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Nov 09, 2006


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Nine hours in a windowless "auditorium" that periodically banks, climbs and dives? Sounds hellish.

A couple of decades ago, crash tests revealed that passengers in rear-facing seats had a slightly better chance of survival in some crashes. The military changed some of its transports to the rear-facing configuration, which makes sense, since they're much more likely to crash-land than an airliner. Plus the soldiers didn't have a choice. No airline adopted the change, though, because when they tested it, customers resolutely refused to fly backwards.

It strikes me that the whole windowless business suffers from the same fatal flaw, albeit to an even greater degree. The most disorienting thing about air travel is the lack of control and disorientation. Windows aren't there so passengers can enjoy the scenery, they're there so passengers don't freak out every time the aircraft banks. Even a ten-inch-by-ten-inch piece of plexiglass gives enough visual cues to figure out whether the aircraft is upright.

Of course, Europe being Europe, someone in Brussels will eventually mandate that all passenger flights be made in windowless boxes in which no one wants to ride.

Michael W. Kruse

"Windows aren't there so passengers can enjoy the scenery, they're there so passengers don't freak out every time the aircraft banks."

LOL. Yup! As the article notes, that was the biggest obstacle the first time they canned these ideas. I guess now they are checking to see if people would rather have disorienting flights or by fried to a crisp by global warming. I'm guessing they will chose "fried to crisp." *grin*

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