Thursday, June 21, 2012

ANA is Not Looking to Install Sunshades on their Boeing 787s — But Working on Window Dimming Concerns

ANA is Not Looking to Install Sunshades on their Boeing 787s — But Working on Window Dimming Concerns:
The 787 allows passengers to choose different dim levels.
The 787 allows passengers to choose different from five different levels.
One of the well touted benefits (by me and many others) of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner are the dimmable windows. Instead of your classic shade that can be pulled down over the window, the 787 allows passengers to still be connected to the flying experience, while reducing the light that comes in. Well, it seems that some passengers do not feel that the windows get dark enough and made their opinion clear to All Nippon Airways (ANA) who is currently working with Boeing to find a solution.
“Boeing and ANA have conducted a customer survey on the 787s. There were some voices pointing out that the dim was not dark enough, so we are taking a proactive measure to satisfy our customers furthermore,” ANA spokes person Nao Gunji told
ANA already has one window in each 787 Dreamliner with a sunshade — in their lavatory in the bathroom — it also has the dimming function. So, it is possible for this to be an option, but contrary to what other news sources are currently reporting, it doesn’t appear that the airline wants that as the solution.
When asked if they are looking at possible installing sunshades in their 787s, Gunji stated, “Although we would like to explore options to make the inside cabin darker, we have not and will not consider such an option.”
One of the lavatories has a window shade in ANA's 787 Dreamliner.
One of the lavatories has a window shade in ANA’s 787 Dreamliner. Photo by Nicholas Smith /
So, what does that mean? I reached out to Boeing to try and get some clarifications on what options they might be working on.
“We are always looking at ways to improve our products but don’t discuss specific efforts in development,” Scott S. Lefeber, with Boeing 787 Communications explained via email. “Additionally, the response of our customers and the flying public to the larger, dimmable windows on the 787 has been very favorable. As always, Boeing works with its customers on an ongoing basis to understand new requirements and offer solutions.”
Is this really that big of a deal? Probably not. About a week ago, ANA released a survey showing that nine out of ten passengers who have flown on the 787 state that their, “overall experience met or exceeded expectations.” Also about 88% of passengers reported that the windows dimmability was better than they expected or fully met expectations.
I wonder what the results would be for the same questions for an airline with the standard sunshades.
I have had the opportunity to be on the 787 quite a few times and flew on it for a 90 minute flight. Although I have not been in it with all the windows dimmed and the lights off, I have been in it with the lights on while the windows were dim. It might not have been as dark as your standard long-haul cabin for sleeping, but it was surely dark enough to get sleep.
So what options does the airline and Boeing have?
There could be a possibility that the windows can be re-programmed to go darker. They could end up deciding to install window shades, even though that is not something they plan to do at this point. Or heck, just give passengers a nice set of eye shades for sleeping and call it a day. Sometimes, the simplest answers are the best.

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