As I wrote about some time ago, newly produced Airbus A350s feature dimmable windows, which is something that was previously only available on Boeing 787s. I’m not a fan of this feature on 787s, so I’ve been curious to see how the A350 dimmable windows compare. I finally had the chance to check them out, so wanted to report back.
In this post:
Why I don’t like Boeing 787 dimmable windows
The Boeing 787 has had dimmable windows since the plane was launched, in lieu of traditional window shades. While the technology behind it is cool, personally this is a feature I’m not fond of, and it’s one of the reasons that I’ve historically preferred the A350 to the 787:
- Many times the crew will just “lock” the window setting on dark for the entire flight, meaning there’s no way you can look outside
- Even when in the darkest mode, I find that it’s still somewhat bright, and worst of all if you’re on the same side of the plane as the sun, it can get hot
- The dimming happens slowly, which sometimes makes it tough to figure out if you’re controlling the window dimming feature correctly or not
Why Airbus A350 dimmable windows are better
In 2022, Airbus began introducing A350s with the “new production standard.” This includes several incremental improvements, including the jet being a bit lighter, and the cabin being a bit wider. Along with this, Airbus has also introduced dimmable windows on these jets.
I’ve been curious to test out the dimmable windows on these “new production standard” A350s. Now, my first flight on one of these planes was actually on a Starlux A350-900 from Los Angeles to Taipei. However, it was dark the entire way, so that doesn’t exactly help you with testing out this feature.
Well, I just flew an Air France A350-900 from New York to Paris, and that was operated by one of the carrier’s newest jets, with this feature. The great news is that based on my experience, the dimmable windows on the A350 actually, you know, dim. So when you get to the darkest setting, it’s just about as dark as it would be if you had a “traditional” window shade.
Just take a look at the below picture — the tail camera shows that it’s totally light out, while you can’t see anything through the window. This is significantly better than on the 787, and I also didn’t feel any warmth from outside.
The dimming process on the A350 is also really easy. There are simply two buttons — the left button makes the window lighter, while the right button makes the window darker. It’s that simple. You can tell what the current dimming setting is based on where the lines appear, as they’ll appear near the window that represents the setting (light or dark).
Then when you try to change the setting, there will be squares moving between the windows, indicating that a change is in motion. Once the process is complete, the lines will stop moving.
One thing to be aware of is that the process of making the window lighter or darker is very gradual. For example, I timed it, and it took around 90 seconds for the full change to occur. That’s not a big deal at all, of course, but if you just want to take a quick peek out the window and then make it dark again, that’s a three minute process.
But honestly, why would you make the window dark when you have a view like this?!?!?
I finally had the chance to experience the dimming technology on Airbus A350s. This is a feature you’ll find on newly produced A350s, and it matches the technology on Boeing 787s. While I’m not a huge fan of this technology in general, the A350 dimmable windows are considerably better than on the 787, as they actually get totally dark.
What do you make of the A350 dimmable windows?