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United Has a New Shade Policy

United Has a New Shade Policy
Taylor Rains

United Airlines recently announced a few new policy changes coming in February: window shades are required to be open during taxi, takeoff, and landing, and power cords will be allowed to remain plugged in during all phases of flight. Both of these new rules will go into effect on February 1, 2020.

Window Shades Must Remain Open

United’s new policy will require passengers to open their window shades during taxi, takeoff, and landing which is standard on many non-US airlines. However, it does not appear that the rule will be heavily enforced. Flight attendants will announce the request, but not force passengers to comply. From the forums, many FlyerTalkers have confirmed that the policy has already gone into effect, stating the flight attendants made the announcement on recent flights.

Most FlyerTalkers applauded the new policy, but some wondered: “Why now?”

FlyerTalker drewguy explained that “…in the case of an issue during takeoff or landing it’s a lot better for people to be able to see out the window to help assess the situation if an evacuation is needed.”

But some made it clear of their dislike of the shade-up policy.

FlyerTalker ironcow13 wrote: “I must be the only one who hates the shade rule. First, open shades make these planes even hotter than they already are. So many flights now, particularly on 737s, are stuffy and hot, which often causes me mild nausea. This rule will make it worse. Second, there is little more annoying on a flight that getting blasted in the face by the sun because you are just sitting in the wrong spot and the person across the aisle doesn’t close their shade. Almost as bad is when the sun reflects off someone’s ipad or computer screen and into one’s face. Hate the change, and will generally attempt to not comply.”

Electronics Can Remain Plugged In

Airlines typically do not allow charging cables to be plugged in for taxi, takeoff, and landing but it seems that United is no longer worried about that. Going forward, flight attendants will not request passengers to unplug their cell phones, laptops, or other electronics from the charging ports.

What do you think about these changes? Let us know in the comments!

View Comments (14)


  1. ChrisHaynesUSA

    January 28, 2020 at 4:09 pm

    electronics plugged in is a trip hazard

  2. am1108

    January 28, 2020 at 10:02 pm

    I think shades up is a good policy, most other airlines seem to do this for safety during takeoff and landing. I never liked the “dark” flights during the day. The electronics though can be a trip hazard so not a fan of that.

  3. mikeschumann

    January 29, 2020 at 5:23 am

    If you want to close your shade, why are you in a window seat? If you don’t like the window, pick and aisle seat and let someone have the window who actually wants to look outside.

  4. horseymike

    January 29, 2020 at 5:27 am

    the shade thing is nothing new. i guess they have just decided to enforce it.

  5. Danwriter

    January 29, 2020 at 7:20 am

    Shades should be open for TT&L.

  6. beg3yrs

    January 29, 2020 at 7:39 am

    Daytime flying out of Tucson or Phoenix in the summer is going to be a problem for United.

  7. drphun

    January 29, 2020 at 8:29 am

    I am sure other US airlines already required window shades to be open during taxi, takeoff, and landing as a safety issue, as I have been asked by flight attendants to open them for that reason when the sun was in my face. (They did it at the same time as they did the seatbelt/seatback/tray table check.)

  8. dhdickson

    January 29, 2020 at 11:15 am

    IMHO, this is not a big ask and makes sense from a safety perspective. Regarding the temperature issue, shades could still be closed once the aircraft arrives at the gate, and only re-opened when the cabin door is closed and the aircraft is ready to taxi. As for the “sun in the face” issue, shades only would be open for a short time, and considering the amount of aircraft movement during that period, no one would be subjected to long-term glare.

  9. picturegal

    January 29, 2020 at 12:09 pm

    I like to look out the window when I’m flying, not only for takeoff and landing but also when flying over mountains, rivers, or any interesting topography. That’s why I always try to get a window seat. What I hate is being told to close the shade so other people can watch TV.

  10. Gombu

    January 29, 2020 at 2:48 pm

    I like the window seat and tend to close the shade because I don’t like to get blasted by the light. I am light sensitive and sometime sthe glare can be brutal whether window or isle seat for me.

    I do enjoy the special scenic views though, mtns, grand canyon, icebergs, some metro areas, etc…..can be neat to see another plane zooming by in the other direction too

  11. EPtraveler

    January 29, 2020 at 7:25 pm

    I fly 3 times a month. I have light blue eyes and the bright light is bad for me. My eye doctor says I will get cataracts early if I’m not careful. So, I have the shade up on take off/landing, but other times I close the shade. I don’t want to sit there with sun glasses on trying to see my video screen.
    Air France has had a policy of shades up for take off/landing for all seats. It’s a good idea. It should be standard policy for all.

  12. Moyerclan

    January 29, 2020 at 10:53 pm

    Sunglasses are handy.

  13. kkua

    January 31, 2020 at 6:31 am

    The potential trip hazzard is more dangerous to your electronic device than it is to the human (trip, flung, drop and crack). FAs can turn off the sockets and announce power will automatically turn on upon reaching cruising altitude.

  14. MRM

    February 5, 2020 at 8:18 pm

    Stupid rule on sunny, bright days. It has nothing to do with whether or not you”re sitting by a window – sometimes the reflection is just too dang bright if you’re in an unlucky seat. Sorry, but between that and the heat – and the issue so EASILY being taken care of by one simple move – it’s a stupid policy. There’s zero reason for a passenger “needing to assess a safety situation” if the plane is having issues – the pilots won’t need their “help”.

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