Emergency Situations: Why Do Airplanes Dim the Lights before Takeoff?

Airline PassengerDimming the lights before takeoff might signify naptime for airplane passengers, but the importance of dim lighting actually runs a lot deeper than that. As airline companies are constantly devising strategies to keep their customers safe, aviation software companies like My Flight Solutions also employ the same strategy and emphasize the importance of an automated system for easier aviation management and improved resource utilization.

Dimming the lights before takeoff, therefore, is another way for airline companies to keep passengers safe in case they encounter a plane emergency.

Helping Eyes Adjust during an Emergency Evacuation

When there’s a sudden change in lighting, it takes time for a person’s eyes to adjust to the new environment. Going from a brightly lit cabin to a pitch black one, for instance, may incite panic among passengers and make it harder for them to find the evacuation slide, should leaving the aircraft be necessary. The time spent responding to an emergency is crucial, after all, and dimming the lights is one way to get customers on their feet safely.

Shortening Dark Adaptation Time

Entering a darkened area after being accustomed to the bright environment of a well-lighted area will cause black speckles to appear on a person’s eyes — a process known as dark adaptation. Sometimes, it can take people as long as 20-30 minutes to adjust their eyesight after coming into a dark room. As it is harder for the eyes to adjust after high illumination, dimming the lights during a flight is one way to shorten the dark adaptation period.

A More Efficient Evacuation Process

Better eyesight simply means passengers and flight attendants alike will more likely be able to stay oriented in the event of an emergency. Without having to adjust to the sudden change in lighting, attendants can more easily identify any exterior hazards, such as fires or loose debris that could interfere with any potential evacuation plans. Furthermore, it will be easier to locate signs or emergency lighting across the aisle.

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Dimming the lights creates a soothing ambiance that allows passengers to sit back and enjoy the ride as they prepare for takeoff. It also doubles as a helpful way for passengers to better cope with a sudden change in lighting in the wake of an emergency situation.