Cabin crew secrets: Flight attendant shares importance of keeping window blinds up

Virgin Atlantic cabin crew expert details onboard medical services

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Flights come with all sort of security measures that travellers must comply with. Not all aviation rules make sense to jet-setters, though. One requirement issued by cabin crew on every flight is keeping your window blind open for take-off and landing.

Why are plane passengers required to do this?

Well, it is an important safety requirement.

By raising the blinds, passengers’ eyes can get used to the natural light outside, whether it’s daytime or night time.

This is vital should the aircraft need to be evacuated as the passengers will be accustomed to the light level.

Aviation safety rules in the US, UK, and Australia require planes to be built so they can be completely evacuated in less than 90 seconds.

This is because that is the time gap before the jet fuels in the tank can ignite and explode.

Therefore it’s crucial passengers are not disorientated when they leave the plane so they can exit as rapidly as possible.

Another reason window blinds need to be up is to help orient passengers if the plane crashes.

“The reason you have to raise your window shade is so you’ll have a better feel for which is up and which is way is down,” cabin crew member Betty N Thesky wrote in her book, Betty in the Sky with a Suitcase.

“[This will] give you better orientation if there’s an accident, as well as making it easier for rescuers to see inside.”

Lights in the aircraft are also dimmed at take-off and landing to help crew and passenger’s eyes adjust.

“The reason lights are dimmed is so you’re not blinded by light while dashing through smoke and to make emergency lights easier to see,” explained Betty.

Another rule that might aggravate passengers is having to put up their tray table for takeoff and landing.

“The reason you have to return your tray table to its upright and locked position is so you won’t impale yourself on it if the plane crashes,” clarified Betty.

What’s more, tray tables could prove an impediment during an evacuation.

Making sure they are all fastened and up means there will be a clear path should fliers need to evacuate.

A third rule travellers might find irritating is putting their aircraft seats back in an upright position.

Betty has the answer: “The reason you have to return your seat to its upright position is to make evacuation easier in event of a disaster, to minimise whiplash and to prevent you from slipping under your seat belt in the event of a sudden stop.”

Making sure your seatbelt is done up correctly at the required time is also vital.

“Something as simple as a properly buckled belt could mean the difference between serious and minor injury,” said Pilot Patrick Smith his book Cockpit Confidential.

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