Pilot shares common mistake passengers make ‘reducing odds of survival’

Michael McIntyre jokes about using airplane blinds

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Many travellers share their thoughts on the social question-and-answer website Quora and industry experts often get back to solve the mysteries.

A Quora user asked something many travellers often wonder.

The question read: “Why do planes open window shades when landing?”

Commercial helicopter pilot Marshall Smith replied: “Most aircraft windows don’t open but If you are referring to why they open the window blinds/shades when landing then that has to do with safety.

“The purpose is to allow your eyes to adjust to the outdoor light levels.

“That is so if there is an emergency and you have to rapidly evacuate you won’t be blinded by the sudden burst of light.”

The pilot continued: “This is also why they turn the lights off when landing at night.

“So that your eyes will be adjusted to the dark in case you have to evacuate since already being adjusted to darkness means you can see immediately and don’t have to wait for your eyes to adjust to the darkness.”

Charles Swenson, however, added there is another reason behind this rule: “I might add that in the event of a crash the interior lights may go out.

“So opening the shades also provides light to the interior of the aircraft in the event of a crash landing.”

Traveller Samith Chathuranga said: “I asked this from a flight attendant and she told me that we are opening the blinds just in case any emergency happens.

“So passengers can immediately inform us.

“It may be a cross flight about to crash or wings getting fire, just like that.”

Jah Man agreed: “In case of a crash landing, the cabin crew can see if there are any flames and where they are.

“So they can choose the best emergency exits to safely egress the passengers.”

Pilot Matt Buchan explained having the reading light on can also be dangerous in case of an emergency.

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With endless culture, gorgeous beaches and weather to die for, Greece is a great choice both for romantic getaways and family trips. Wander the historical streets of Athens and Thessaloniki or head to an island to soak up the sun – the choice is yours.


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He said: “Funny, when I see people turn their reading light on for landing, I always wonder if they realise they’re potential reducing their odds of survival in the event of something serious…”

User Net King added: “Similarly, the curtains separating classes are opened at takeoff and landing.

“That is so staff can see better what is happening if there is an emergency.”

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