JAL finds low-tech answer to 787 window-dim issues

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Japan Airlines is carrying window covers on board its newly introduced Boeing 787s as a contingency, in case the electrical dimming system malfunctions or does not provide enough shade.

The 787 features all-electric windows with a tinting capability that gradually reduces their opacity over about 1min. But Japanese carrier All Nippon Airways, the first airline to operate the 787, says that it is discussing possible improvements to the system.

"While most passengers like the current windows very much, we believe that some will be more comfortable with a slightly darker window," it says, but stresses that it will not be adding physical shades to the aircraft.

"That was never our intent," it says. The carrier says it is "satisfied" with the aircraft and its dimmable windows, and claims 85% of passengers in a survey responded that the dimming either "fully met" or "exceeded" their expectations. "This is certainly not an immediate concern or overwhelming and we continue to discuss solutions with Boeing," it adds.

Japan Airlines, which received its first 787s in March, indicates it is experiencing similar issues. It says it is transporting "prepared sheets of window films" on board the twinjet type to hand out to passengers "who may feel that [their window] is insufficiently dimmed" or whose shading system might have malfunctioned.

ANA insists the 787's technology - including the windows - offers a "wonderful passenger experience".

Boeing says the response to the larger, dimmable windows has been "very favourable", adding: "As always, Boeing works with its customers on an ongoing basis to understand new requirements and offer solutions."

ANA had taken delivery of 13 787s by the end of August. JAL has received four, while Ethiopian Airlines and LAN have one apiece.