Home Travel Video: Hot Tempers At 35,000 Feet: Who Should Control A Plane’s Window Shade?

Video: Hot Tempers At 35,000 Feet: Who Should Control A Plane’s Window Shade?

by SharonKurheg

Way back when, windows and seats on planes were in alignment and each row of seats usually had one window per row on each side of the plane. That went out the proverbial window when airlines decided to squeeze as many people as possible into their planes. It makes for more rows, which, in turn, makes for a misaligned distribution of windows.

Screen Shot 2019-11-19 at 5.18.42 PM

You might have one window in your row, or possibly one and a half, or maybe only half of a window, and sometimes none at all.

So what happens when a window winds up being between two rows of seats and the person in front wants the window shade one way and the person in the back wants it another way?


Well, an argument about that very thing happened and, of course, someone videotaped it. Take a look:

According to the caption, all windows on the plane had to be open for descent, as per the airline’s request (the bottom of this post explains why they may specifically want the windows open or closed). So in this case, the guy in the back was in the wrong.

But let’s say that wasn’t the case and the window shade position was up to the passengers. If a window is between two rows, who has ownership and gets to decide if the window shade should stay up or down? What do you think?

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


Dora November 19, 2019 - 8:07 pm

These two are probably the same rude people who slam their seat back into your drink, or head if you happen to be leaning forward at all. Too many entitled jerks out there

Lothar November 19, 2019 - 11:39 pm

Well Dora? You didn’t answer the question. Who controls the shade? I vote for the one who wants it open. Why you ask? Because he has more than 50% of the window on his row.

Dora November 21, 2019 - 2:52 am

The flight attendant said they needed to be up for landing, so no vote. Up is the order by flight crew. Otherwise the one that had the window

David Hanson November 20, 2019 - 1:49 am

My suggestion – keep the shades in the position that the flight crew requests otherwise leave them down on long flights (because many people are trying to sleep even during the day time). I bring a good quality sleep mask with me to help.

Dale April 14, 2021 - 6:25 pm

I’m a window seat guy and I like to look out the window during flight and even take pictures. So I keep the window up.


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