Why Do Airlines Lower the Intensity of the Lights Prior to Landing?

Why Do Airlines Lower the Intensity of the Lights Prior to Landing?

Travel Guide 2023-11-11 ParkingNearAirports.io

In the routine protocol of airplanes, it's customary for the lights to dim during takeoff and landing. However, have you ever pondered the reason behind this sudden darkness? There exist various explanations for this phenomenon, ranging from safety measures to reduce power usage for the aircraft's engines. For those who remain inquisitive, here is the narrative unraveling the rationale behind airlines dimming the lights prior to landing. Let's get to the point!

Safety measures

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According to the United Airline's Association of Flight Attendants (AFA), it has been recognized as a recommended practice since 2020 to open window shades and dim the lights during takeoff, taxi, and landing. However, this has been a standard procedure for a long time. Most pilots agree that dimming the lights during these stages is primarily a safety measure. By creating a darker atmosphere in the cabin, passengers can easily locate illuminated pathways and emergency signage in case of any mishaps or emergencies. These important indicators are more visible when the cabin is dimmed.

Moreover, dimming the lights also helps flight attendants have a better view of the outside surroundings. In case of an emergency, this enables them to guide passengers towards the most suitable exit or alert them of any potential exterior dangers. Furthermore, having visibility outside the aircraft allows the flight crew to assist passengers more effectively or inform them about any external threats. In case of a smoke-filled cabin or a fire, it's crucial for emergency personnel to have a clear view inside the plane from the ground, aiding them in determining where to focus their efforts for a swift and safe evacuation.

To adjust your eyes

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While it's uncommon, planes are more susceptible to malfunctions or external emergencies during takeoff and landing. To ensure passengers are prepared in case of an unexpected problem, the interior cabin lights are dimmed. This precaution allows individuals to react promptly during an emergency evacuation. According to aviation expert Patrick Smith, it can take approximately 30 minutes for our eyes to adapt to substantial light changes. Dimming the cabin lights during critical moments of a flight reduces the likelihood of confusion caused by sudden lighting alterations during an emergency situation.

Flight attendants also instruct passengers to raise their window shades during takeoff and landing for the same reason. In the event of a quick exit, it's advantageous for our eyes to already be adjusted to external lighting conditions, whether it be darkness during nighttime or bright sunshine. Time is crucial in emergencies, and waiting for our eyes to adjust can pose a significant danger.

It saves energy

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Surprisingly, the act of keeping the lights illuminated consumes a considerable amount of energy, placing additional strain on the aircraft's engine. During takeoff and landing, which are critical periods for flying a plane, it's advantageous to provide the engines with extra power. Dimming the lights serves the purpose of conserving power for the engines, albeit this reason may be of lesser significance. This practice also explains why lights are occasionally kept dimmed throughout short flights.

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