Opened or Closed? The Debate Over Aircraft Window Shades

Putting all shades down so cabin is dark may be a good idea for those who want to sleep or watch a movie — especially on a long-haul flight — but what if the passenger by the window wants that natural light to shine on in, or perhaps the passenger in the window seat wants to watch the view outside as it passes by?

The debate is on between FlyerTalk members who believe that passengers should listen to the recommendation of the flight attendants to close the window shades while on-board the aircraft versus those who believe they should be able to open the window shades any time they prefer.

Unlike the debate over who gets to use the shared armrest in the economy class cabin — which usually involves only two people — one open window shade can affect many passengers in the cabin.

Is there a compromise? Should the passenger who wants the window shade open ask permission from either fellow passengers or a flight attendant first? Is opening the window shade only part of the way an acceptable compromise?

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