United Airlines Backtracks On Window Shade Rule

United Airlines Backtracks On Window Shade Rule

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United Airlines is changing its policy surrounding window shades having to be open for taxi, takeoff, and landing.

United no longer requires passengers to open window shades

In February 2020, United became the first major US airline to require all passengers to open their window shades for taxi, takeoff, and landing. It’s worth noting that it wasn’t actually the responsibility of crews to enforce this policy, but rather they were just required to inform passengers of this.

United will now be reversing course on this policy. As of March 2022, United is no longer requiring passengers to open window shades for taxi, takeoff, and landing. Apparently this policy change is to avoid confusion, and since United was the only airline in the US making this request.

United passengers can now keep window shades closed

What’s the logic for requiring window shades to be open?

While no major airline in the United States requires passengers to open window shades anymore, this is an incredibly common practice in other countries. This is intended to be a security policy — the logic is that in the event of an evacuation, having your window shades open will give you a better sense of where you are and what the conditions outside the aircraft are.

Logically the rule makes sense. Now, I’m not sure how many lives have been saved over the years as a result of this policy, but in general I think it’s fair to say that in the event of an emergency, having a sense of your surroundings is better than not having a sense of your surroundings.

As an aviation geek I’m also heavily in favor of this policy. Even though I’ve flown millions of miles, I’m constantly amazed by the beauty of flight, and I refuse to miss a takeoff or landing if I’m in a window seat. It’s just so magical. It always surprises me when I’m on a plane where a majority of passengers have their window shades down.

Who wouldn’t want to enjoy these views?!

Bottom line

United Airlines is no longer requiring passengers to open window shades for taxi, takeoff, and landing. This represents a reversal to a policy that was first introduced in early 2020. While this is a widely accepted policy outside the United States, now there are no major US airlines requiring this anymore.

Do you think airlines should have rules around window shades being opened?

(Tip of the hat to Paddle Your Own Kanoo)

Conversations (117)
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  1. UA FA Guest

    They never did require it. The PA said we encourage all windowshades to be open, now it says exit rows are encouraged to be open. It says it even in the announcement in paragraphs that this is encouraged not required.

  2. SS Guest

    Spirit requires them open, since an incident happened last year

  3. Joseph Paulo Guest

    As of previous flight service manager on TWA which was taken over by American Airlines always required to open window shades prior to Landing one of the main reasons was you wanted to know if there was fire outside the area you were going to jump out of on the shoot this should be a requirement on all Airlines

  4. Tee Guest

    Spirit airline requires this... for the last few months this has been one of their taxi, takeoff & landing requirements.

  5. Howard Narita Guest

    But let's keep those masks on. LOL

  6. Lisa Guest

    Spirit actually requires it now as well…

  7. MGC Guest

    Just for the record , to the prior comments, the only window opening that really matters is the exit hatch , which is an FAA requirement so before opening the hatch you can be aware of the outside. No one can exit through any other window in the aircraft. The distraction of looking out the passenger window at a time when everyone should focused on exiting the aircraft is probably as much a negative ....

    Just for the record , to the prior comments, the only window opening that really matters is the exit hatch , which is an FAA requirement so before opening the hatch you can be aware of the outside. No one can exit through any other window in the aircraft. The distraction of looking out the passenger window at a time when everyone should focused on exiting the aircraft is probably as much a negative . There is emergency lighting guiding people to the exit location and being able to look outside is not going to help you internally get to the exit.

  8. Vondank Guest

    United has tiny, inhospitable seats and far bigger fish to fry.

  9. Rwh Guest

    Airlines claim that safety is number ONE priority, then open window shades, period. Even if it saves one life or provents worst injury, or helps emergency crews in any way ever.

  10. Ron Guest

    Agree that window shades should be open for landings and takeoffs.

  11. Janet Vitcovich-retired UAL Guest

    Yes shades should be up on take off & landing . Most passengers are not by a window seat & would most likely like to see the process & the horizon where they are & the clouds. It should be a safety issue, also.

  12. OkiOki Guest

    In think keeping shades up during the riskiest operations a plane can do is a good safety policy. Why abandoning it? It makes no sense. I feel safer and more in control when I'm aware of what's going on outside the plane! I'd keep the policy and have the crew mandate it!

  13. Tracy Guest

    I always thought it was to provide better visibility during taxi at night. The more lights on the aircraft, the better the chance it will be seen by a landing aircraft if crossing an active runway.

  14. Brad Guest

    I 1000% agree with the following:

    “I’m constantly amazed by the beauty of flight, and I refuse to miss a takeoff or landing if I’m in a window seat. It’s just so magical. It always surprises me when I’m on a plane where a majority of passengers have their window shades down.“

    I think their brains are fried

  15. Susan V Guest

    I think they should be open so people can see what is going on. It is added comfort for people who might be anxious about takeoff and landing. If they have a visual, they can feel more secure.

  16. Joe L. Guest

    Hawaiian Airlines has a policy for opening the shades before taking off and before landing for quite a few years.

  17. Joe70 Guest

    I thought that it was implemented after all the hijackings in the 80's??

  18. Vic C. Guest

    I was just in an American Airlines flight a week ago and the flight attendant asked us to open our shades for takeoff....

    1. Raymond Dezso Guest

      Oh my, let’s not offend anyone…. To ask a person sitting by the window to shut or open their window shade, let’s just throw out all common sense and safety. United‘s famous saying on the intercom is always United’s number one concern is always safety first.
      Well ?? So stupid - of United .
      Looks like United has caved into whatever the passenger wants. Safety is no longer there number one concern. I’m...

      Oh my, let’s not offend anyone…. To ask a person sitting by the window to shut or open their window shade, let’s just throw out all common sense and safety. United‘s famous saying on the intercom is always United’s number one concern is always safety first.
      Well ?? So stupid - of United .
      Looks like United has caved into whatever the passenger wants. Safety is no longer there number one concern. I’m very disappointed with United Airlines. This is a policy that all airlines should of adapted to - Windows up for takeoff and landing safety safety safety.

    2. Barney Glass Guest

      As a 25 year
      Flight Attendent I firmly blelieve shades should be open during T/0 taxi
      And landing. Know
      Where and how to exit in an emergency I keep my feet flat on the floor at those times Never had an incident but I know some who did.

  19. Whit Guest

    As an unenforceable policy it makes sense that In-flight would have the crews cease that safety briefing.
    Why create confusion in the face of so much passenger misbehavior?
    That said, I think it's prudent to have them open.
    *Don't wear flip-flops*
    *Wear pants*
    *STAY OFF THE CARPET! Ewww...*

    (33 years of Maintenance, Safety, Management, & Training)

  20. Doug Hayward Guest

    Someone should let crews know. 5 flights within a couple of days, the only one that didn't require us to keep shades down at takeoff was originating out of the country

  21. Chris Guest

    I get motion sick looking out the window so I prefer to have my window closed my entire flight.

    1. Always Flying Somewhere Guest

      HAHAHA! Close your eyes then! Oh wait... knowing that others can look out your window also gives you motion sickness.

    2. Gilbert grape Guest

      Definitely a comment from someone with a micro penis

  22. Stephen Montgomery Guest

    I hate it when an airline makes me close the shades and the flight attendants “ dim” the windows on a 787.

  23. Linda Guest

    Decisions are not being made based on logic or intellect. It’s all about feelings and negative postings on social media. Let’s go back to the days of common sense when parents actually parent and companies follow safety protocols because they should; not because passengers like or dislike them.

  24. John Guest

    United didn’t require that passengers open their window shade. The flight attendants were just tasked with making the request over the PA. When making safety checks, the flight crew would not require that window shades be raised like they would, for example, making sure seat belts are fastened.

  25. Jesus Guest

    I'm a airline geek and I agree with having shades during takeoffs Anne landings for safety reasons.

  26. PeepsMom Guest

    Leave the window blinds open. Safety first.

  27. Cat Guest

    It's useful to finally hear the reason, and I can see where situational awareness would be helpful for safety. I'm conflicted as having the shade closed during takeoff and landing generally reduces my otherwise violent motion sickness (I'm fine the rest of the flight, but takeoff and landing I really prefer to be able to stare at a closed window shade so I won't see any hint of movement from open windows). Obviously, I comply...

    It's useful to finally hear the reason, and I can see where situational awareness would be helpful for safety. I'm conflicted as having the shade closed during takeoff and landing generally reduces my otherwise violent motion sickness (I'm fine the rest of the flight, but takeoff and landing I really prefer to be able to stare at a closed window shade so I won't see any hint of movement from open windows). Obviously, I comply when instructed otherwise, and it's nice to know the reasoning.

  28. Magnar Nordal Guest

    I'm surprised to learn that US airlines don't require the window shades to be open during my take-off and landing. This is absolutely a safety issue. Where's FAA?

    1. Always Flying Somewhere Guest

      The same FAA that let a dangerous aircraft enter service.

  29. Bmet88 Guest

    Ummm am I missing something? When is the last time it mattered that the blings were open? The odds are astonishingly low….low enough to not matter

  30. United traveler. Guest

    Since I'm on a plane at least three trips a month truly includes the views of flying across this country. The beauty of takeoff and landings still fascinates me. So my Shadyside aways up. Even when flying at night.

    1. Gilbert grape Guest

      What a fagboy, I wish I could perpetrate a hate crime for you

  31. Ship my pets from GUAM to Las Vegas I need my dog for my anxiety thank you Guest

    When will I’ll be able Ship my pets from GUAM to Las Vegas I need my dog for my anxiety thank you if you could help me with this I would appreciate thank you

  32. Scott Guest

    I know EXACTLY what the author is talking about with the beauty and wonder of flight, amaways amazed at people with their shades down!

  33. No risk Guest

    If an airline does not take safety seriously, the authority must take a second look at them. Do they treat carrying passengers as cargo?

  34. Daphne Guest

    Spirit airlines still asks passengers to leave their shades open for take off and reminds them again as they're descending.

    I had not heard this request from Spirit prior to this year. Just assumed it was out of "courtesy" for all passengers wanting to look out the window at those times

  35. John Guest

    Keep them closed. Abort take off due to engine explosion & fire then evacuate into flames & burning fuel because you can't see the flames. BRILLIANT!!!

  36. Donna Ellinwood Guest

    The reason for open shades at the window exits is, take off and landing are know as critical phase of flight if anything will happen that's when it does so it's easier for flight attendant to see which engine is having a fire, without wasting time telling passengers at the window to open the shade. The trouble would prevent an exit from that side.

  37. kevan Guest

    We take flying for granted yet we've only been doing it for about 110 years and I think that it's amazing watching the ground slip away.I was once on a night flight from Rio de Janeiro to Madrid on the south facing side and looking out of the window there was Scorpius rising over the mid Atlantic.Or flying from Hong Kong to Paris over Siberia, again overnight,I saw lights and assumed it was towns, thinking...

    We take flying for granted yet we've only been doing it for about 110 years and I think that it's amazing watching the ground slip away.I was once on a night flight from Rio de Janeiro to Madrid on the south facing side and looking out of the window there was Scorpius rising over the mid Atlantic.Or flying from Hong Kong to Paris over Siberia, again overnight,I saw lights and assumed it was towns, thinking "that's strange Siberian is sparsely populated?",but worked out it was the full Moon's reflection on lakes and ponds.That raised blind gives us access to some amazing things but keep staring at the screen!

  38. DonnyBrasco Guest

    there will always be that one annoying clown that leave the window open for the entirety of a trans con flight. typical ur seat ur right character

  39. Terry Kozma Guest

    I will always have my window shade open for the reasons mentioned

  40. Dipak Patel Guest

    Use a common sense, guys. Just looks out side for a while, not forever while taxing , taking off and landing.

  41. Saz Guest

    They should be open, end of story. Why the US carriers have a different policy to the rest of the world is ridiculous - it is a safety issue and every second counts. All the US carriers should adapt the same policy.

  42. Rock Guest

    I thought the reason that was done is the US was because of the Flight Attendant Union. By keeping the passengers i the dark throughout the whole flight - even daytime flight - you get more passengers to sleep and have to do even less than you already do. Actually I am polite calling them flight attendants since we are now informed that their primary duty is for "your safety during your flight" VS your "comfort". I think its AA that says that now.

  43. Tina Gricius Guest

    An electrical shade feature should be implemented on aircraft going forward! In an emergency, the crew could control all shades at once .
    An electrical shade can also eliminate germs as this would be a touch-less feature in the cabin.
    All airlines have this opportunity.
    #aerospacetechnologisgroup #atgshades

  44. Marcel M Couturier Guest

    a
    I still don't understand the rationale behind requiring shades to be opened.
    Was it to serve as a proof that the plane is indeed airborne?

    1. R Strowe, Retired Airline Pilot Guest

      No. As the article stated, in the event of an emergency, you will have better situational awareness. What if say the left engine was on fire? Would you want to exit out the left over wing exit? In an emergency evacuation, you have to think fast and not panic.

  45. Aldo Guest

    This is a no brainer. Having all window shades up before take off and landing is a must for safety. Reinstate.

    1. Gilbert grape Guest

      I agree it's doubtful you have a brain. Your defiantly a "no Brainerd

    2. Dale Guest

      Such an idiotic statement. Obviously from a low information individual. The real reason is so that the airport fire, rescue, AMS people can see where passengers are after an accident and cut in to rescue. Situational awareness for passengers and crew is important but is the secondary reason. Most accidents happen during takeoff or landing. Thankfully, after 31 years and over 25,000 hours of airline flying, I never had to experience an accident requiring locating...

      Such an idiotic statement. Obviously from a low information individual. The real reason is so that the airport fire, rescue, AMS people can see where passengers are after an accident and cut in to rescue. Situational awareness for passengers and crew is important but is the secondary reason. Most accidents happen during takeoff or landing. Thankfully, after 31 years and over 25,000 hours of airline flying, I never had to experience an accident requiring locating passengers or crew through the Windows of a burning airplane.

  46. Cindy Guest

    Yes!! I was a Flight Attendant & this should never have been abolished. Being able to assess the situation is key in any emergency! Reinstate!

  47. Arshad Samad Guest

    As an airline Captain in my opinion, there is no reason to cancel this policy.
    In an emergency every second counts.

  48. Robert Fahr Guest

    I was scolded on AA PHX to KC just Monday night. Pre takeoff. Told it was an FAA rule by the F/A. B.S.

  49. Bob Guest

    United still requires it for exit rows.

  50. Dot Guest

    I was flying internationally on a foreign carrier with my window shade down and the Flight attendant just reached over and let the window shade up. I let it back down and she let it back up, without any comments. So it’s good to know that in other countries it is required that the shade stay up. I prefer it to be down because I don’t like to see the land disappearing from under the plane.

  51. Mark H Guest

    You can’t look or assess when you’ve slammed into the ground… all the shades slam down too. It’s be proven over and over.

    1. Ray Guest

      Not every emergency landing results in being slammed down. So your point is?

  52. david Guest

    I'm an aisle guy most of the time so I don't control the window shade. Not sure it has to be mandated but having the shades open for take off and landing make sense to me. A couple other habits I have are leaving my shoes on until we're airborn, in case of evacuation, and pulling my ear buds out during take off and landing. Besides, I love hearing the engines spooling up to full power on take off.

  53. SD Guest

    Hawaiian Airlines requires window shades to be open during takeoff and landing. Not sure how you do your research but United wasn’t the only one.

  54. Patty Hook Guest

    No! Although I am an international traveler for decades now, I do know some people who are nervous flyers and prefer to just focus on what's going on inside the cabin, their laptop computer, when the drink cart is coming by, and anything and everything else except what's going on outside this huge moving vessel. Forcing them to have the window shades open can make them even more nervous. Sometimes two either the sun is...

    No! Although I am an international traveler for decades now, I do know some people who are nervous flyers and prefer to just focus on what's going on inside the cabin, their laptop computer, when the drink cart is coming by, and anything and everything else except what's going on outside this huge moving vessel. Forcing them to have the window shades open can make them even more nervous. Sometimes two either the sun is rising or setting and it's glaringly bright when you're just trying to relax. I think it should be no big deal either way.

    1. Ray Gold

      I don't disagree with you but those anxiety filled flyers shouldn't choose a window seat or should request to be moved if assigned.

    2. Jrrjr Guest

      I'd think if you can feel the plane banking left, you might feel better with the window open so that you can see your not falling out of the sky, but that's me. I hate having the windows closed. Claustrophobic like a submarine.

  55. Goldibear Guest

    I started flying often back in 2003 and I’ve flown on most of the major US airlines over these nearly 20 years . All have asked for windows to be open for takeoff and landing - I’ve never questioned it and they’ve gone around enforcing the request for those who ignore the requests.

    1. N b Pittston pa Guest

      I just flew United and they said to open ur shade but no one really listened. We only had one small issue with the plane a delivery with mechanical problems after loading aboard we sat there for about one hour or more. We all we informed by the Captain and the problem was fixed.

  56. polarbear Member

    I think the actual reason is that during takeoff and landing the lighting conditions in the cabin should match whatever is outside. So that in the event of evacuation one does not have to adjust.
    For the same reason "we will be dimming the lights for takeoff..."

    1. DavidHoffman2 New Member

      I like the window shade being open. That will allow me the possibility of watching as one wingtip on the aircraft I am in bangs into a wingtip on another aircraft nearby. It's fun to watch as $200,000 in logistics/maintenance costs get created and it's fun to watch the useless ground personnel scurry around. No they aren't skilled wingtip walkers, just ramp rats who can't be trained or trusted to use a radio and watch...

      I like the window shade being open. That will allow me the possibility of watching as one wingtip on the aircraft I am in bangs into a wingtip on another aircraft nearby. It's fun to watch as $200,000 in logistics/maintenance costs get created and it's fun to watch the useless ground personnel scurry around. No they aren't skilled wingtip walkers, just ramp rats who can't be trained or trusted to use a radio and watch for wingtip clearances. Sad how low commercial aviation has declined.

    2. Joseph Cotler Guest

      A little angry?

  57. azamaraal Guest

    Had a stop in Kuwait in 91 on the way to the UAE and while we were landing, on the ground, and taking off we were required to keep the shades down. This was at the end of the Gulf War when the oil fires were very much a problem. We all peeked anyway.

  58. azamaraal Guest

    Airlines in Canada require the window shades to be down. It only makes sense to know instantly which side of the aircraft should be avoided in case of an emergency such as a fire.

    The reason you don't use an elevator in a fire is that a fire shorting wires causes elevators to go to the fire floor.

    Cannot understand why US airlines are so stupid(?) and why they are kowtowing to the mob.

    1. Ray Gold

      This makes no sense. How can you tell what side of the plane to avoid in case of fire if the shades are down as you say in Canada? Seems like the Canadian airlines are stupid.

    2. Cindy Guest

      On some aircraft window shades are "open" in the down position, & you pull up to close.

  59. Carrie Member

    As an Australian, it feels weird if the windows shades are not open for take off and landing. Beyond the safety aspects, I suspect that requesting shades be opened prior to landing draws one's mind to pay attention and prepare appropriately for landing.

  60. Sarah Guest

    If the glare of the sun is right in your eyes, of course you're going to close your window shade - that's a no-brainer!

  61. AndyPBNYC New Member

    When my brother and I were little children (8 & 4), our parents took us on a vacation from New York to Fort Lauderdale. On the return trip home, we were sitting with a great view of the wings. We saw a mechanic working on one of the flaps. When he left and the flap was closed, a rag of sorts was left inside. We told our parents, who called over a flight attendant. A...

    When my brother and I were little children (8 & 4), our parents took us on a vacation from New York to Fort Lauderdale. On the return trip home, we were sitting with a great view of the wings. We saw a mechanic working on one of the flaps. When he left and the flap was closed, a rag of sorts was left inside. We told our parents, who called over a flight attendant. A few minutes later, another man came over to the plane and removed the rag from the flap. My brother and I were happy this happened, but were not particularly concerned with any ramifications of this. Later on in the flight, the captain came on the PA system and talked about these two observant little boys and explained the story. Later on in the flight, he came back to meet us. OKAY? BTW, my brother and I, now 69 and 65, still check the wings on every flight we take.

  62. Miamiflyer Guest

    Funny, was on Hawaiian Airlines a few days ago. They asked me to open reg shade prior to landing in Honolulu.
    Hawaiian would qualify as an American carrier.
    Will fly AA next Sunday and pay attention to their policy.

  63. PhillyRob Guest

    Anybody know why shaded have to be closed for the 30 minutes before landing for flights arriving in Israel?

    1. Uri Guest

      They don't.
      Landed on Israel many times, always with shades open.

  64. Randy Gold

    This this apply to the windows at the exit rows? AA requires that exit row windows be open - and FA come around and enforce.

  65. crosscourt Guest

    "it’s fair to say that in the event of an emergency, having a sense of your surroundings is better than not having a sense of your surroundings". EXACTLY! Very stupid on the part of US carriers. So many decisions taken by US carriers are baffling.

  66. F. Rich Guest

    In 2013 I wrote the following poem on an airplane, disturbed that the great majority of passenger had opted to keep the shades down throughout the flight:

    Shades Down

    The last frayed rope was sliced clean by a machete
    And the crowd gasped as fragile basket and hero within
    Lurched up, paused, then rose smoothly toward the
    Place of the Gods.
    Our hero looked down and saw what no man had...

    In 2013 I wrote the following poem on an airplane, disturbed that the great majority of passenger had opted to keep the shades down throughout the flight:

    Shades Down

    The last frayed rope was sliced clean by a machete
    And the crowd gasped as fragile basket and hero within
    Lurched up, paused, then rose smoothly toward the
    Place of the Gods.
    Our hero looked down and saw what no man had ever seen, changing everything.
    Eve ate the apple and we knew,
    Now the balloon rose and we saw.
    And the Gods fled and the Frenchman occupied Olympus
    Without a single shot fired.

    Each time we board a plane, a new chance to be a God.
    So how can it be that now they put the shades down?
    Bad enough not to look when the shades are up,
    As willful blindness is a terrible crime.
    But these creatures, my avatars but so strange to me,
    Remove the possibility of light and sight
    And thus surrender Olympus
    And chart a return to the mud
    Even while we hurtle home to the great metropolis
    Whose ruin they foreshadow.

    F. Rich
    12/13/13

  67. Watson Gold

    Having the shades up obviously makes sense in case of an emergency. The question is whether the marginal benefit for a very rare event justifies the extra procedure of having all the FAs enforce it, with the usual trouble caused by morons who don't like being told to do anything.

  68. Gerry Guest

    Given a 50:50 choice of carrier, I would chose the other carrier over UA on this. Two reasons… my pleasure at seeing out the window and the safety aspect. I’m old school here and always check my situation and position on a plane. ( and in a hotel/train/boat )

    1. Pierre Guest

      I wrote about the practicality of seeing on each side whether there is a fire or not. But you make an equally compelling point, simply the pleasure of knowing where you are and what is around you, I cannot conceive being on the ground with shades closed and I am invariably annoyed when it happens and I cannot reach over to open the one closest to me.

      Lack of curiosity, laziness, detachment from the conditions...

      I wrote about the practicality of seeing on each side whether there is a fire or not. But you make an equally compelling point, simply the pleasure of knowing where you are and what is around you, I cannot conceive being on the ground with shades closed and I am invariably annoyed when it happens and I cannot reach over to open the one closest to me.

      Lack of curiosity, laziness, detachment from the conditions around you? I do not know but I always have the feeling that those who leave their shades shut down are travelling like suitcases.

      The situation is different when there is a good reason to leave the shades down or to lower them yourself, like the insufferable sun boiiing the air inside (Hello Madrid and Doha), or your going to sleep the minute you board on the 4th leg of your 30 hour trip. I am familiar with both.

  69. Simon Guest

    Someone must have complained about their precious rights being violated.

  70. FLLFLYER Guest

    I believe USAirways used to require window shades open for take off and landing.
    This is a good policy and as people have commented it gives you the chance to assess your surroundings before opening an exit in an evacuation.

    Can you imagine if all the window shades were closed on the USAirways flight that landed in the Hudson?

  71. Vince Guest

    Would like to see data to support that this intervention is associated with improved outcomes.
    Let's start even with anecdotal experiences/evidence. Is there any?

  72. Pierre Guest

    Lucky,

    The rule is NOT for people to "have a better sort of orientation" or, as someone wrote "permitvrescuers to see inside" but for a far more compelling reason:

    During crashes, there are possible FIRES outside the plane (maybe inside too but the rule concerns outside fires).

    YOU SHOULD NEVER open an emergency exit (or a door) on the side where a fire is visible.
    The fire may (often does) rush into the cabin...

    Lucky,

    The rule is NOT for people to "have a better sort of orientation" or, as someone wrote "permitvrescuers to see inside" but for a far more compelling reason:

    During crashes, there are possible FIRES outside the plane (maybe inside too but the rule concerns outside fires).

    YOU SHOULD NEVER open an emergency exit (or a door) on the side where a fire is visible.
    The fire may (often does) rush into the cabin making things far slower and more dangerous for the occupants.

    Admittedly there are occasions where there is fire on both sides but the idea is to prioritize openingnthe exits on the fire-less side and many accidents have a sidelong fire and one without.

    1. 9volt Member

      It's possible to have multiple reasons, and yes, better orientation for passengers and rescuers being able to see inside are still viable reasons. In addition to what you stated.

  73. Steven E Guest

    And it helps as well for people on the outside of the aircraft to ascertain where the bodies are located - If the shades are closed in the most critical phase of flight , that is take off and landing - safety IS compromised

  74. Susan Guest

    They should absolutely be open, based on my discussions with a friend who retired from a position as a high ranking NTSB airplane crash investigator and who continued to investigate high profile airplane crashes around the as a private investigator after retirement. Close them a few minutes after takeoff or landing, once aborted takeoffs or bad landings are less likely to happen. Seconds matter.

    When I complained to the NTSB about it not happening...

    They should absolutely be open, based on my discussions with a friend who retired from a position as a high ranking NTSB airplane crash investigator and who continued to investigate high profile airplane crashes around the as a private investigator after retirement. Close them a few minutes after takeoff or landing, once aborted takeoffs or bad landings are less likely to happen. Seconds matter.

    When I complained to the NTSB about it not happening in this country ( after boarding one too many AA flights where the shades had annoyingly been closed in cool weather before boarding, so heat gain was not an excuse), an AA customer service rep sent me an email with bald face lies telling that it is company policy for them to be open on takeoff and landing. The only way it will change is if the NTSB makes it an official policy, with hefty fines as an enforcement mechanism.

  75. Gary Martin Guest

    We flew Hawaiian Airlines from San Jose Ca to Maui 3/6/22 and the flight attendant asked that window shades be opened for both takeoff and landing

  76. Maui Guest

    Ben loves his Maui photos lately

  77. SEA SFO Guest

    I find some safety practices on US airlines to be a bit bizarre, especially with things such as not requiring window shades to be open during takeoff and landing and the excessively liberal use of seatbelt signs. I've been on so many flights where the sign spends so much time being on that everyone just ignores it, defeating its purpose in the first place. I remember my flights on Air Canada several years ago: on...

    I find some safety practices on US airlines to be a bit bizarre, especially with things such as not requiring window shades to be open during takeoff and landing and the excessively liberal use of seatbelt signs. I've been on so many flights where the sign spends so much time being on that everyone just ignores it, defeating its purpose in the first place. I remember my flights on Air Canada several years ago: on all 4 flights, crews made sure window shades were open for takeoff/landing and the seatbelt sign promptly went off as soon as we hit 10,000 feet and only came on a couple times when it got legitimately bumpy. The effect was that everyone seemed to take it seriously.

    The FAA absolutely needs to mandate window shades to be open during all critical phases of flight. It's ridiculous how US F/As let this stuff go but then are suddenly cautious to do things like throw passengers off planes for doing math for "security" concerns.

  78. CT Guest

    The bigger problem is that people/ society live their lives with the attitude that “Rules apply to everyone else but me”… if the flight attendants can’t get people to fasten their seatbelts, and to remain seated during turbulence, or while taxiing,…there is no way people will open their window shades. I give UA credit for at least trying,…but at the end of the day, the bigger problem is the traveling public. Proof of this is...

    The bigger problem is that people/ society live their lives with the attitude that “Rules apply to everyone else but me”… if the flight attendants can’t get people to fasten their seatbelts, and to remain seated during turbulence, or while taxiing,…there is no way people will open their window shades. I give UA credit for at least trying,…but at the end of the day, the bigger problem is the traveling public. Proof of this is by reading some of the arrogance on the comment board. May you all Crash & Burn!

  79. Leslie Guest

    I flew UA for the first time in a while last month and was pleasantly surprised to hear shades needed to be open like European carriers require. It makes so much sense from a safety standpoint. It’s disappointing to read they are reversing the policy.

  80. Jürgen Guest

    I just don’t get it with United. During my last day flight to the US they managed that the whole cabin window shades were closed after meal service. This happened more than once with them and I just don’t get it. People told me it’s because the crew is not up for working and a dark cabin means less demands by passengers.

  81. Greg Guest

    Window shades up for takeoffs and landings so that rescue workers can see into your plane's fuselage when they finally get to your wreckage about a quarter of a mile past the runway.

  82. Ernest Burkhalter Guest

    Just took four trips on American. They requested that window shades be open for take off and landing for all four flights.

  83. Baron Guest

    I'm passive aggressive so I like keeping my window open when the sun is shining bright so that it blinds and annoys the person sitting next to me (hoping they'll move and I'll get the row to myself).

    1. Paris Parsons Guest

      I don't know what's more maddening: passive aggressive behavior or the audacity to just freely admitt to being passive aggressive...as if it's normal and perfectly ok. One thing is for sure, for every one passive aggressive person (aka coward), there's another person who has no problem being openly aggressive in response. One day you'll sit next to someone (like myself) who will make you reconsider wearing your PA Badge of Honor oh so proudly.

  84. Rjb Guest

    The window shade isn’t going to save you if if the plane crashes.

    1. uldguy Diamond

      As someone who has spent over 25 years in airline operations, including emergency preparedness, you are wrong. In an emergency seconds count. While everyone else is panicking and grabbing their crap out of the overhead bins, you need to be able to quickly assess the situation outside the aircraft and plan accordingly. You may be in an aisle seat and the two people next to you are either dead, injured, or frozen in negative panic...

      As someone who has spent over 25 years in airline operations, including emergency preparedness, you are wrong. In an emergency seconds count. While everyone else is panicking and grabbing their crap out of the overhead bins, you need to be able to quickly assess the situation outside the aircraft and plan accordingly. You may be in an aisle seat and the two people next to you are either dead, injured, or frozen in negative panic and you have to reach over them with everything else going on to open the shade which may very well be jammed closed due to damage. Requiring that window shades be open during taxi, takeoff, and landing is a small ask that reap huge benefits in an emergency.

    2. Pierre Guest

      According to US aviation authorities, you are wrong as it is not required.

  85. uldguy Diamond

    Kudos to United for compromising passenger safety in the interest of industry harmony. Their argument is laughable if it wasn’t such a serious issue.

    The FAA needs to issue a NPRM on this important safety issue.

    1. George Romey Guest

      Seems to me it's common sense that flight attendants be able to quickly assess situations outside the plane, including engine fires. There's been situations before in which a passenger with an open window shade saw smoke coming of an engine, alerted the flight attendant that alerted the pilots.

      But that's our society today. Far more engrossed in a phone screen. No wonder people have become so dumb down.

    2. George Romey Guest

      Seems to me it's common sense that flight attendants be able to quickly assess situations outside the plane, including engine fires. There's been situations before in which a passenger with an open window shade saw smoke coming of an engine, alerted the flight attendant that alerted the pilots.

      But that's our society today. Far more engrossed in a phone screen. No wonder people have become so dumb down.

    3. Ray Gold

      My wife and I had this conversation this morning about heads down looking at screens. My comment was in two generations the children will be born with a downward view from the head and never be able to look straight ahead or up unless a device is made to view your screen with glasses that contain a monitor.

  86. Don Berrigan Guest

    Yes they should be open. Hawaiian Airlines has always announced this but I haven’t flown them in 2 years however

  87. Sel, D. Guest

    I refuse to sit emergency exit on skyworst (or is it Mesa?) CRJs as those windows don’t even have shades. I was threatened with removal when I used the safety placard to block the glaring PHX sun.

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uldguy Diamond

As someone who has spent over 25 years in airline operations, including emergency preparedness, you are wrong. In an emergency seconds count. While everyone else is panicking and grabbing their crap out of the overhead bins, you need to be able to quickly assess the situation outside the aircraft and plan accordingly. You may be in an aisle seat and the two people next to you are either dead, injured, or frozen in negative panic and you have to reach over them with everything else going on to open the shade which may very well be jammed closed due to damage. Requiring that window shades be open during taxi, takeoff, and landing is a small ask that reap huge benefits in an emergency.

12
uldguy Diamond

Kudos to United for compromising passenger safety in the interest of industry harmony. Their argument is laughable if it wasn’t such a serious issue. The FAA needs to issue a NPRM on this important safety issue.

4
FLLFLYER Guest

I believe USAirways used to require window shades open for take off and landing. This is a good policy and as people have commented it gives you the chance to assess your surroundings before opening an exit in an evacuation. Can you imagine if all the window shades were closed on the USAirways flight that landed in the Hudson?

2
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