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- This topic has 25 replies, 20 voices, and was last updated 9 Feb 2023
at 23:56 by fatbear.
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Thats not true. Window blinds only became a thing at BA (Mainline anyway) around 2012 or a bit later I believe. BMI had a different policy but BA certainly allowed it until more recently.
I know as I was crew for BA for many many years. The BA procedure was that only windows on or adjacent to exits must be open for take off and landing.
I think its down to the respective carriers in many areas. For example in the UK it was never mandatory, BA never asked you to open a blind for take off or landing until about 7 or 8 years ago following the merger with BMI for some reason.
Sorry but I think you are wrong on this.
“…..seat backs in the upright position, arm rests down, tray tables stowed away and window blinds open” is part of the pre take-off briefing that I remember hearing over decades on BA flights.
As they say, recollections may vary. I was on the receiving end of a ticking off on many, many occasions for not complying with your erstwhile colleagues instructions.
Opening window blinds IS a safety issue. A few years back I wrote to BA and CAA to question why BA didn’t ask for blinds to be open, and at that time they told me it wasn’t a safety issue and they didn’t want to burden cabin crew with extra checks of the cabin.
Then suddenly BA changed its policy, after they had a 777 engine fire at Las Vegas. Fire officers couldn’t see inside the cabin from outside, so they had no idea if fire had spread to there or not.
The passenger safety angle is, as a writer has correctly stated above, so we can see if there is a fire on a particular side of the plane, so we use the opposite side emergency exits.
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Philsquares: SOPs don’t only apply to the flight crew. I spent 10 years as cabin crew in a previous life…our training was based on SOPs. They apply to any safety aspect of the flight. Window blinds open for takeoff and landing was part of our cabin secure SOP.
I’m interested in the views on this article after recent flights. I know from US domestic travel that it’s common practice there for pax to keep blinds down for the whole trip or for crews to request it; a rarity in Europe. A recent Air Transat flight, GLA-YYZ, took things a step further. This was a daytime flight, 0830 – 1300. On boarding, all of the blinds were closed. Pax started opening them, some seemed nervous around the extraordinarily militant crew (the inflight director referred to ‘law enforcement meeting the aircraft on arrival in Toronto’ three times during boarding in relation to ‘if you fail to comply with…’ – this didn’t seem to be in reaction to misbehaving travelers, it seemed to be either a power trip or a bad day kind of issue) and asked those around them, “are we allowed to open these?”
The crew did not ask for window blinds to be open for takeoff but did very little in terms of cabin secure either – the chap with a trolley bag on his lap was ignored and the lady in 2A talking on her mobile during takeoff until the signal cut out was similarly given a free pass. Around 30 minutes into the flight, the flight director made an announcement about window blinds. He said these needed to be “closed immediately for the benefit of those who wish to slumber and those who wish to fully enjoy our marvelous inflight entertainment.” He went on, “Unless you are ACTIVELY looking out of the window, your window shade must be closed.” He seemed oblivious to the chuckle that rippled through the cabin at this point. For the next hour, his only task was admonishing pax for opening window blinds and not actively looking out of them. Again for context – this was a daytime flight, westbound over the Atlantic. Some pax were sleeping but most were very much awake. After this hour, he had an almighty strop and we could hear him mouthing off in the forward galley about how difficult it is to get pax to comply.
I have lots of issues with this, both as a former crew member but now as a commuter and leisure traveler. The experience spoiled the flight for a few people around me – an elderly couple had really looked forward to eyeballing Greenland if we flew over any of it; we did, but the crew were on their case so they had to stay noses-pressed against the window. The imbalance between lack of care or competence in inflight safety vs having a fit because people want to look outside during their flight. The enthusiasm for law enforcement meeting the aircraft vs a warm welcome.
This was my first experience with Air Transat and I liked the A330 club cabin and their catering service was significantly better than anything I’ve had on BA Club recently. But the window blinds and attitude of the crew were a real downer. And law enforcement did NOT meet the aircraft 😉
On goes the debate!
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It is my belief that any of the first level airlines require the window blinds to be open for landing and most for take-off also.
Airlines on which the cabin staff are properly trained and supervised are strict about these requirements in my 50 years of experience.
Some 3 level low cost providers have it seems requirements that are somewhat odd and unfathomable.
I’m ex Virgin crew and we were always told to have the blinds up for take off and landing phases of the flight so that passengers could report anything untoward going on outide the aircraft to the cabin crew. Also it helped the crew have some sort of situational awareness. A forum member mentioned cabin lighting. I am sure most of you are aware that these are dimmed during the hours of darkness so your eyes can adjust to the darkness outside should there be a need to evacuate the aircraft. During my time as crew I was under the impression these were CAA rules.
I don’t have much knowledge about this conversation. But it looks interesting and healthy conversation between all of you. I just want to say hello to everyone.
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Back in the early 1990s I used to regularly fly from Seoul to Taegu which was also a military air-base. It was compulsory to close the window blinds for take off and landing, presumably so that you couldn’t see the military aircraft, although I often wondered how much more info we could detect than a satellite.
It was also quite strange not knowing how high you were, nor when to expect the landing “bump”. I did once take a peep, and the cabin crew came at me like a missile to close it tight.