One airline is implementing a new safety policy effective February 1. That airline, United, will ask passengers to keep their shades open during take off and landing, the critical phases of the flight.

According to "Most non-US airlines already have a policy requiring passengers to keep window shades open during critical phases of flight. This is a security policy — the logic is that in the event of an evacuation, having your window shades open will give you a better sense of where you are and what the conditions are."

United will also start allowing passengers to keep electronic devices plugged in during taxi, takeoff and landing. Most airlines forbid this so that people aren't tripping over wires, cords and laptops in the event of an evacuation. says, " these two policy updates seem at odds with one another. Using conventional global airline “safety” standards, United is improving safety by requiring window shades to be open, and they’re reducing safety by allowing electronics to remain plugged in."

Here's the thing, I get why they want shades up. Same reason they dim the cabin lights during take off and landing. They want your eyes accustomed to the ambient light so you can see better and see what's happening outside the plane in an event of an emergency.

As for the wires and laptops. Perhaps that decision is being driven by the smaller devices like phones and tablets many use these ways. One thing's for sure, I won't hesitate stepping on someone's electronic device in an emergency evacuation.

What do you think of these safety changes at United?

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