Do Air Passengers Have A Right To Daylight?

Are passengers in the window seat of an aircraft obliged to pull down the shade for the convenience of other passengers?

It’s now routine for flight attendants to ask passengers to pull down the window shade so that others can see their movie screens better. On a recent flight, a passenger across the airplane complained to the flight attendant that she couldn’t sleep because the glare from my window was getting in her eyes. When the flight attendant asked me to close the shade,  I did it — while the offended passenger stared daggers at me.

This issue doesn’t come up for me often because I much prefer an aisle seat, especially if I’m traveling alone, but it arises now and then. And despite the fact that I think people need to be especially cooperative and considerate when using mass transit, something in me rebels on the window issue.

Why should I seal off my contact with the outside world  to enhance the experience of others whose attention deficits require them  to absorb passive entertainment? What if I’d rather look out the window? What if I prefer to read by natural light? I’m just asking. What do you think?


3 thoughts on “Do Air Passengers Have A Right To Daylight?

  1. Kevin

    I think on short-route trips (when the whole cabin is not sleeping) the window seat passenger has every right to view the scenery below or just enjoy the ambient light. A kind word (may) turn away anger: “I enjoy the views like you enjoy your sleep…does the attendant have an eye mask you might use?”

  2. Natalie

    I have had this happen to me twice and while I complied with the flight attendant’s request, I was highly irritated. If I have to close my window for the comfort of someone else, why do I not have the right to keep the person infront of me from reclining their seat for my comfort?

  3. Kate

    I totally understand the way you feel. People’s desires to reduce the glare on their coma inducing video screens should not trump your desire to be connected with the real world.

    Unless it’s an early morning flight or a redeye when most people are trying to sleep, I don’t think anybody is justified in asking you to lower your shade, let alone being upset about it.


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