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When an airplane lights dim, travellers know the flight can proceed with take-off or about to land. Even though it is generally accepted that lowering the cabin lights is a safety precaution, why is it done?

“You want your eyes adapted,” says Jon Lewis, a senior pilot with a major U.S. airline. Also, 

you lower the lights to allow for some night vision when taking off and landing at night.

Although it is not as necessary, dimming the cabin lights during the day helps save engine power as the aircraft accelerates into the air.  

Less strain on the engine shortens the take-off time, or when aligned with the runway center of gravity, the plane will soon become airborne.

Regardless of airplane lights power, safety in the event of an emergency is the main justification for raising shades and dimming cabin lights. Our eyes can take up to thirty minutes to fully adapt to a dark environment, according to reports. 

Moreover, dimming the lights helps eyes pre-adjust to lower light levels.

If everyone must evacuate at night, the seconds it takes for your eyes to adjust to low light can be crucial for safely exiting the aircraft.  Furthermore, during a night evacuation, the time it takes for the eyes to adjust to low light is crucial for a safe and secure a plane exit.

The pre-flight procedures that we now take for granted were essentially non existent in the 1920s. However, there are now a lot of regulations governing airline passengers. 

Some rules, like wearing seat belts, are obvious, while others may seem unnecessary until their underlying reasons are known. One such rule is that during take-off and landing, cabin lights must minimize their brightness. 

As of right now, airplanes must turn off their lights when taking off and landing, because it takes some time for our eyes to adjust to the darkness.     

Our eyes can take anywhere from ten to thirty minutes to acclimate to the dark. When it comes to safely exiting an airplane in an emergency, these few minutes can make all the difference.

Importance of Lighting and Window Shades for Airplane Safety 

Additionally, raising the window shades increases awareness and helps flight attendants spot equipment issues or hazards like debris or fires, which could affect an evacuation. Passengers feel safer during take-off and landing, the most perilous journey stages, when they can see outside and gauge their orientation to the ground.  

Also, maximizing cabin light aids passengers, crew, and evacuees in swiftly exiting aircraft safely by reducing disorientation during exits into sunlight, enhancing overall evacuation efficiency.

Lewis claims that in order to acclimate their eyes to outside conditions, pilots perform the same procedure in the cockpit. 

In a lightning storm, he will even turn on the lights in the cockpit. In this manner, you won’t be swept away by a strong lightning flash, he says. You are attempting to make use of external cues.


To keep passengers safe, airplane lights dim during take-off and landing for a number of reasons. It saves engine power, assists with emergency evacuations, and helps passengers’ eyes adapt to low light. This procedure complies with industry guidelines and standards that evolved over time to improve flight safety. 

Furthermore, it permits greater awareness among travellers and staff, enabling prompt reactions to possible dangers. Ultimately, these measures enhance air travel safety and efficiency, underscoring the importance of following established procedures for a smoother and safer journey. 

To keep yourself aware regarding flight hazards, visit our website Surffares.

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