American tells crews to stop using 787 window dimmers

Not all heroes wear capes. Some simply write memos to flight attendants …

Boeing 787’s frustrating window dimmers

There are many areas where new aviation technology is benefiting customers, such as quieter engines and better fuel efficiency. However, there is one area where new aircraft technology is not benefiting customers: the window dimmers of the Boeing 787.

The Boeing 787 has bigger windows than most other planes which is great. However, Boeing has decided to eliminate the traditional blinds that you pull up and down and replace them with dimmers. These dimmers can be extremely frustrating, and that’s one of the reasons I prefer the Airbus A350 over the Boeing 787.

What’s so frustrating about the 787’s window dimmers?

  • Even in the fully dimmed mode, it never gets as dark as it would be with traditional shades; if the sun is on the side of the plane you are in, expect to feel warm
  • Teams can control window dimmers centrally, and can set dimmers to their maximum setting and “lock” them, so you don’t even have the ability to look out the window.
  • Even when window dimmers aren’t locked, I find the process of controlling dimmers with knobs to be awkward at best

I noted my frustration with this in a recent review of United’s 787-9 Business Class.

I don’t like the window dimmer system of the 787

American tells crews not to ‘lock’ blinds

As indicated by @xJonNYC, American Airlines sent a note to flight attendants reminding them not to lock window dimmers on the Boeing 787 because “it’s important that every customer at a window can control their own experience.”

Here’s the full memo:

Customers in window seats enjoy watching take off, land, and even glimpse landmarks from the sky. The windows of the Boeing 787 are larger and have unique controls for the blinds. Recent reviews of customer experiences aboard this aircraft indicate that the windows are fully dimmed and locked by flight attendants, making customers frustrated that they cannot control window functionality from their seats. Do not lock window functions on the Boeing 787. It is important that each customer at a window be able to control their own experience.

On behalf of myself and all the other avgeeks, THANKS!

American orders flight attendants not to lock window dimmers 787

Why do flight attendants control 787 window dimmers?

For anyone wondering why flight attendants would try to control window dimmers, I guess there are two possible explanations:

  • The first is that flight attendants believe it provides a better experience when the windows are darkened and the mood lighting is on; I believe some flight attendants really think this way
  • The other is that the flight attendants want to keep the cabin dark in order to encourage people to sleep so that they can provide less service; this is certainly the case for some flight attendants

I have traveled millions of miles, but I will never take for granted the miracle of flight and the beauty of the world many miles away. Even though I understand that everyone is different, I’m still really in disbelief when people keep windows completely closed during takeoff and landing, even when they’re not watching a show or trying to sleep.

Who wouldn’t want to enjoy this view ?!

At the end of the line

American Airlines told Boeing 787 flight attendants what American avgeeks have long believed, but we are largely afraid to say: stop trying to control the window shades on the 787!

Now whether or not the flight attendants read the memo and / or actually follow it is another story …

Anyone else loves this American Airlines memo as much as I do?




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About John McTaggart

John McTaggart

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