PSA: You can only control the window shade for your particular row on your flight. All other shades are off-limits.
Unfortunately, this fact doesn’t seem to be as universal as it should. There are still plane passengers out there who think they can also control windows in front or behind them as well. It's fair to say this can be confusing, at times, considering that not all plane windows perfectly line up with the rows they’re in. But whether they line up or not, there are still some passengers out there who try to commandeer every window around them, which can lead to a lot of problems.
A video posted on the popular Instagram account Passenger Shaming shows this very issue. In the video, a man continually closes the window shade of the row in front of him. Many commenters have pointed out that this feud seems pretty immature, especially since both men should be complying with flight crew who had ordered the shades up in the first place.
While this behavior is considered rude in any circumstance, the caption for the video also notes that passengers were told to keep their window shades up for plane landing. According to LifeHacker, keeping the window shades up during descent or take off is for an important reason. While the shades make little to no difference for pilots, the flight crew needs them open so they can see outside, just in case they have to evacuate the airplane. Accidents are more likely to happen during this time, LifeHacker reported.
The man in the back asks in a caption on the video, “Who’s in the wrong?” For the record, the man who filmed the video is actually in the wrong. Even if it was not take off or descent, the man clearly has to reach past the seat in front of him in order to close the shade, so it’s clearly not “his” window to control.
Perhaps the most confusing part of this video is that the man filming it clearly had his own shade open, so it’s unclear why he decided to pick a fight with the passenger in front of him. Maybe there was a glare coming from that particular window. Either way, the passenger in the back was clearly being a nuisance and not following orders from the crew.
The passenger in front continually tries to keep the shade open, per crew instructions, and tells the man to leave them alone. At one point, the passenger in front attempts to reach back. The man filming says, “don’t touch me, that’s [assault].”
It’s unclear if the flight attendant eventually intervened, but it’s pretty likely if this situation continued to escalate after the man stopped filming.