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This Is Why Planes Dim the Lights During Take-Off and Landing

Picture of India Irving
Social Media Editor
Updated: 10 September 2018
If you tried to analyse every small thing that was asked of you when you took your seat on a plane – fold your tray table, put your seat upright, pull up your window shade – you could probably spend even the longest flight in the world trying to figure it all out. Luckily, Culture Trip is finding out the answers so you don’t have to.

Ever wonder why when you’re flying at night, the cabin lights are always dimmed for take-off and landing? Well, it’s not to distract you from your reading. The cause for the enforced darkness is actually a “safety precaution,” Julian Kheel, senior editor at popular travel advice website The Points Guy (TPG), tells Culture Trip.

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Lights are dimmed when flying at night | © Iler Stoe / Unsplash

“By turning off the lights in the cabin when taking off or landing at night, your eyes adjust to the darkness,” he explains. “So in an emergency you are more likely to be able to get off the plane more quickly.” Far from trying to cause an inconvenience, the safety measure is in place to save lives.

Originally from South Florida and now a resident of New York City, Julian flies at least 100,000 miles a year for work and has a lot of travel secrets up his sleeve.

Staying with the light v darkness theme, the 44-year-old frequent flyer also gives us the reason why the window shades tend to be kept drawn when planes are sitting on the ground. “This is to prevent the cabin from overheating,” he tells us. “When planes are waiting to take off, they are tied in to the airport’s power, so the air conditioning has to be kept on minimum. By drawing the shades, the cabin stays cooler without having to blast the AC.”

Next time you’re flying, you won’t have to wonder.