Why planes dim their lights when landing

Whether you fly regularly or are rather new to the experience, every time you are landing or taking off the same thing happens, the lights are dimmed and the shades are required to be up. But many passengers may be wondering why? What good does this do? This burning question is finally answered.


One pilot, Chris Cooke, revealed the answer when talking with Travel + Leisure magazine. He stated that the dimming of the lights is a precautionary measure which allows the passengers eyes to quickly adjust to darkness in case of an emergency evacuation. This also allows flyers to quickly find the floor flights that safely guide them to the exits.

Cooke states, "Imagine being in an unfamiliar bright room filled with obstacles when someone turns off the lights and asks you to exit quickly."

When landing, the flight attendants make sure that all the blinds are up so the daylight comes in. It is important that the brightness of the cabin matches the daylight outside. Again, this helps the passengers’ eyes to adjust and allows for natural light to come in in case the planes electricity were to be cut off.

If an emergency evacuation were to be required, the open blinds also allow the cabin crew to see outside and see which side is best to evacuate from.

    Jack Snell via visual hunt

Another opinion about why the lights are dimmed is the plane needs to reduce the electrical load during take off. The lights take away from the engine power and can lead to a longer takeoff which is what the pilot wants to avoid. This opinion though is not widely accepted.

So the next time you board a plane, just remember that these are important precautionary measures which should be taken seriously. Share the fun knowledge with the passenger next to you and put their mind at ease.

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