother, Father, Grandfather and Uncle all got there private pilots licenses together in 1967, so there was a lot of weekend flying in my family and being in a small plane (Cessna 172/182) we were always able to look out the windows and witnessing the gift of flight and the wonder of our world that we are paying to catch a glimpse of. So when I fly I love to look out the window too. I believe if you don’t like the light, put on a mask. It kinda goes with people complaining about the noise or a crying baby, which much of the time can’t be controlled. I began carrying ear buds/headphones a couple of years ago so I could sleep if there was a crying baby or a chatty Kathy near me. This way I could drift off to sleep when I wanted or enter the world of personal me space without being to rude. It is all about having a choice!

  119. I absolutely hate it. I was on a China Eastern flight where I was antagonized by flight attendants for having my window shade raised. At 2pm. Nonstop berating. Not even friendly, they were legit angry over something as pointless as this. At one point, I inched it every few minutes. Though when I went to the bathroom it was returned… totally ridiculous that if it’s 2pm local time you are expected to have them closed. Even at night why bother? They make you open them for landing/takeoff so that you are adjusted to the ambient light outside – wouldn’t that same extend if there is an inflight emergency and you have people unable to adjust to the lighting levels.

  120. So, if you’re a “My window seat, my window, my shade…shade up ALWAYS” sorta person, then you shouldn’t be surprised if a “My aisle seat, my aisle” person doesn’t move their stuff or get up for you to get to your window seat if they boarded first or when you need to use the lavatory. Or help hand service items to you. See how silly that sounds?

    Compromise is the name of the game, kiddos.

  121. I love @Tiffany remark. I agree.
    Although, when asked Ill lower my shade- but my bigger issue is…..
    Why is it that I buy a Front Cabin (First of Biz) aisle seat months in advance and someone ‘forces’ me to move from their upgraded window seat to mine……so they can seat with their partner for 2 hours!? And, I have to move to their window seat? Much more annoying.

  122. I spend the whole flight looking out the window. I don’t get that opportunity everyday and it is the highlight of flying for me. It seems with the excuse of security concerns, flight attendants have gotten more bossy and demanding against passengers since 911. Often using their authority on nonsecurity issues and asserting personal opinions quite subjectively. This never used to happen. An overnight flight, fine close the shades. But windows are for looking out of. Why even have windows if your are going to block them? If you are so sleepy that you need to sleep at 7am then go to sleep and mind your own business instead of making your problem mine. Why do you need to ruin my flight for your sleep? Shades should be open during daytime unless the sun is pointing directly in.

  123. Prabuddha says:
    October 12, 2017 at 7:41 pm
    I like to force my body to adjust to the time zone of the arrival city by following that time zone as soon as I get on a plane. I have been on evening departures from the West Coast to Dubai. As soon as I get on I would like to sleep for a while and then get woken up and get breakfast , keep the shades open to get sunlight to adjust circadian rhythms and then before landing in Dubai get Dinner. Instead the idiot hostesses serve dinner as soon as we get on and then ask us to close the shades and sleep. What that means is when you land in Dubai in evening local time you are still on West Coast time and jetlagged as hell. It should be a rule to follow the food and sleep patterns of the place you are going to on long flights..

    Did he just use /call proffessionals as idiots and no one seem to notice ! Shows the world we live in! Am just going to leave it here.

  124. We just returned last night from a two week vacation in Hawaii. There was no request to raise or lower the shades. However, we took a flight to another island during our stay at mid-day and most of the shades were down (except mine) which made it really dark. I wanted to see the scenery on the 25 minute flight. Also I can’t see why the shades are down on night flights.

  125. LAX to HNL? they probably spent the night in the airport to make sure they got there on time with all that ridiculous traffic that you now have to deal with.

  126. When I choose a window seat, I am often paying more and giving up the greater convenience of an aisle seat

    So you bet I control it. That’s why I chose it!

  127. Conor,

    In 40 years of flying, thousands of flights and millions of miles, I have NEVER heard that 10,000 foot “rule”. Where the heck did you pluck that from?

  128. No shortage of comments on this… but in the US you often start the flight with the shades down. They are down when you get on. Makes for a depressing experience. That doesn’t happen elsewhere in the world, where there are often rules about having them open for takeoff and landing.

  129. I am with you 1000%. I always choose a window seat and one reason is to enjoy the sunlight and the view in the daytime or even the skies at night. I like the warmth of the sun and having the shade open cuts down on the claustrophobia of the cabin. I am sorry, but all of the comments about the overhead light miss the point. It is not just “light” I want – it is “sunlight.” I will lower the shade if the light is directly reflecting on a row-mate’s or other immediate neighbor’s screen – until the sun’s position changes and it is no longer an issue, but it is ridiculous to have to be responsible for an entire cabin. If anyone is so sleep deprived or so sensitive that sunlight in the daytime is deeply distressing, he/she should bring an eye mask. I expect that sounds like entitlement, discourtesy and lack of consideration, but those things do work both ways ….

  130. Chris,

    The blinds are down either because the previous passenger had them that way or the cabin crew prefer it. First thing I do is open them.

  131. I’m with the shades open crowd! I sit on the aisle mostly because I tend to get cold and I hate to be trapped by everyone else when I need to get up. So, I live with what my seatmates do. But I’d MUCH prefer the daylight and views. And so many people get on and close the shades. Flying isn’t just about getting there. Airplanes still have views!

  132. Flying is so boring for most people. And in L.A., a 07.00 departure means a 03.00 or 04.00 wake up call for a lot of people, depending on where they live and whether they had to turn in a rental car. Some of those people might have stayed up most of the night packing or being stressed out.

    I’d probably be one of those exhausted people who wanted to sleep.

  133. It depends on the reason – e.g. if it is for take off/landing or for a security purpose, for example then that’s a different issue. However, I would not want to be the only non compliant one, either.

  134. I’m with you in this case. I use flight time to handle jet lag, which means if it is daylight where I’m going, I want sunlight. It is more than illumination, our bodies respond to sunlight, so the “use the cabin light” response is inadequate. The only time I’m at the window is in Business Class (economy I always take the aisle). In that case I like to have sunlight at the appropriate times and will keep my window shade partially or fully open. If asked, I’ll respond that I prefer the shade open and most times the FA will demur. I may get multiple FAs asking but I can’t recall being forced to do so (as some have reported).

    I get that FAs like sleeping passengers, but that is not my concern. For those who claim a commons problem (my sunlight affects everyone else in the cabin) I have a simple answer: that is what eye shades are for.

    Too many flyers accept the airline schedule and then suffer jet lag. We are fed based on where we left, not where we are going, and the cabin light has the same problem. When I landed in Hong Kong this week at 6pm, I got off the plane without jet lag. I slept for the initial part of the flight, when it was early morning in Hong Kong and was up during Hong Kong daylight hours. Others stayed on San Fran time, sleeping only for the last hours of the flight. I bet most of them had trouble getting to sleep that night. Exposing my self to sunlight at the right times is part of the adjustment process and should be used as such.

  135. Sorry Lucky but this is when you sound like a jerk…its great and all that youre a morning person but be reasonable: 7 am flight? to Hawaii of all places? im assuming most people woke up at 4 am or earlier and want to catch a little bit of sleep to arrived refreshed at the destination. You saying you need ur window open because ur solar powered is just as annoying as that one guy who has it open on a redeye because hes the only not tired.

  136. Based on my experience, having the shades open on daytime flights helps enormously to adjust time and avoid jet lag. FAs requesting shades down are just lazy ….

    On the other hand side, I strongly welcome shades down on overnight flights, since it helps to get a few hours extra sleep.

    Now 7AM is a border line case, as it is 4AM at the destination. So I would probably tolerate this – but not later in the day!

  137. Whatever happened to basic reading comprehension? A lot of people seem to be calling Lucky a jerk here even though he complied with the request and kept his shade lowered. Posting without reading the whole article just makes you the jerk here!

  138. Hello Lucky and fellow morning people! I’m a flight attendant and here’s what our company encourages: closing window blinds when it’s very hot and sunny, to keep the cabin cool and comfortable. Or, if the flight is leaving in the dark and flying into the morning sun. However, people who choose a window seat pay more for it. If they want to open the shade, it’s their right… and they paid for it!

  139. Wow Lucky, you stirred the pot this time!
    While I can see the argument on both sides, I was pleased to see so many people taking others in mind when making their decision.
    That is with the exception of the guy who decided that if he was asked to close his shade so others might sleep. His petty little entitled attitude was that they would get no sleep. Really?! Best hope I am never in the aisle seat on a flight with you! Pull that with me and you would be told I paid extra for that seat to sit in it and if you want to run to the bathroom then be prepared to climb over me! Two can be as snotty as you!

  140. Window seats DO NOT COST MORE!

    Window seats with open blinds affect at least 15 people downstream!

    People who insist on disrupting the other people in the cabin are selfish “entitled” millennials or just jerks! Its “all about me”, not anyone else!

    In flight – windows down unless it is between 11AM and 1 PM at which time they can be open since there will be no effect on others in the cabin. Love the Dreamliner – close all the blinds.

    Flew ICN-LAX and was unable to see my screen for 14 hours in J because the clown across the other side of the aircraft had the only window open that shone directly on my screen. Clown would not close the window.

    This has NOTHING to do with the flight crew – they are trying to assist the MAJORITY of passengers.

  141. The extreme number of selfish statements starting with Luckys “I’m a morning person and I’m solar powered” to those who say “if you want control, book a window seat” showcase so much that’s wrong with our world today.
    What about those who aren’t “solar powered”. Of course, that would mean Lucky doesn’t need to eat, and makes him a medical marvel.
    What about those who booked the flight at the last minute and there weren’t window seats available?
    Sheesh. Grow up and and stop whining about every little thing.

  142. Anne

    If he needs a pee then he is climbing over you, one way or the other. Better that he does it in a way that doesn’t disturb or harm you.

    Rule of thumb. If you want to control the shades, pick a window seat. By not doing so, you concede that right and privilege to others for whom it mattered more

  143. The window issue is situational, but my general belief applies to all planes as you are in control of your own comfort.

    If you have an aisle seat, you control the window. It’s what you paid for and selected, if someone (as in a passenger) politely asks you to close then close it. Otherwise bring eyeshades or something. It’s no different than the person in the aisle getting up when being politely asked to move so people can use the bathroom, otherwise they stretch their legs.

    @Azamaraal – (I say respectfully) You also can’t assume that a window seat costs the same, more or less than others unless you monitor the prices each person paid for each seat.

    I was in Etihad First class (Apartment), and was asked to close my shades by the FA. Now since I have the entire row to myself and no one was in the suite across from me, and there is a door to each suite I don’t see the problem. I complied but was upset since at this amount of money you can’t even regulate whether or not you can raise or lower shades….

  144. I would bet your were on an AA flight. I have been on 11:05 am departures from ATL to LAX where the same announcement was made. I like to read during the daytime flights (newspapers, books), and the overhead LEDs are not bright enough to do that when the cabin is dark. I don’t think it is unreasonable for a flight departing at mid-day to have open shades. Conversely, I go out of my not to be “that jerk” on the red-eye, or any other flight during darkness, who has a reading light on during the entire flight. I will either watch a video on the iPad or sleep.

  145. Martin,


    1) The shades should generally be open as the plane approaches for landing. Passengers are generally awake, and may people want to see the approach

    2) Pilots and FAs can alert passengers to landmarks during flight. This happens most often with the Grand Canyon in my experience

    3) Passengers are free to open the windows in the evening / at night. No issue here

    The fact is that a low sunlight cabin is the most conducive to passenger comfort – resting, sleeping, reading, etc. In the morning and through most of the day, shades should be down. On the 787, it’s no wonder that the shades are always dimmed during the day.

  146. My first flight was at age 16. I am now 65 and have flown thousands of miles in my life time. For the first time ever on a midday flight from Boston to LA did i experience the crowded claustrophobic feeling of flying in a darkened cabin with 95% of the window shades down. It was like flying in a long closet. This is a generational thing with many passengers absorbed in their laptops, phones and watching movies. Very frustrating when flying over the Rockies and Grand Canyon or simply enjoying the beauty of cloudscapes. I will from here on take the window seat because it is the view I am paying for.

  147. I personally find it very annoying to have to fly enclosed in what feels like a flying in a crowded closet with all the window shades down. This is a recent phenomena as I have been flying since I was 16 …50 years ago..and only recently have I had to deal with this claustrophobic nonsense. There was a time when people..with open window shades… entertained themselves in conversation, sleeping or reading a book or magazine or simply lost in thought gazing out at the cloud tops instead of mesmerized by a back of the seat movie. It is frustrating to fly over the Rockies or Grand Canyon or the beauty of set sunset or sunrise and being able to see it. It is the whole experience of jet flight that is lost to movie and laptop screens.

  148. I honestly don’t care what anyone else thinks. What’s the point of selecting a window seat if you can’t look out the window. I leave mine open. Period. You don’t like it, get some eye shades. Why is your lightness or darkness my issue? Why is it my responsibility to close the shade versus your responsibility to bring eye shades? Call me a jerk. I’m over 49 and truly don’t care.

  149. I think a lot of people are missing the point that not all people on any flight have reached their final destination.

    Some people have another flight following or had one prior, and some even have an international route.

    In premium and first class, it is expected to keep your window shut. I think all travelers in economy & coach deserve that same luxury. Not to mention, children with their parents should not be expected to wear an eye mask.

    One person should never benefit at the cost of multiple other people’s comfort. I find this whole debate absurd and insensitive.

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