Why Do Airlines Dim The Lights For Takeoff?

A look at why the Cabin Crew issue certain safety instructions for take off and landing

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

Why turn down the lights on the aircraft?

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.

In terms of dimming the cabin lights for take off and landing, it’s probably not the answer you want to hear if you’re a nervous flyer, but the cabin crew turn down the lights for take off and landing (which are the most critical phases of flight) for your eyes to adjust to the darkness, incase of an emergency occurring which requires you to disembark the aircraft quickly. If your eyes are adjusted to the dark, you will be able to find the emergency exit lights and therefore exits easily should the need arise.

You will have the option to use an overhead light which will give you enough light to keep reading or completing a crossword, but these lights are of less intensity, so your eyes should already be adjusted.

This isn’t the same reason they dim the lights in the cruise (at high altitude enroute) – this is to let you sleep!

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 will do you some serious damage.

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!