Air Canada passenger conflict over window blinds

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This topic contains 18 replies, has 13 voices, and was last updated by  LuganoPirate 21 Feb 2014
at 23:20

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  • Anonymous


    I’m just wondering if this is unique to North America or if the problem is more widespread.

    On AC’s westbound TPAC flights from Toronto to Hong Kong and Japan the flights can be 14+ hours entirely in daylight.

    Essentially it is a “battle” between business travellers (!) who want the blinds closed for the entire flight so that they can sleep versus tourists or leisure travellers who wish to look outside and/or take pictures for the first and last 2-3 hours.

    This appears to be a relatively new problem affecting both business class and economy (Air Canada does not have any First Class).

    Although now living in Canada I can recall when living in the UK and travelling between LHR and KUL on BOAC’s Super VC10s there was never and demand for blinds to be closed. Admittedly in those days such BOAC flights were “milk runs” stopping at BEY, BOM and CMB before arriving at KUL.

    I just wonder how other airlines handle this “problem” and what their passengers think.

    Later this year we’re taking AC’s new 787 Dreamliner from Toronto to Tokyo Haneda and it will be interesting to see how the new blindless windows perform!


    Great topic Tembo11

    This question separates the men from the boys and might start a wonderful Friday debate!

    By the way ,I’m now firmly back in the boy’s camp.

    Flying is an absolute privilege that all too many of us now take for granted. The wonder of seeing our beautiful planet from a different perspective is now totally lost on some of us. And I have to admit my nonchalance put me in the “men’s” camp for a while : (

    I was reminded at the wonder of it all , coincidentally on an AC flight from LHR to YVR ,sitting next to an elderly gentleman and his wife, he got very excited as he noticed the flight map and the fact we were about to fly directly above “his” Hebridean island ( He was a gamekeeper/Ghillie).

    His face beamed like a child as he pointed out landmarks on his island !! Truly one of my most memorable travel moments.

    Other memorable sights that are etched in my happy place….

    1) On a JAL flight from SYD to TKO – a perfect butterfly shaped tropical paradise island!
    2) Same AC flight as above – The Greenland fjords shared with Mr Hebrides over a dram
    3) Following the Nile as it meandered its way to Uganda – Thanks KQ captain
    4) The Red and Greens of the OZ outback on a flight from MEL – Alice
    5) AMS – HKG, gasping in awe at the emptiness and isolation of Siberia

    Not even mentioning the cities I’ve flown over at 35,000 ft— Moscow/Paris/London/Toronto/ Reykjavik/Brisbane/Bilbao and many, many more !!

    I could go on and on , ie the Grand canyon , but I think you’ve got my point, I mean I’ve not even mention the beautiful sunsets and sunrises yet! : )

    So if you want to sleep that’s fine, I’m not averse to the blinds being pulled down, I do object to being forced to keep the blind fully down and missing one of the true wonders of flying …

    After all someone went to the trouble of inventing…. Eye masks.


    I’m with you canuklad but do agree it can prove challenging sometimes on longer flights especially when all the blinds in the cabin are shut and someone opens it up to see where they are and you get that blinding glare from the sun!

    I’m one for looking out of the window but am also aware of people around me especially if they’re asleep or watching a film etc. If I can, I would normally go the galley and look out the small door windows – not a great view I know due to the limied size of the window but it does sometimes save annoying your neighbour – that’s if you haven’t woken them up already by climbing over them to get out in the first place!

    Additionally, expecially with all the social media sites available to everyone now, I think everyone wants to share their experiences with friends and relatives be that on twitter, facebook or instagram.

    Personally, flying from the East and on approach into LHR landing on either Runway 27L or 27R I track our co-ordinates from going over Clacton, onto Chelmsford, following the A12 to the M25 etc etc! It’s the little things!


    In my opinion window blinds shoud be open as much as possible, for the joys canucklad mentioned. If you want to sleep, use the eye shades!

    Nice one Tembo11

    I love to follow the route, and if I had the blinds closed I would have missed Greenland, Mount Fuji, Athens by night………

    And on westbound flights to the US sometimes you look out the window and seeing another aircraft following the same route is worth the price of the ticket alone.

    Having said that, on long flights I tend to reserve an aisle seat and only sit by the window if it’s a duo.


    Very interesting topic and one that is a continual issue for me, until I decided to go to Window seat instead of Aisle, especially upstairs on the 747.

    My issue on the open / closed blinds is that I feel very uncomfortable either taking off or landing with the blinds closed. I like to see the ground,, rather than feel it….BA is one of the few airlines that allows the blinds to be closed for t/o and landing..

    I generally explain this to the passenger who has control of the blinds and USUALLY they will keep open for t/o or open at top of the decent as well as bringing the seat separator down (on BA)…

    With regards to inflight…. I now sit by the window on longhaul and happy to keep blinds shut at night, but will keep open during the day. If asked by cabin crew to shut the blinds, I will generally say NO… but will half close…


    I too enjoy the sights you can experience through the window.

    Even after countless flights I have to admit if i’m not watching a movie I’ll be listening to some soothing music and bouncing between the view out of my window and the onscreen map. Childish it may be, but I find it very relaxing and informative looking at some of the places i’m passing over.

    Agreed with everyone above. If you want to sleep, use the eye masks.


    Morning Surrey Traveller

    I didn’t even consider the sights when landing or taking off, and your approach into LHR with all your personal landmarks reminds me that I did get so jaded that I started to take the fantastic sights of London for granted.

    However if I was travelling with someone who didn’t travel regularly I would forgo 1A & choose seats on the right hand side…. My travelling companions eyes wouldn’t shift from the window as we flew across “The Emirates” then a wee bank then “The City” , “Westminster “ and finally if landing on the northern runway “ Our Work “ !

    Other notable personal approaches …into EDI I fly over my work, then my village, pubs & house included! And into YVR, if on the left side of the aircraft, low enough to see my sisters back yard, and her mad dog, never mind all the places I misbehaved as an adventurous boy !

    The Siberian experience was also a misbehaving moment, whilst I flirted with the lovely KLM stewardess at the galley door….I exclaimed ” My God, could you imagine waking up there” as I pointed out a small town, far below surrounded by 100’s of miles of ice….. 5 minutes later and both of us still laughing at the prospect of waking up in the town 1, we flew over an even more desolate hamlet…” ****** sake, never mind the first place” …Now giggling, the Mother Superior appeared and requested I returned to my seat….. never did arrange to meet my giggling companion in Wan Chai !


    OK, here’s a confession – I still take foto’s approaching Heathrow over London virtually every flight I can….

    I also take fotos of clouds, sun rise, sun set, lad shapes from cruising level and here’s the biggest confession….. I have even asked pilots to take fotos of certain landmarks, like Mt Everest….

    When I fly in the exec jet, I generally take 50 – 60 pics per trip…

    This explains another reason why I like to have the blinds open..

    I have thousands of pictures and will continue to take pics as every single one, gives me a wonderful memory…

    As the others have said, eye shades allow sleeping in daylight….


    I am very much a fan of leaving the blinds open all along. If it’s dark outside and you want to read, use your personal light. If it’s daytime and you want to sleep, use your mask. Easy as that. 🙂


    If one has no wish to enjoy this….

    please use readily available eye covers.
    ( Though on BA you will need to ask for them as they apparently are no longer included in the amenity bag.)


    This is a really interesting niggle. Maybe the novelty of seeing familiar sights form the air has been worn thin by Google Earth. I’m firmly in the camp of blinds open, on long haul daylight flights (Easy > West). I had the pleasure of a trip from HK back to London last year. Having been plied with generous measures of Champagne and a delicious meal. The cabin attendant came round the cabin and asked in such a nice way ‘Would I put the blind down, for the little girl to sleep’. Off course I did. It was sometime later I though ‘what’s wrong with the eye mask?’ I’d planned to stay awake during the flight so I could go to sleep when I got home and hopefully be time synchronized the following morning.

    I’ve somewhat of the opinion we’re required to sleep for the middle section of long haul flights for the benefit of the crew. I would make a point that the request was dealt with so well by the crew I couldn’t do anything other than bring my blind down.


    I also prefer to fly with the blinds open. It’s far more natural than sitting in a dark tube for however long the duration is. I’ve had one or two disagreements with others over time including crew who try to insist that the blinds must be closed. In that context I’ve never understood the word must.

    SIA, QR and QF always insist on the blinds being open for take off and landing. I can’t remember whether it’s still the norm as the last time I was in Aus we only flew during the day but QF also used to have the cabin lights on full for take off and landing contrary to practice in the rest of the world.


    Interestingly the next generation of executive jet may not have any passenger windows at all.

    This helps streamline and strengthen the fuselage and increase the speed.

    Windows are replaced by a screen fed by micro cameras (similar to the 007 tech on the AM in Die another day)

    However some next generation airliners may have seriosly panoramic windows-

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