Darker Windows Coming Soon to the Dreamliner

Jan 19, 2016

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If you’ve ever flown on the Boeing 787 “Dreamliner,” you probably noticed one common airline feature is missing: the window shade. Instead, the Dreamliner’s windows are designed to tint at the push of a button — either by the passenger sitting in the window seat or the flight attendant’s control panel.

Also, you’ll notice that the windows would never go completely black. Instead, the darkest window setting has more of a dark blue color to it.

The cabin with lights — and windows — dimmed
Even with all of the windows dimmed, this Air Canada cabin is certainly not dark.

I noticed this during my daytime Air Canada flight from Zurich to Toronto this past summer. The flight attendants used the central control panel to set all windows to their darkest setting in order to create an “artificial night.” But, the cabin was nowhere near dark, thanks to the midday sun pouring through the tinted windows.

This issue hasn’t gone unnoticed by airlines. As far back as 2012, the Dreamliner’s launch customer, All Nippon Airways, actually looked at installing “pull down blinds on 787s already delivered,” as the windows weren’t dark enough for its preferences.

If you’ve flown the Dreamliner, you’re likely familiar with the blue windows.

If this bothered you too, good news! The Dreamliner window manufacturer Gentex Corporation is rolling out newer, much-darker versions.

Gentex representatives at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show confirmed with Runway Girl Network that its second-generation windows are “now being shipped to 787 customers.” These “Gen 2” windows are designed to be 10x darker than the original version of the Dreamliner windows.

Much darker dimmable windows are currently in development. Image courtesy of Gentex Corporation.

But, Gentex isn’t stopping there! An even-darker “Gen 3” window is in development and is expected “in the next two years.” This version is supposed to be 10x darker than Gen 2 windows, which would indicate that they’d be around 100x darker than the current Dreamliner windows.

Once these darker versions roll out, hopefully this — along with the Dreamliner’s better-quality air and higher pressurization — will lead to an even more comfortable ride on the Dreamliner.

If you’ve flown on the Dreamliner before, did the blueish windows bother you?

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