Why are passengers requested to close their window blinds during a night-time takeoff?

I understand why they are asked to open them during day-time take-offs and landings - probably because rescue teams can look inside in the case of a crash. But what´s the point in closing them at night?

The only reason I can think of is that people might mistake the cabin lights for landing lights, hence misjudging the planes orientation. Still, it is very difficult to mistake a row of cabin lights for landing lights?

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    $\begingroup$ this questions stands on the assumption that closing the blinds during nighttime is mandatory. where is this claim made? $\endgroup$
    – Federico
    May 20 '15 at 11:44
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    $\begingroup$ As I pilot nothing above UL, I can´t cite the regulation. I can just report from my experience of flights in Europe and Asia, where the Stewardess were quite serious about the issue. $\endgroup$ May 20 '15 at 11:47
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    $\begingroup$ On every nighttime flight I have been on, the window blinds have actually had to be open, and on most flights the lights dimmed. This makes sense because in an emergency evacuation at night you want you eyes to be already adjusted to the darkness. Also, having the window blinds open means you can see if it is safe to open the exit door. I have never heard of the blinds being closed for takeoff. $\endgroup$
    – Ben
    May 20 '15 at 11:52
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    $\begingroup$ @Ben exactly my point, as also said in another question around here: aviation.stackexchange.com/questions/1536 Never heard of blinds being requested to be shut. $\endgroup$
    – Federico
    May 20 '15 at 11:54
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    $\begingroup$ @Farhan the question did specifically address take-off. Perhaps you were too far off in your daydream about the cute stew to notice? ;) $\endgroup$
    – FreeMan
    May 20 '15 at 17:20

This is a personal experience rather than an authoritative answer, but I thought it would be relevant.

I fly a few airlines fairly frequently and have done for many years. I've always thought that blinds should be open for safety reasons. However, a few years back I was on a flight with an airline that I'd flown many times before and had always enforced the blinds-open policy. To my surprise everyone was asked to close the window blinds. Within a year the trend had increased to point where all flights by this airline were blinds-closed. Then, a year or so after that, the policy was reverted to blinds-open and has remained since.

My theory is that someone in the senior crew, or crew training, mixed up the policy and started enforcing the wrong one (i.e. blinds-closed). I think this is plausible as the reasons for having blinds-open are not entirely obvious. It would also explain the gradual adoption of the new policy. I guess someone eventually realised the mistake, hence the sudden reversal.

Sorry for the long post and lack of sources. Will delete if deemed not helpful.

  • $\begingroup$ I've flown a lot over the years with several different airlines and I've had once or twice years ago where they required the blinds to be closed. Other than those few times I've never encountered this. $\endgroup$
    – Chris V
    Jun 11 '15 at 21:24

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