Always Check for This Black Triangle Symbol Next to Your Airplane Seat

Many people enjoy sitting next to the window on an airplane for myriad reasons, ranging from the beautiful view to seeing how fast the airplane soars through the clouds.

But window seats don’t exist exclusively for passengers, as they serve as an important, specific feature for the airplane.

As noted by The Telegraph, in order for the airplane crew to determine if there’s an issue with a wing — such as the engines, slats, or flaps — they must find the seat that offers them the best way to visually verify if there are any issues.

Once they have determined which seat offers the clearest view of the wing, a crew member will usually mark the interior of the cabin wall with a small black triangle sticker.

In order to better explain how this impacts the pilot, retired aerospace engineer and Air Force aircraft mechanic Lee Ballentine wrote about this in 2015 on the Q&A website Quora.

“The black triangle marks the location of what has been called ‘William Shatner’s Seat,’ the seat with the clearest view of the wing,” Ballentine wrote.

“This is the place inside the airplane from which you can get the best visual check for ice or other problems,” he added.

Ballentine wrote that the reference to actor William Shatner came from a television show he was on, where he thought he saw something on the wing of the plane.

“The Shatner reference is to one of the strangest Twilight Zone episodes, Nightmare at 20,000 Feet, which first aired on Oct. 11, 1963. In it, Shatner’s character sees a gremlin on the wing of the plane he’s a passenger on,” he said.

Have you ever seen this black triangle symbol on an airplane?

Another respondent on Quora replied to the question answered by Ballentine, adding that advances in technology have resulted in fewer visual checks from “William Shatner’s Seat.”

“So why are they still there? Because airplanes are expensive, so last forever,” airline pilot Steven Hoober said.

He added: “Features are never removed, and useless ones are generally still maintained.”

Looking beyond the technological aspects of the black triangle, many people simply enjoy the window seat because it allows them to view the world from a much different perspective.

Often times people are consumed by their devices or simply trying to get from one location to another, but little things like a black triangle on the cabin wall likely go unnoticed by many.

So the next time you or someone you know is getting on a plane, make sure to keep an eye out for the black triangle — otherwise known as the seat with the best view of the exterior of the plane.

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