The more and more I fly, the more I see how selfish certain passenger have become in their flight behavior. Call is complete self centered behavior, or cultural ignorance, but I think people should work a little harder than they do to realize how their actions impact others around them. This is especially true when crammed in an airplane with hundreds of people for 12+ hours.
There is a really good example of this that happened on both my flight to and from Seoul. These are long haul flights and as such most passengers want to try to get some sleep at some point. Personally I am cursed with the inability to sleep on planes, but many people are able to sleep. Since this is the case, the cabin is closed up tightly to keep it dark in the cabin for people to sleep.
On the way to Seoul I was next to a person who would periodically open his window shade to look outside. Roughly every 45min or so, up goes the shade. On the way back from Seoul, a person sitting behind me decided she wanted to open the window shade and left it open for hours. Now on the surface this may not sound like a big deal, but people who have flown on an international flight before knows that opening just one window shade can flood the entire cabin with a lot of light. In the case of the return flight from Seoul, the light spilling in from two open shades completely lit the entire cabin I was sitting in. This woke people up, and kept some people from returning to sleep.
Why does that window need to be open? We are flying over open ocean, at 37,000 feet. There is either only ocean or clouds to look at, rather unchanging for hours, so why the open shade. What are you looking for?
This seems to be a good case for the way things are handled with the new Boeing 787. The aircraft uses electronic dimming, there are no shades to be drawn. A voltage applied to the window causes it to shade over. This also allows the flight attendants to take control and override the personal window controls, keeping this sort of thing from happening. This also brings up the question on whether a flight attendant should intervene in these cases where some impacts everyone else's flight experience. I think this is justified since it is impacting a good portion of the plane and not just 1 person… the flight attendants did eventually intervene on the flight from Seoul, but not before waking up half the cabin.
So just keep this in mind next time you fly. Your actions have impact on other people, so leave the window closed until landing, let people get some sleep if they want to, your just missing out on a bunch of clouds and water.
Rocket Scientist, Travel Junkie, and Ruler of the 4th Moon of Omicron Persei 8