Why Do Airlines Dim The Lights For Takeoff?

Why are the cabin lights dimmed for take-off and landing?

A look at the reasons that the lights are turned down for certain stages of flight

Why are the cabin lights dimmed for take-off and landing?

Cabin crew turn down the cabin lights for take off and landing to allow your eyes to adjust to the darkness incase an emergency occurs which requires you to evacuate the aircraft. If your eyes are adjusted to the darkness, your night vision will be improved, allowing you to more easily find a route out of the aircraft to an emergency exit should the need arise.

After the cabin lights have been dimmed, you will have the option to use an overhead light which will give you enough light to keep reading but these lights are of reduced intensity, so your eyes should already be adjusted.

The reason for the cabin lights being dimmed isn’t the same reason the lights are turned down in the cruise (at high altitude enroute) – this is to let you sleep!

Other Cabin Crew Instructions

The Cabin Crew give all the passengers lots of instructions for take off and landing, like turning off laptops, removing ear phones and ensuring the tray tables are stowed. They aren’t just being awkward, it’s actually for a very good reason – your safety and wellbeing if something were to go wrong.

Why do passengers have to put their laptops away?

It’s a similar reason as to why the Cabin Crew ask you to put your laptop away. If the aircraft came to an abrupt stop, anything the size of a laptop would do some serious damage if it hit someone in the head. Therefore it’s in everyones interests that this are stowed in the seat pocket or overhead bin.

Some airlines will allow smaller handheld devices to be used during take off and landing.

Stowing Tray Tables

Cabin Crew ask you to ensure the tray tables are folded in the upright position as in the event of a crash, you’ll flung into it which could cause serious injury or death.

Raising the Window Blinds

You need to be able to see outside in the event of an accident to assess which side is safe to evacuate the aircraft. It’s also to allow the Cabin Crew to be able to look outside and assess any danger and therefore which emergency exits can be used.

Removing Your Earphones

Some airlines have stopped insisting on this, but some airlines still enforce it. Basically there may be an occasion where the Pilots or Cabin Crew command an evacuation of the aircraft even though the reason isn’t obvious. For example a fire in the cargo hold. In this scenario they need you to hear the evacuation instructions immediately and clearly. You don’t want to miss half of it because you’re listening to your favourite band!

Seat in the Upright Position

In the event of needing to adopt the brace position, the seat in front of you needs to have it’s seat in the upright position to make it as effective as possible. So moving your seat into the upright position is actually for the safety of the person behind you, not for you!


If you found this page of interest, check out are article on why the Cabin Crew insist on the window blinds being open for take off and landing.