All passengers have experienced while travelling by plane, before take-off and before approaching for landing, cabin crew make some checks inside the cabin. In these controls, they check if the seat belts are fastened, the tray tables are closed, the seats are upright position, and the window shades are in the open position, and other certain rules are applied. Passengers may think that some of these checks can be unnecessary. For some passengers, it might seem like an unnecessary rule to have window shades open.
So is this rule really unnecessary? Why is there such a rule? Let’s dig in.
The riskiest parts of a flight are the takeoff and the landing phases. According to a study conducted by Boeing company, 58% of fatal accidents occur in these sections. Unfortunately, many aviation accidents that marked the history have also occurred during the landing or take-off phase. One of the most tragic examples is the Tenerife disaster, which occurred on March 27, 1977 in Los Rodeos, Spain on Tenerife Island when two Boeing 747 aircrafts collided on the runway. If we go into a little more detail, the first 3 minutes and the last 8 minutes of the flight are stated as the riskiest periods of a flight.
Since the risk situation is in this way, the measures taken and the rules determined in the aircraft are more detailed and inclusive during the landing and take-off periods.
In a possible emergency situation, passengers on board are expected to be evacuated from the aircraft before 90 seconds. During the training of the flight crew and cabin crew, this time is targeted and they are trained as such. So some of the simple and seemingly unnecessary rules that we mentioned above are actually crucial parts of these safety and security goals.
Every second is very valuable and is of vital importance when an emergency situation occurs. The fact that the window shades stay open during landing and take-off also saves this valuable and crucial time for cabin crew and passengers. These very few seconds can be vital while trying to open the window shades to check if everything is ok outside.
Open window shades raise awareness of the passenger and cabin crew. It provides valuable information for the detection of possible damage on the wings, detection of flames or fumes from the engines, fuel leakage if exist. Moreover, it helps evacuation planning.
There is a rule that aviation enthusiasts know very well “Safety First”. As you can see, the rules that seem simple and relatively unnecessary actually have a great importance and everyone should know that all rules are set and implemented for a safe and secure flight.
Finally, if a cabin crew asks you to open your window shades or something else that we mentioned above, just smile and comply. They are there for your safety. 😊