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Too much crew control of window shades on 787?

Too much crew control of window shades on 787?

Old Apr 4, 17, 7:51 am
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Too much crew control of window shades on 787?

I'm on UA 2 SIN-SFO right now. This is my first time taking this non-stop flight out of Singapore.

About 20 minutes after departure, the crew darkened all window shades, as is possible with the crew override function of the 787. The windows have remained on the darkest setting for the duration of the flight.

The departure time in Singapore for this flight is 9 a.m., so this is ostensibly a daytime flight... at least until it isn't (somewhere over the Pacific a few hours into the flight, when we met up with the westbound sunset). While the flightpath is largely over only ocean, the initial part of the flight should be fairly picturesque, flying right over the Spratly and Philippine islands. Like many other FTers, I enjoy flying and usually I intentionally choose the window seat. The 787's window on its darkest setting lets through very little light, making sightseeing unrealistic and aerial photography impossible.

I know this is a first-world problem and verges on the never-ending debate over who controls the window shade, etc. But it seems reasonable for passengers to expect some availability of looking out the window on 15+ hour flight. This isn't a cargo airline.

For the record, I tend to think I'm pretty respectful with the window shade and cognizant of others trying to watch movies, sleep, etc. If the crew wants the shades dim during their meal service or whatever, perhaps some type of halfway-dim setting compromise would be reasonable. Isn't this the point, after all, of the dimming window shades on the 787; the ability to maintain passenger comfort while still allowing passengers to see out the window?

I'm planning to ask the service manager at the conclusion of the flight, but was wondering about others' experiences on this flight. Is this a company policy for this flight? Or a crew-based decision? Am I being unreasonable to want to see out the window during this flight?
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Old Apr 4, 17, 8:18 am
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Originally Posted by Dromomaniac View Post
I'm on UA 2 SIN-SFO right now. This is my first time taking this non-stop flight out of Singapore.

About 20 minutes after departure, the crew darkened all window shades, as is possible with the crew override function of the 787. The windows have remained on the darkest setting for the duration of the flight.

The departure time in Singapore for this flight is 9 a.m., so this is ostensibly a daytime flight... at least until it isn't (somewhere over the Pacific a few hours into the flight, when we met up with the westbound sunset). While the flightpath is largely over only ocean, the initial part of the flight should be fairly picturesque, flying right over the Spratly and Philippine islands. Like many other FTers, I enjoy flying and usually I intentionally choose the window seat. The 787's window on its darkest setting lets through very little light, making sightseeing unrealistic and aerial photography impossible.

I know this is a first-world problem and verges on the never-ending debate over who controls the window shade, etc. But it seems reasonable for passengers to expect some availability of looking out the window on 15+ hour flight. This isn't a cargo airline.

For the record, I tend to think I'm pretty respectful with the window shade and cognizant of others trying to watch movies, sleep, etc. If the crew wants the shades dim during their meal service or whatever, perhaps some type of halfway-dim setting compromise would be reasonable. Isn't this the point, after all, of the dimming window shades on the 787; the ability to maintain passenger comfort while still allowing passengers to see out the window?

I'm planning to ask the service manager at the conclusion of the flight, but was wondering about others' experiences on this flight. Is this a company policy for this flight? Or a crew-based decision? Am I being unreasonable to want to see out the window during this flight?
In my handful of experiences it's standard for the crew to force the windows dim on the 787. I don't like it either. What I'd prefer is for the crew to dim the cabin but not lock the shades, so that they could still be manipulated individually. That seems like it would be reasonable.
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Old Apr 4, 17, 8:21 am
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Less light in cabin = more sleeping passengers = less work for the crew.
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Old Apr 4, 17, 8:29 am
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my most recent 787 flight they dimmed all the shades after lunch but you could change it if you wanted to. LAX-NRT.
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Old Apr 4, 17, 8:31 am
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I think it's more of a crew based decision (but a cautious one at that). Due to the nature of many travelers who jobs keep them on a plane more times than not, it's always 'night' somewhere and you're going to have a passenger who's jetlagged or simply wants sleep.

This crew-based decision comes from the fact that many times I've seen a person ask the FA to ask another passenger a couple rows ahead/back to lower the window shade during a daytime flight. You probably have more people asking for the shades to be closed, rather than to be open. Therefore, crews err on the cautious side.
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Old Apr 4, 17, 9:51 am
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How granular is the 787 crew override? I.e if 0 is bright and 10 is fully dimmed, could the crew:

1. Set all the shades to 10
2. Lock the maximum brightness at 6 or 7?
3. Then PAX could choose to max their window not as dimmed?
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Old Apr 4, 17, 9:54 am
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I support this move to close the shades cabin-wide on long haul flights. One open shade kills the darkness. Overhead and task lights are always available to passengers and have much less impact on passengers trying to sleep or watch a movie glare-free.
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Old Apr 4, 17, 10:02 am
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OP here.

I spoke with the service manager at the end of the flight. He seemed genuinely understanding and said that he would have unlocked my shade had I asked. I also acknowledged, to him, that I understood that it would always be impossible to please everyone. He claimed it was company policy, but then a couple minutes later seemed to indicate he knew that different crews might do things different ways. I suggested the "set it but don't lock people out" method, for what that's worth.

I like the 787, and the tinting window shades are a neat feature (gimmick?), but the potential loss of control with regard to the window makes me reconsider whether it's the best choice on particularly scenic routes.

I should note that on this particular flight, the shades remained darkened even during:
- Night time flying, when all it prevented was stargazing, and
- During most of the final meal service, during which time the crew turned on cabin lighting and nearly everyone was awake and eating.
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Old Apr 4, 17, 10:02 am
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Originally Posted by 1015-1k View Post
I support this move to close the shades cabin-wide on long haul flights. One open shade kills the darkness. Overhead and task lights are always available to passengers and have much less impact on passengers trying to sleep or watch a movie glare-free.
Unlike traditional windows, 787 windows are dim-able. As someone else mentioned, we should still be able to view at half brightness level without flooding the cabin with light in the same way that a regular window shade would.

I specifically select window seats to be able to look out and stare into the vastness of the sky and land. It is a great way for me to pass time instead of just staring at the seat in front of you. If they lock the shades, then what's the point of getting a window seat in the first place?
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Old Apr 4, 17, 10:08 am
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Originally Posted by Explorer789 View Post
Unlike traditional windows, 787 windows are dim-able. As someone else mentioned, we should still be able to view at half brightness level without flooding the cabin with light in the same way that a regular window shade would.
Correct and, furthermore, a halfway or mostly dimmed window will often result in much less ambient light than the individual task lights on the 787.
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Old Apr 4, 17, 10:15 am
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Originally Posted by 1015-1k View Post
I support this move to close the shades cabin-wide on long haul flights. One open shade kills the darkness. Overhead and task lights are always available to passengers and have much less impact on passengers trying to sleep or watch a movie glare-free.
I suggest movies off on long haul flights. One screen kills the darkness.
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Old Apr 4, 17, 10:27 am
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Originally Posted by Dromomaniac View Post
I spoke with the service manager at the end of the flight. He seemed genuinely understanding and said that he would have unlocked my shade had I asked.
End of discussion.
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Old Apr 4, 17, 10:40 am
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Originally Posted by Explorer789 View Post
Unlike traditional windows, 787 windows are dim-able. As someone else mentioned, we should still be able to view at half brightness level without flooding the cabin with light in the same way that a regular window shade would.

I specifically select window seats to be able to look out and stare into the vastness of the sky and land. It is a great way for me to pass time instead of just staring at the seat in front of you. If they lock the shades, then what's the point of getting a window seat in the first place?
I totally agree. And this situation is enough of a reason for me to avoid flying internationally on UA 787 equipment.
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Old Apr 4, 17, 10:51 am
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Originally Posted by Dromomaniac View Post
OP here.

I spoke with the service manager at the end of the flight.
Does service manager = flight service coordinator? This indicates a sCO crew. As others have mentioned upthread, the decision on dimming was then less on service and more on less hassle for the crew. Having dimmed the windows for the whole plane but not providing individual controls thereafter speaks volumes as to why it was done in the first place.

David
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Old Apr 4, 17, 11:12 am
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Originally Posted by notquiteaff View Post
I suggest movies off on long haul flights. One screen kills the darkness.
This may be the first time I've seen sarcasm used effectively on FT. Well done.
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