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Flights: Cabin crew make you open your plane window blind for this scary reason | Travel News | Travel

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Flights require all window blinds to be kept open, no matter what the time of day, when the aircraft is taking off or landing. This might seem an annoying necessity to passengers, but in fact, it is an important safety requirement. By raising the blinds, passengers’ eyes can get used to the natural light outside, whether it’s daytime or night time. This is vital should the aircraft need to be evacuated as the passengers will be accustomed to the light level.

Aviation safety rules in the US, UK, and Australia require planes to be built so they can be completely evacuated in less than 90 seconds.

This is because that is the time gap before the jet fuels in the tank can ignite and explode.

Therefore it’s crucial passengers are not disorientated when they leave the plane so they can exit as rapidly as possible.

This is also the reason the cabin crew lights are dimmed during takeoff and landing – so passengers’ eyes can adjust to natural light.

If passengers are ordered to evacuate an aircraft is it vital they take nothing with them as this will slow the process down.

A study by the National Transportation Safety Board on 2000 found nearly 50 per cent of people in a commercial airplane evacuation had tried to take a bag.

The main motivations were identified as grabbing money, wallets, or credit cards, with the secondary priorities being work materials, keys, and medication.

Some people believe it should be a crime to take your bag when a plane evacuation is underway, comparing it to smoking which was banned by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in 1990.

“Smoking is not allowed because it can jeopardise the lives and the health of other passengers and the lives and health of the crew,” Sara Nelson, international president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, told Bloomberg. “And carrying your bag could have the same consequence.”

It is also important passengers follow orders to turn their mobile phone to flight mode

Switching a phone to flight mode means any radio-frequency signal transmission by the device is suspended.

Consequently, phone users are unable to send or receive calls and text messages or use Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

A mobile phone could serve to interfere with cockpit equipment, even if it’s not actually being used by a passenger.

According to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA): “Modern passenger aircraft are heavily reliant on electronic communication and navigation systems which work on the basis of electromagnetic energy transfer and thus they can be susceptible to electromagnetic interference.”

Mobile phones and many electronic gadgets will transmit electromagnetic signals when not in flight mode as they try to connect with a communications network.

The CAA said: “The cumulative effect of a large number of mobile phones or transmitting electronic devices being used simultaneously when not in Flight Mode, particularly during the critical phases of flight, such as take-off and landing, remains a serious concern.”

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Travel & Escape

48 hours in . . . Bruges, an insider guide to Belgium’s city on water

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Little Bruges, the perfect pocket-sized medieval city, was a Sleeping Beauty. Laced with canals, it was one of the great North European trading ports in late medieval times. The magnificently detailed paintings of its artists, such as Jan van Eyck and Hans Memling, record its wealth in clothing, jewellery and ornament. Then it fell rapidly into decline and slept until rediscovered and restored to glory in the 19th century.

Today its new riches are in tourism, carefully managed and constantly refreshed by year-round cultural events, so that it retains the dynamism of a living city. The best way to appreciate all this is to stay a few days, luxuriating in the dreamily romantic boutique hotels, and visiting the rewarding museums and churches at your leisure. Above all, this is a place to walk and wonder, and there are still plenty of quiet corners to discover, where historic Bruges sleeps on.

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Europe’s most incredible cosy cabins for watching the Northern Lights

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The Northern Lights are a phenomenon likely to appear on the wish, bucket or to-do list of any intrepid traveller. And what better way to experience them in Europe than by bunking down in cosy cabins, surrounded by miles of forest, still water or the peaks of mountains. They might be pared-back but still boast polished elements, whether it’s a heated hot tub in Sweden, an ‘igloo’ extension in Norway or a glass roof above your bed in Finland. Nothing distracts as the Aurora Borealis flames across the sky – curl up under a blanket and take a look inside. . .

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The curious idiosyncrasies of the Icelandic, from elves and nudity to dark jokes and shark meat

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Iceland: the land of fire and ice, home to long winters, pickled foodstuff and perhaps the world’s most confounding alphabet. Considering a trip there? Arm yourself first with five of its more curious cultural quirks…

They believe in elves. Sort of

… at the very least, the ancient mysticism around them remains alive and well. According to an oft-quoted survey conducted by the University of Iceland, nearly 10 per cent of citizens actually believe elves to be real, while more than 80 per cent are on the fence but refuse to deny their existence.

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