American Airlines has told flight attendants to stop locking 787 window dimmers. Thank you American for instructing your crews to stop prohibiting passengers from being able to look out their window, a move which parallels instructions United Airlines has given to flight attendants.
American Airlines 787 Window Dimmers – Hands Off Flight Attendants!
On daytime flights, I always choose a window seat when available. It’s precisely because I like to look out the window (wow, what a concept) and control my light. I far prefer natural light to the hard light of the overhead lamp and note that watching the sunrise on a transatlantic flight seems to help my body’s rhythm adjust and proactively combat jet lag.
But this can get tricky on a Boeing 787, which features dimming glass, like transition glasses, instead of traditional window shades. That’s nice in theory, but often not so much in practice.
That’s because flight attendants lock them. Ostensibly, this is to protect customers from “bad actors” who disturb the sleep of everyone else, but over the years I have routinely seen window shades locked on daytime flights. That has led to reasonable speculation that some flight attendant lock 787 window shades so as to minimize in-flight services. Passengers are less likely to want to eat and drink when the cabin is dark.
In February 2020, United Airlines sent a memo to flight attendants telling them not to lock the window shades in the “closed” position. I’m pleased to report that my 20+ 787 flights over the last year on United have not featured a single instance of the window shade being locked.
Yes, flight attendants will still make the cabin dark by automatically dimming all the windows. But I have not encountered a situation in which the windows have been locked. Instead, you can un-dim the window that was remotely dimmed.
Now American Airlines has told its flight attendants not to lock windows. In a memo shared by @xJonNYC, AA has explicitly forbidden flight attendants from locking 787 window shades:
Customers sitting in the window seats enjoy watching take off, landing and even spotting landmarks from the sky. The Boeing 787 windows are larger and have unique controls for window shades. Recent feedback about customer experiences on this aircraft is that the windows are being fully dimmed and locked by flight attendants, leaving customers frustrated that they are unable to control the window features from their seat. Do not lock the window features on the Boeing 787. It’s important that each customer at a window can control their own experience.
Interestingly, a comment left on One Mile At A Time from an American Airlines flight attendant defended the practice and suggested it will continue:
On long haul, it’s on us to help regulate the sleep cycle for our passengers so they arrive as well rested as possible. The plane was literally designed to be used that way. When I lock the windows overnight on long haul only, I lock them between 3 & 5 (1 being the brightest, 5 being darkest) so you at least have some control over it. Leave it to the one a**h*le to want his window shade open when 300 other people are trying to sleep.
Do my coworkers overuse this function? Yes. Is it occasionally important to lock the windows? Absolutely.
The flight attendant’s point is not totally unreasonable. Should one passenger be able to “ruin it” for everyone on an overnight flight? I’m of the opinion that while it is courteous to keep your window shade shut (or to refrain from reclining your seat), it is your right to open it, even at night.
I’ve even had nightmares about window shades being locked on the 787…this is an issue I take seriously!
Kudos to American Airlines for telling flight attendants not to lock the dimmers on the 787. Just like with traditional window shades, passengers who choose a window seat should have control over the light coming in.
Hopefully, like on United, this will result in the cessation of “locked” windows, particularly on daytime flights.
> Read More: United Airlines Tells Flight Attendants To Stop Locking 787 Window Shades
> Read More: My Nightmare About Airline Meals And 787 Window Shades
(H/T: One Mile At A Time)
@ Matthew — I 100% disagree with you. The window shades should be locked. It is rude and selfish to open them while others are sleeping.
Totally disagree with the article. Shades should be locked after take off especially on long hauls because there’s always that one inconsiderate passenger with the shade wide open while others are trying to sleep and this helps prevent that.
They have these really cool things called eye shades that can be used for passengers who wish to sleep during daytime hours. If it’s that important to people, choose the window seat and enjoy your flight in a cave.
The rest of us who actually enjoy the experience of seeing what’s outside (and who are claustrophobic) do not deserve a less enjoyable experience for those who sleep at weird hours that can’t be bothered to bring an eye shade.
Not sure how granular FA controls are, can they lockout just the brightest setting with no dimming? (If any 787 trained FA is reading this, please let me know.) That would be helpful for an overnight flight. The first level of dimming mostly lets you see outside but reduces much of the ambient light in the cabin.
Agree with most daytime flights should never have windows locked out.
There are five stages (1-5) on the 787. FAs can lock out all the light or they can lock out it out partially.
I have never had a problem sleeping on flights with shades open, but if I did, I guarantee I would carry some eye shades with me. If I choose the window seat, I should have the ability to see out. Ridiculous that the entire plane needs to be dark so a few people can sleep.
@Matthew Klint, I know about the five levels of dimming. I am curious if the FA panel lets them lock in any of the five or just two.
I don’t want the window shades to be locked on a domestic daytime flight. But for the long-haul transoceanic flights that fly from night in to day when most passengers bodies are set for sleep, I actually prefer the FAs lock the windows to dark. And anyway, just what ‘landmarks’ do you expect to see when you’re flying over the ocean? The International date line?
@LS the length of a flight hasn’t got anythong to do with whether it’s ‘transoceanic’. Indeed, one of the longest scheduled flights out there (LHR-PER) doesn’t cross any oceans at all. Similarly, AA fly some pretty long routes to the likes of EZE which barely even involve timezone changes. I think Matthew makes the coreect distinction between daytime and overnight flights- if anything, the mid-haul overnight flights are where maximising sleep really is crucial. It’s easy enough to find time to sleep when flying YVR-ICN, but you are not going to get fully rested if you’re departing BOG at midnight and reaching GIG at 5:30 am.
I fly to 3 times a year in Business Class on American Airlines (pre-pandemic) and flight attendants always lock the shades, on every flight from take off to landing the whole plane is dark. Totally selfish of their flight attendants.
remove windows from trains, too. there is always one who must sleep. and those are the dudes calling people selfish wanting a open window.
Talk about inconsiderate. If you want to sleep, bring a sleep mask. Most international flights give you one free.
I do not get to fly very often but when I do I will only pick to fly with a window seat! Does not matter if it’s day or night my window shade is open. If you don’t like it you can always sit in the back of the plane cause every one I have seen has seats with no windows. Or if it is going to bother you then YOU pick the window seat so YOU can close the shade! I know my daughter is a travel nurse and flys four times a month and always trys to pick a window seat so she can sleep if she wants to (more room to sleep if she want to or something to keep her occupied if that’s what she want )What she hates is when they move her cause she has perks for flying so much and they give her a seat that is not a window seat. Sometimes she can get her seat back but not always she tells them she has removed the perks from her profile so leave her have the seat she picked! So it kinda simple if you are mad that someone like me who will NEVER close my window then YOU pick that window seat so YOU can close it and stop complaining about if someone else wants it open it’s that simple.
Paying pax should have control of their window and reading light.
FA should not be given any more control over pax choices.
This has zero to do with “safety”, which is supposedly job #1 for FA.
This is about FA wanting to micromanage our flying experience.
Not all of us want to sleep during daytime/full daylight hours. I find it so annoying that 2-300 other people have to be at the mercy of a flight attendant to decide what is “comfortable” for everyone on board. As someone already suggested, bring eyeshades if you prefer a cavelike atmosphere. What are they going to do next, tell people to shut off the overhead light if they want to read or their TV screens to avoid any light emission ? Power-tripping FA’s that continue to treat every passengers like 5 year-olds who can’t think for themselves.
This really disturbed me on a recent American Airlines flight. I knew it was mid-afternoon and yet the window was trying to convince me that it was night. As a person with mild dementia, this was very confusing to me. Why force all passengers to have their environment manipulated like this? Eye shades would be much more practical for those who want to sleep. I enjoy a window seat for the view.