Does anyone know why passengers are required to keep their windowshades open when the plane has landed and is taxiing to a terminal? It seems like an odd thing to require. I thought it had something to do with protocols for dealing with hijackings. Anyone have any insight?
(as a side note, I did some searches on the web and didn’t find anything on this, but maybe someone else will have better luck)
BUT…while all of the reasons cited in the cited thread (nice double-cite!) are good things, they are not really required.
Ummm, during the day this works. At night it is useless. But an airliner’s emergency escape lighting is NOT powered by the main electrical system. The lights along the aisles, the (limited) overhead lights and the lights over each emergency exit are battery powered and will illuminate automatically if primary electrical power is lost. Also, an airliner during the day with all the shades shut still has enough ambient light in it to get around (see below).
Once again, this may be helpful but is not necessarily required. When an evacuation is ordered from up front, we tell the flight attendants which exits NOT to use (ie if we had an engine fire on the right side, do not use any right side exits). Of course this system is not perfect, but most people will abandon an exit when it is being licked by flames.
As an aside, sometimes it can help to have the shades DOWN at night. One news correspondant who flies my airline always wants a window seat over the wing - one too many “where is the safest?” report, I guess. Anyway, on the 727 (now retired), the APU (Auxiliary Power Unit - a small jet engine used for electricity and air on the ground) exhaust port was on the top of the right wing. When the airplane was getting ready to push back the APU was started, which sometimes causes fuel trapped in the exhaust to ignite. This causes a flame (completely harmless) to erupt from the top of the right wing, which is only visible at night. This reporter saw this, started yelling “Fire!” and then grabbed the emergency exit next to him and evacuated the airplane over the right wing - exactly where the FIRE was!
Actually, on hot summer days we go through the cabin and CLOSE all the shades in order to keep the airplane cooler so it’s more comfortable when people board. Once they get on board they can do whatever they want to with the shade.
In summary, while keeping your shade open is never a bad idea, it is by no means a life-or-death proposal. If there is some obscure FAA reg that was cited in some previous post, I suspect that it gets largely ignored.
I’m starting a 3-day trip tomorrow - I’ll ask the flight attendants about this to see if they are told anything during their training.
Well, since I was the one who provided those answers in the previous thread, I’ll pop back in…
I got my answers from a couple of flight attendants here. (Was collecting some requirements for some scheduling software and it came up during a break.) Their actual first answer was “It’s just required” but after asking further they came up with the answers I gave.
I don’t know if they were repeating something they had heard in training or from other FAs or if they were SWAGing on their own. I do remember that not all of the answers came from the same person but its been a while since that particular meeting so I can’t remember for certain who said what.
OK, sorry for the “resurrection” of this thread, but I’m back from the trip.
And no, it was NOT an early departure on Saturday!
Apparently the only thing that is actually written down anywhere is that the window shades on the exit rows must be up for takeoff and landing. This means that for many aircraft the only rows that must have the shades up are the overwing exit rows. On larger aircraft there may be several rows throughout the cabin where this applies.
The confusion comes on the interpretation of the rule. Some flight attendants are either taught that EVERY shade must be up, or they hear someone else make a PA like that and decide “Hey, it’s more of good thing…why not.”
I personally have never heard a flight attendant make a PA concerning window shades, but I’m sure that it’s been done. If you ever hear it, realize that it’s just a harmless misinterpretation of what actually is required.
AirTran announced it on four consecutive flights last month as part of the normal blah-blah. I don’t know why though. I noticed it because I’d never noticed it before I guess. I put mine up, like the lemming I am.
pilot141 - Thanks for the followup. I suspect that the reason for asking all the shades to be raised is so they don’t have to explain which rows are exit rows and which ones aren’t. (Yeah, it should be obvious but given some of the people I’ve seen flying it’s probably better to take the safe approach.)