Airplane Window Shade Etiquette: Who Has Control?

Airplane Window Shade Etiquette: Who Has Control?

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There are lots of opinions when it comes to appropriate airplane etiquette, ranging from seat recline, to dressing up, to changing seats with others, and more. In this post I wanted to address the topic of etiquette around opening and closing airplane window shades.

Who controls airplane window shades, and what’s reasonable? Also, what happens when crews try to take control of window shades on longer flights?

The person in the window seat controls window shades

On the most basic level, the person in the window seat has control over the window shades, and shouldn’t need permission from the person in other seats as to how the window shades are kept. The person in the window seat can, within reason, decide if they want the window shade opened or closed during the flight.

One of my favorite things about flying is looking out the window and appreciating just what a miracle aviation is, and the ability to control the window shade is one of the reasons I typically choose a window seat when flying. While it’s of course their prerogative, I’m always surprised by how many people just keep the window shades closed for the entire flight, no matter how pretty it is outside.

The person in the window seat controls the window shades

Be considerate of others, use the golden rule

While I firmly believe the person in the window seat controls window shades, there are limits:

  • You should be considerate of others — if the sun is blinding someone else because your window shade is open, consider lowering it
  • Use the golden rule — if the person seated next to you asks politely for the window shade to be lowered, and has a legitimate reason, consider compromising
  • Don’t get into a confrontation — if someone is rude about you having the window shade open, or rudely demands you close it, don’t get into it, and either just agree or ask a crew member to get involved, because we don’t need any more inflight disturbances
Try to be considerate of other passengers as well

Go with the flow in the cabin

I do think there’s something to be said for taking cues from other passengers as well. If you are on a long haul flight and every other passenger has their window shades closed, consider closing your window shades as well.

It’s one thing if half or a quarter of window shades in a cabin are open, but when just one window shade is open, the glare is extremely unpleasant for others, whether they’re trying to sleep or watch seatback entertainment.

Now, let me be clear, this often frustrates me, as I’m often tempted to be less courteous. Sometimes you’ll be on a daytime flight across the Atlantic over Greenland, where the views are ridiculously gorgeous, yet the cabin is pitch black. I’m always so tempted to keep my window shades open, but I think if you’re the only person doing so, you should probably reconsider, at least for extended periods of time.

Follow the cues of others with window shades

What about crews closing window shades?

It’s not uncommon to see flight attendants suggest that passengers close window shades. This can come in a few different forms:

  • Crews will sometimes make an announcement along the lines of “we know a lot of people will be trying to sleep on this flight, so we ask that you go ahead and lower your window shades to allow them to rest”
  • In premium cabins (or empty flights otherwise) crews will sometimes come through the cabin and just close window shades themselves, to make the cabin darker
  • On Boeing 787s (which have window dimmerssome A350s have these as well now), crews will sometimes take it upon themselves to dim windows and “lock” them, so that passengers can’t change the setting (this practice is sometimes discouraged by airlines)
Crews will sometimes ask passengers to close window shades

Personally I think there’s merit to this on an overnight flight, especially an eastbound one, where the sun can in some cases rise just a few hours after setting. That being said, personally I think some airlines take it to the extreme:

  • I get frustrated by crews insisting all window shades be lowered on a westbound daytime transatlantic flight, when I generally prefer to stay awake, and not sit in darkness for hours on end
  • I get especially annoyed by this on shorter morning flights, like an 8AM flight from California to Hawaii, where the crew asks all passengers to lower window shades because some people want to sleep; it’s daytime, I’m a morning person and got a good night of sleep, I’m solar powered, and I don’t want to sleep
Not how I like my cabins on daytime flights!

What do I do in these situations?

  • I try to be considerate of others, so I’m never going to be the only person to keep my window shade open, and will generally go with the flow; I also won’t be the first to close it, though
  • On a long haul daytime flight where the crew tries to get passengers to close window shades, I will be among the first people to “reopen” my window shade around the time the pre-arrival meal is served, which I think is fair

Bottom line

If you’re an avgeek like me, gazing out the window and watching the world go by is one of the best parts of flying. Unfortunately not everyone shares my enthusiasm, which is why I always try to snag a window seat, so I have control of the position of the window shades.

While I absolutely think the person in the window seat should control the window shades, I also think it’s important to be considerate of others, and on some level to go with the flow in the rest of the cabin.

Where do you stand on airplane window shades, both when it comes to who has control, and what’s appropriate on longer flights, particularly daytime ones?

Conversations (63)
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  1. Chuck Decker Guest

    If you want control of the window shade, select a window seat. If someone asks politely, ofc consider closing it/compromise, but it's ultimately up to the window seat passenger, very simple.

    Airplanes have windows - expect them to be looked out of. If you want to sleep, you should bring a blindfold.

  2. Maria tea Guest

    Hello
    I feel its strange how the person on window seat often feels the need to keep it shut through the entire flight. In my opinion, that person could have chosen a different seat, and have people that enjoy the view seating on that seat. I would like to say more, but i dont enjoy typing on my phone, i may come back from my computer.

  3. Lord Bowdon Guest

    Absolutely disgusted with the airplane FA demanding I close my north facing window shade on a westbound transatlantic flight this week - 9 hours. I was ORDERED to bring the shade down with the threat of being arrested on arrival for failure for to follow flight crew instruction. I contacted the airline's customer support immediately on landing and they still have not got back to me to tell me whether there is an airline policy...

    Absolutely disgusted with the airplane FA demanding I close my north facing window shade on a westbound transatlantic flight this week - 9 hours. I was ORDERED to bring the shade down with the threat of being arrested on arrival for failure for to follow flight crew instruction. I contacted the airline's customer support immediately on landing and they still have not got back to me to tell me whether there is an airline policy or this is just so the FAs can have an easier time.

  4. Hal Greer Guest

    Absurd. On a daytime westbound long haul, say depart LHR 11:15am for LAX (I'm looking at you, AA 137), I will NOT close my shade, as the author suggests in overdone deference, merely out of consideration for the majority who have decided to nap (in the middle of the day!) or watch the IFE (like they can't do that at home). Keeping the shade open helps me reset my body clock, helps me stay alert...

    Absurd. On a daytime westbound long haul, say depart LHR 11:15am for LAX (I'm looking at you, AA 137), I will NOT close my shade, as the author suggests in overdone deference, merely out of consideration for the majority who have decided to nap (in the middle of the day!) or watch the IFE (like they can't do that at home). Keeping the shade open helps me reset my body clock, helps me stay alert to do work during that long flight which otherwise is a wasted day, and provides me with that lovely view of Greenland which, if some jaded passenger isn't interested in, fine, let them shut their shade--not mine. I consider myself an otherwise carefully considerate and polite and low-maintenance flyer, but at some point I draw the line. Too much consideration = you're a sheep.

  5. Jon Guest

    Sometimes the lack of courtesy over one thing leads to a negative response by another. On a long Boston to LA flight with me in the window seat and my petite wife in the center, a very large man came and sat in the aisle seat sprawling his legs apart to fit, thus taking about half of my wife's space, next demanding a seat-belt extender from the flight attendant. He struggled to fit that around...

    Sometimes the lack of courtesy over one thing leads to a negative response by another. On a long Boston to LA flight with me in the window seat and my petite wife in the center, a very large man came and sat in the aisle seat sprawling his legs apart to fit, thus taking about half of my wife's space, next demanding a seat-belt extender from the flight attendant. He struggled to fit that around his torso but after that he proceeded to scarf down a huge tray of stinky food from some cheap airport take-out place, stinking up the cabin. This was a person who obviously should have been required to purchase two seats. After politely requesting he stay in his own space, just prior to takeoff, my wife had had enough and was granted a seat change by the attendant who witnessed all of this. I am normally a very patient an obliging passenger, but this was too much, so when he turned on his screen to watch a movie later and asked me to close the shade I flatly refused, enjoying his complaints about the glare, even though I would have normally closed the shade in a heartbeat. For some unknown reason, people today seem to think they can do whatever they want to others but when it comes to them, they want everyone to concede to their demands. How sad!

  6. Coral King Guest

    I hate being in a flying movie theater. The best show on the road is out the window. I flew over NYC at night at 8 years old and still remember the awe! I recently came in for landing at O'Hare early morning and it was a beautiful landing.

  7. KBB Guest

    I am a window person. I love to look out the window and it helps me with anxiety. Folks have eye covers, etc. I agree with the earlier post about folks reaching backwards to close a shade - absolutely not my friend. I had a wonderful FA on a long flight from CDG - LAX. I explained to her that I am a little claustrophobic and could she please not lock the shades on the 787. She could not have been more kind and did just that. Thank you American Airlines.

  8. Vito Guest

    I don’t know if it’s only my personal experience, but I only found this issue on US airlines. I’m also a “window” guy, especially if I’m flying in a premium cabin and, the only crews that forced me to close my shade were from US airlines. Normally, they don’t ask that nicely, by the way… Also, never heard of other airlines taking control of 787/350 windows…

  9. Gary Steiger - FreeFrequentFlyerMiles.com Guest

    I have not seen a business class seat that does not include an eye mask. I was once asked by a crew member to close my window shade in the daytime. I refused, because the views of the ice were spectacular, and suggested that the crew member suggest to the passenger making this request that he or she wear the eye mask. Done.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      @Gary Steiger have yet to travel in short haul business class.

      But I enjoyed your GeoCities 'homepage'. Look straight out of the 90s. Too bad it looks like you didn't do it OG style using a text editor.

  10. LJ Guest

    I sit in the window seat for the view, esp flying overseas. I do not feel unless it is night flight I should be required to shut my shade for someone else's desire to sleep- wear an eye mask if you want! I am not a rude person but pay extra for the vista!

  11. Linda Guest

    We travel overseas and I need my window seat, esp for viewing the mountains and beautiful blue oceans. I have been kindly asked to shut screen simply when someone wants to close their eyes, but for me, I paid extra for this seating and I want to enjoy the view- nighttime- no brainer- but when dawn is breaking- I plan to watch our sun rise over a new place and from the skies overhead! I...

    We travel overseas and I need my window seat, esp for viewing the mountains and beautiful blue oceans. I have been kindly asked to shut screen simply when someone wants to close their eyes, but for me, I paid extra for this seating and I want to enjoy the view- nighttime- no brainer- but when dawn is breaking- I plan to watch our sun rise over a new place and from the skies overhead! I am never rude but plan on taking a stance!( remember if you want to sleep during the day, they sell eye masks for that!!!!!)

  12. Bill Guest

    I pick window seats so I can look out the window. Deal with it. If it’s an overnight flight where everyone is sleeping and it’s bright outside I don’t keep the window open. If someone is next to me and the light causes a glare off their screen I lower the shade enough so it’s not an issue. All other situations people can use eye masks or book window seats. For takeoff/landing I’m keeping the...

    I pick window seats so I can look out the window. Deal with it. If it’s an overnight flight where everyone is sleeping and it’s bright outside I don’t keep the window open. If someone is next to me and the light causes a glare off their screen I lower the shade enough so it’s not an issue. All other situations people can use eye masks or book window seats. For takeoff/landing I’m keeping the shades up. FAs locking the window controls for anything other than safety is obnoxious.

  13. Hugh Kruzel Guest

    This is why my preferred seat is 8K on a Dreamliner

    1. Eskimo Guest

      I quite sure seat L1 can control you shade on the Dreamliner.

    2. L for the Win Guest

      So you like other people having control.

  14. George Romey Guest

    If controlling the window shade means so much to one then reserve/buy a window seat. IDK why this needs to be so complicated.

  15. Mantis Guest

    This is easy. Window seat gets to do what they want with the window shade. If you don't like it then choose a window seat next time. The obvious exception is when a FA directs you otherwise, since you must comply with FA directives. Stop with enabling people that feel they constantly get to tell people what to do.

  16. James Guest

    I’m Australian, and have traveled extensively world wide. When I traveled to the US, and flew domestically, I was shocked to see upon boarding that all the window shades were closed, and people were not required to have them open for take off and landing. I’m guessing the US has different safety regulations to most other countries.

  17. Michael_FFM Diamond

    This is a practice which has crept in on daytime flights over the years, and I find it quite annoying on these, especially on westbound transatlantic flights.
    I think part of the reason why crew tries to implement it, is that with shades closed there is a higher chance that passengers are less active, or even sleeping. And less active or (even better) sleeping passengers don't require to be served costly food and drinks....

    This is a practice which has crept in on daytime flights over the years, and I find it quite annoying on these, especially on westbound transatlantic flights.
    I think part of the reason why crew tries to implement it, is that with shades closed there is a higher chance that passengers are less active, or even sleeping. And less active or (even better) sleeping passengers don't require to be served costly food and drinks. Less work, lower cost, win-win for airlines and crews.
    During the night and the early morning it is a completely different matter though. People tend to want to sleep then, so shades should be closed.
    However it's interesting there, that even in business breakfast service starts sometimes two hours or more before arrival. Consideration for passenger's sleep is much lower then, strangely.

    1. Nelson Guest

      @Michael;
      Can't agree. During night it's dark outside, so shades don't change anything for sleeping if you wan't.
      For your breakfast issue in Business/First, you just ask the FA's not to wake you up until one hour before landing and you still have time for your breakfast. I don't have that problem because I never sleep on planes.

  18. Mark Guest

    The first time I flew back to the UK from Japan, we were travelling over Siberia during the ostensibly night part of the flight when I (as an apparently much worse sleeper than Ben) decided that I would like to would like to get an idea of what Siberia looked like from the air. Opening the window blind was like shining a laser across the cabin! I immediately shut the blind again but after I'd...

    The first time I flew back to the UK from Japan, we were travelling over Siberia during the ostensibly night part of the flight when I (as an apparently much worse sleeper than Ben) decided that I would like to would like to get an idea of what Siberia looked like from the air. Opening the window blind was like shining a laser across the cabin! I immediately shut the blind again but after I'd seen that it didn't appear to have disturbed anyone, I cracked it open again to satisfy my curiosity.

  19. drennman Guest

    I have no problem with etiquette. My problem is during a daytime flight when the crew closes all the shades. This is especially starting to happen on EU to US flights (Westbound). The flights leave during the day and land in the day.

    Eastbound flights are a different thing as you are flying overnight and it makes sense to try to get some sleep.

    Pretending it's nighttime during the day does nothing to...

    I have no problem with etiquette. My problem is during a daytime flight when the crew closes all the shades. This is especially starting to happen on EU to US flights (Westbound). The flights leave during the day and land in the day.

    Eastbound flights are a different thing as you are flying overnight and it makes sense to try to get some sleep.

    Pretending it's nighttime during the day does nothing to help your body clock reset and since sleeping lots of hours during the day only makes me unable to sleep the night after arrival. Never mind that the views can be fantastic.

    It does seem to lighten the work load on the crew but I am starting to find it nightmare-ish. ~13 hours in the dark during the day gets to be horrible. Reading lights are hard on the eyes.

    Let the daylight in! Let those who want their shades down do it but let's not institutionalize the practice. I have flow these routes for decades and don't remember everything in 100% darkness. I have found this practice for example on Level and TAP.

    1. Nelson Guest

      @Drennman;
      I have flown TP for over 30 years LIS-GRU. Back in time they had only one daily flight departing around 11h in the morning. After serving lunch the FA's ask personally everybody do put the shades down. I always refused, first it was a full daily flight, second I can't sleep in planes (even in Business) and third, I like to look whenever I want outside. Those who don't like, for years there...

      @Drennman;
      I have flown TP for over 30 years LIS-GRU. Back in time they had only one daily flight departing around 11h in the morning. After serving lunch the FA's ask personally everybody do put the shades down. I always refused, first it was a full daily flight, second I can't sleep in planes (even in Business) and third, I like to look whenever I want outside. Those who don't like, for years there is even a nightflight or if they don't like, there's something called eyemask.

  20. Srini A Guest

    I live in Maui and i am amazed as to the number of people keeping the windows closed while we come in to land. Most US airlines don't require the shades up to land it seems unlike other countries I've been to. If I'm in an aisle seat i politely ask the window person if they would mind opening the window for landing since its so beautiful seeing the islands. I never get tired of...

    I live in Maui and i am amazed as to the number of people keeping the windows closed while we come in to land. Most US airlines don't require the shades up to land it seems unlike other countries I've been to. If I'm in an aisle seat i politely ask the window person if they would mind opening the window for landing since its so beautiful seeing the islands. I never get tired of the view. On long haul international flights there's always one person who opens a window while everyone is sleeping and it's glaring bright outside. It's just one of the many inconveniences of travel... You need to go into a zen mode and i consider it a test to see how calm i can be.

  21. Jürgen Guest

    I must say I think the daytime transatlatlantic flight routine to close the windows only serves the flight crews. Sleepy customers means less interactions, nothing else. I always keep my window open during a day flight.

  22. Beachfan Guest

    My pet peeve is when the person in the window across the aisle from my seat has their shade up, a glare on my TV screen, and has fallen asleep.

  23. joe Guest

    I think for safety, windows should always be open for takeoff and landing.

    Situational awareness of what is going on outside, and also so eyes are more adjusted to outside lighting levels.

    1. Samo Guest

      Open shades during take-off/landing are a requirement in most of the world.

  24. mauipeter Guest

    'I am solar powered.' I will remember that, when some lady from some middle seat asks me to lower my shades, so she can see better whatever she doing on her personal device. Happened last July on UA in Polaris. Asked the FA, and she told me it's my right to do with the shades whatever I like to, and I told her I just love looking outside. When I later went to sleep, with...

    'I am solar powered.' I will remember that, when some lady from some middle seat asks me to lower my shades, so she can see better whatever she doing on her personal device. Happened last July on UA in Polaris. Asked the FA, and she told me it's my right to do with the shades whatever I like to, and I told her I just love looking outside. When I later went to sleep, with shades closed, going transatlantic to Europe, she actually took a couple pictures of Greenland from upfront, and emailed them to me after I had arrived in Germany.

  25. Hank Tarn Guest

    I notice that women are the most selfish when it comes to controlling the window, especially if they are with young children, then other passengers needs seem to be completely forgotten. If they cannot cope they should stay at home with the kids.

    1. AD Diamond

      Wow, Hank, is this 1950? Women should stay at home with their kids? I missed the time warp we just went through.

    2. Michael_FFM Diamond

      "if they cannot cope"

  26. Azamaraal Diamond

    This seems to come around every once in a while. The problem is that people naturally only consider their own situation. Probably the majority of passengers are on a single flight without a transfer. But most of the time our trips are long segments with long connects so what might be day time for you could be my 25'th hour without a bed and am I would be desperate to catch 40 winks. What is...

    This seems to come around every once in a while. The problem is that people naturally only consider their own situation. Probably the majority of passengers are on a single flight without a transfer. But most of the time our trips are long segments with long connects so what might be day time for you could be my 25'th hour without a bed and am I would be desperate to catch 40 winks. What is there to see at 43,000 ft over the arctic? Unless you have better eyes than me you won't be seeing a polar bear. A lot of white! Lemme sleep, darn it.

    The other issue is glare on the screen. Flew transpacific Seoul to LA "overnight" in June trans polar - no darkness there - for 15 hours. The entire trip a passenger on the other side of the plane in J (the only one) insisted on leaving the shade open and I was unable to see the screen no matter what I tried. The FA asked him to lower the shade and he did so, until she went back to her seat. So my movie(S) turned into AUDIO BOOKS as I could not see the screen. It was a pretty old Business seat so perhaps the newer screens might be visible even with strong incipient light shining directly on the screen. Hopefully. (Really was not happy with mr inconsiderate).

    1. Samo Guest

      You can always put a mask on your eyes. But we have no way to get natural light when the shades are closed.

      I'm sorry, but if you ask people (many of whom are trying to fight jetlag) to deprive themselves of perhaps the only natural light they can get on that day, it's you who is inconsiderate.

  27. XPL Diamond

    I've never understood the people who want other people to put their shades down. If you want to sleep that's fine, and that's what eye shades are for. (Glare and direct sun are special cases of course.)

  28. crosscourt Guest

    Don't understand US carriers eg American have shades closed for take off and often landing. You get on board and shades are closed. They need to be open, it's a safety issue. Heaven forbid something happened on taxiway or on the runway. You need to see where you are. Thankfully smart airlines like Qantas insist shades are open for take off and landing.

    1. joe Guest

      I agree they should be closed for takeoff and landing, but closed while boarding is probably for comfort and efficiency since the cabin can get quite hot.

    2. DCYUKON Guest

      AA often does this even in the winter, so heat isn’t the issue.

  29. Close that window shade Guest

    I am a frequent flier (7M+ miles). I am TERRIFIED of takeoff and need the window shade closed for my sanity. Please keep in mind that people might be scared or have anxiety on take off, landing, or at any point in between.

    1. InternationalTraveler Gold

      I am really curious why you have flown 7M+ miles if you are terrified of the experience…?

    2. Azamaraal Diamond

      The other options, perhaps, are not reasonable? 7M+ on a cruise ship would take 388,889 hours or 16,203 days or 44.39 years (at full speed). If it was all done by car or train within NA then perhaps it would only be 20 odd years wasted?

      At a reasonable airplane cruise speed the travel time would be 1.33 years or so.

    3. Eskimo Guest

      @Azamaraal

      Not just the time savings, but the number of terrified experience.

      "I am TERRIFIED of takeoff"
      Means that miles matter much less than takeoff cycles.
      At 7M+ flying exclusively EWR-SIN would net around 740 takeoffs.
      However, flying only SFO-LAX would net 20,770 takeoffs. That's 28x more terror.

      On the positive side, @Close that window shade will probably never get a divorce.

    4. Julie Guest

      you're my personal nightmare. :)

    5. Nelson Diamond

      @ Close that window shade;
      Regarding your comment it looks like you never took a flight. I fly an average of 400k miles each year and my experience is that FA's always say to open shades for take off and landings, surely for night flights. Something to do with security and visual.

  30. Steven Colt Pumilia Guest

    The reason people pick window seats is to look out! Why would you want to get trapped in a row with other people if that was not an option? Otherwise everyone would want aisle seats. When the sun is blinding someone, I will do the right thing.
    But if someone wants to sleep on a daytime flight........

  31. D3kingg Guest

    I run a tight ship. The window stays up for takeoff , taxiing , and landing. When we reach 10,000 ft the shades go down. They go up on final approach.

    Even during daytime flights everyone is either sleeping , using IFE , or working on their laptop.

  32. Shades Guest

    Keep them closed! I have seen all the views.

    1. Nelson Diamond

      Sounds quite egoistic.
      Hopefully you never seat next to me because I never close my shade. I have also seen many views but like to see them again.

  33. Leigh Diamond

    It's rare that I assign myself a window seat, but on the rare occasion I do (for example, knowing I'm flying into/out of a beautiful destination) I generally follow all of the etiquette you reference.

    What REALLY annoys me, however, is when the passenger behind you closes their shade, and thinks it's okay to reach around my seat to close my shade as well. WTF?!?!?! It's happened several times. When it happens I immediately yank...

    It's rare that I assign myself a window seat, but on the rare occasion I do (for example, knowing I'm flying into/out of a beautiful destination) I generally follow all of the etiquette you reference.

    What REALLY annoys me, however, is when the passenger behind you closes their shade, and thinks it's okay to reach around my seat to close my shade as well. WTF?!?!?! It's happened several times. When it happens I immediately yank my shade up, and they tend not to try it again...

  34. destruya Member

    I generally sit in the aisle when I'm flying main cabin/coach/steerage, so it's a non-issue, but in the rare instances I'm riding window, and someone wants to nap, and *I* want some light, I'll close the blind 50-75%, whichever percentage keeps light away from their face/eyes.

    If there's nothing to look at? Sure, I'm fine closing it 100% if someone in the row asks. Nowadays, if someone braves interpersonal communication on an airplane, it's because...

    I generally sit in the aisle when I'm flying main cabin/coach/steerage, so it's a non-issue, but in the rare instances I'm riding window, and someone wants to nap, and *I* want some light, I'll close the blind 50-75%, whichever percentage keeps light away from their face/eyes.

    If there's nothing to look at? Sure, I'm fine closing it 100% if someone in the row asks. Nowadays, if someone braves interpersonal communication on an airplane, it's because they *desperately* need/want something or need to go to the bathroom.

  35. Nelson Diamond

    Any time of day or night, I like my shade open and look outside, wether it's dark or daylight. The windows are put for that. If you want control just ask or buy a window seat. I travel a lot when people ask me to close my shade and I always tell them politely why I wont. Never had a problem. I can't sleep in planes, certainly not in Business or First. That's a waste of time and money for me. I sleep before or after my flight.

  36. Samo Guest

    I understand requiring / asking for shades to be closed on overnight trips, but it's a total no-go on daytime flight and I refuse to fly on any airline that does it (Turkish Airlines come to mind). It's not just about the views, the lack of natural daylight massively screws up body clock and it makes it much harder to fight the jetlag.

  37. AA Guest

    As a frequent day flight JFK-LHR taker, and window seat, er, sitter, I leave it open - maybe not all the way, but it's never closed.
    I specifically take a day flight to be easier on the body and jet lag and the light helps massively with that.
    Don't like it? Use eyeshades or take the multiple night flights available.

  38. Airfarer Diamond

    Fortunately, I have control of my own window most of the time. But the stewardesses with override control really irk me. Westbound TATL at 0900, is just ridiculous.

  39. John Guest

    Good article. Nice to see it reposted.

  40. Eskimo Guest

    Who (really) Has Control?

    The flight attendant who can kick you off for any reason at anytime, even the pilot listens to them.

    Etiquette:
    Do as what your flight attendants tells you.
    If your fellow passenger is annoyed about the shade position, notify flight attendant, they are the judge, jury and executioner, and have the final decision.

  41. Kieron Guest

    I feel seen with this article! Just finished an early morning flight from LAX to JFK. Leaving at 6.30am I would normally keep the shades closed and enjoy a few hours of sleep. But I didn’t get the window seat this time and the person next to me wanted to watch the world go by. It was annoying and I definitely didn’t get enough sleep but I didn’t say anything to her as she was...

    I feel seen with this article! Just finished an early morning flight from LAX to JFK. Leaving at 6.30am I would normally keep the shades closed and enjoy a few hours of sleep. But I didn’t get the window seat this time and the person next to me wanted to watch the world go by. It was annoying and I definitely didn’t get enough sleep but I didn’t say anything to her as she was clearly enjoying herself and she wasn’t the only one. Reaffirms my faith in always trying to get a window seat though!
    Next article on the middle arm rest?

    1. Bruce Guest

      If you need darkness to sleep, wear eyeshades. End of discussion. I always choose window seats so I can look out the window.

  42. digital_notmad Diamond

    I generally take cues from others on eastbound redeyes, but my window will be open going westbound. I'm not about to exacerbate my jetlag by sleeping when I ought to be awake to adjust to the destination time zone, just because others would like to exacerbate their own jetlag.

  43. Ben Guest

    Great post. I agree and think it's quite annoying on a daytime flight when you want to stay awake and crew are closing all shades. Most people seem to be ok with it. I'd rather just use a sleep mask for napping and keep the shades open.

  44. Julie Guest

    Love that you did an article on this. I agree that the window seat owns the shade but... I'm always torn between the desire to get up and walk around in the aisle vs my desire to look out the window. Frankly, when there's bad turbulence, I view looking out the window as very soothing but so many people just want to close the shade and fly in a windowless tube... I don't get it

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Leigh Diamond

It's rare that I assign myself a window seat, but on the rare occasion I do (for example, knowing I'm flying into/out of a beautiful destination) I generally follow all of the etiquette you reference. What REALLY annoys me, however, is when the passenger behind you closes their shade, and thinks it's okay to reach around my seat to close my shade as well. WTF?!?!?! It's happened several times. When it happens I immediately yank my shade up, and they tend not to try it again...

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AA Guest

As a frequent day flight JFK-LHR taker, and window seat, er, sitter, I leave it open - maybe not all the way, but it's never closed. I specifically take a day flight to be easier on the body and jet lag and the light helps massively with that. Don't like it? Use eyeshades or take the multiple night flights available.

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Airfarer Diamond

Fortunately, I have control of my own window most of the time. But the stewardesses with override control really irk me. Westbound TATL at 0900, is just ridiculous.

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