Qantas to ditch aircraft window shutters

WINDOW shutters are the source of much annoyance on planes.

We've all sat next to THAT window seat passenger who refuses to pull down the shutter during a long flight even though everyone else in the row is clearly trying to get some sleep.

And then there's the poor flight attendants who have to walk up and down the aisles at takeoff and landing instructing window seat passengers to open their shutters.

But the shutter sh*tstorm will soon be a thing of the past on certain Qantas flights thanks to their new 787-9 Dreamliners which will start operating in December.

Qantas has ordered eight of the planes which don't come with any window shutters … so what do they have instead?

"They're electronically dimmable windows," explained Rachelle N. Ornan-Stone, a design researcher at The Boeing Company.

The shutterless windows in the Boeing 787.
The shutterless windows in the Boeing 787. Supplied

"There are five levels of darkness and at the darkest you can sleep very comfortably but you're still able to look outside."

Passengers can dim the windows via a button at the base of the window but they're not the only ones in control of the amount of light coming in.

"With one press of the button in the cabin control centre at the front, the flight attendants can control every window," Dr Ornan-Stone said.

"It's really important that everybody has the opportunity to have an uninterrupted sleep and not to have to worry about someone who wants to peek outside and fill the cabin with light. We wanted to make sure that sleep is guaranteed and that flight attendant's have control."

The electronic dimming feature isn't the only remarkable thing about the windows on the Dreamliner planes.

From light to dark with the hit of a button.
From light to dark with the hit of a button. Supplied

"They are 25 per cent larger than our competitors," Dr Ornan-Stone said.

"The windows are the first thing you'll notice when you walk on board a Qantas plane. They're not the only the largest and the widest but they're also the best positioned of any aircraft window flying today and they were designed so that a middle seat passenger can look out the window without having to crane their neck."

Qantas will use their Dreamliners for flights between Melbourne to Los Angeles from December and in March next year the planes will also start flying from Perth to London.Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner joins the Qantas International fleet from December.

Andrew Bucklow was a guest of Qantas and Boeing at the Boeing factory in Everett.

News Corp Australia


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