Have you ever wondered why do airline cabin attendants would usually ask you to open your window shades before the aircraft takes off? And whenever the aircraft is set to land?
Each cabin attendants will do an end-to-end round to make sure that each of the passenger’s window is open. And if you are in the middle of your nap time, they might tap you courteously and ask you to open the window.
It may sound and look trivial to you. Or even sometimes irritating especially when you intentionally closed the window slide.
But why? Is there any specific explanation of why the windows should be kept open whenever the aircraft is taking off or landing?
Yes, there is. The reason behind it is very important. And you (us), have an important role to play. And it is all about safety – not only yours but everyone aboard the plane.
In Case Of Emergency, 90 Seconds Is All It Takes
According to experts, the cabin crews only have 90 seconds (1min and 30secs) to evacuate all passengers in case of unexpected emergencies. And this timeframe does not change regardless of how big is the aircraft.
“Well, cabin crew have only 90 seconds to evacuate all passengers in case of emergencies. The process of evacuation itself should not take more than 90 seconds regardless of the size of the aircraft or the number of passengers. So to make the evacuation possible in 90 seconds cabin crew and other airlines staff will prepare every flight in advance to make this possible. “– Mridul Newton, from Quora
Based on ICAO Safety’s accident statistics, the occurrence of aircraft accidents goes up every year.
In another report, there were 59 death fatalities back in 2017 attributed to airline accidents. And this climbed to 561 in 2018 – a 900% increase. And it was predicted that the numbers will go higher in 2019.
And according to experts, the taking off and landing procedure is the most critical in a flight. Most accidents happen during these moments. So, being alert and aware of your surroundings is very important during these times.
Why Is Opening The Aircraft’s Window Shade Important?
Given the 90 seconds timeframe for evacuation, how does opening the window shade helps?
- Most passengers, especially first-timers, are always curious. Sometimes, these are the people who would prefer to book a flight and take a window-seat. They are said to be perfect extra eyes. They will surely report in case something unusual happens – or an emergency;
- With the window slides are open and if there’s an emergency, it will be easy for cabin crews to react. They’d be able to see the outside situation and assess which door should be opened for evacuation;
- Opening the window shades will also help our eyes to prevent temporary blurry vision. During daylight and whether the aircraft is taking off or landing, the cabin lights are also set to full bright. The same thing happens during the night, cabin lights are dimmed. This is to help our vision not to be affected by the sudden change of light.
- Last but not least, the ground emergency personnel will be able to assess the situation inside the aircraft if the window shades are open.
Being alert is different from being paranoid. It is better to be safe than disregard these small things.
So the next time your cabin attendant asks you politely to open your window shade, try to appreciate what they are doing. It’s for you anyway.
Have a safe flight!