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Lights Off Policy On US Carriers-why?!  
User currently offlinedebonair From Germany, joined Jan 2004, 2444 posts, RR: 4
Posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 5644 times:

Hi to you all,

I just completed several US domestic flights- all on different airlines (like Frontier, Southwest) and on different times a day (NOT night!).

Before take-off, the crew informed passengers "all cabin lights will be switched off during the entire flight until arrival in XXX- only reading lights are available".

Never heard this before and it was quite strange to see service in a nearly dark cabin, especially during sunset. Is it a FAA-rule- or any other idea why?!

19 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineAirontario From Canada, joined Aug 2001, 555 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 5606 times:

If there is a need to evacuate the aircraft having no lights on, makes it easier for the crew to assess the outside conditions since the light inside and outside of the cabin are equal. If the lights are on in the cabin and it's dark outside it's more difficult and slower to assess the outside conditions because of the time it takes your eyes to adjust to the lighting levels.

User currently offlinedc9northwest From Switzerland, joined Feb 2007, 2298 posts, RR: 7
Reply 2, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 5594 times:

Quoting Airontario (Reply 1):
If there is a need to evacuate the aircraft having no lights on, makes it easier for the crew to assess the outside conditions since the light inside and outside of the cabin are equal. If the lights are on in the cabin and it's dark outside it's more difficult and slower to assess the outside conditions because of the time it takes your eyes to adjust to the lighting levels.

I agree with you there... But why, then, keep them off for the entire flight, not just take-off and landing or during an emergency?


Although, I kinda like the just sunset-lighted aircraft without any lights on... It's special  


User currently offlineCoachClass From United States of America, joined Jan 2010, 441 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 5555 times:

Perhaps it's a form of mood lighting that makes people more relaxed, sleep and easier for F/As to deal with stressed out passengers. Then, of course, is the request to drop the window shades during the day so that people can see the movies as well as keep the cabin cooler.

The thing that gets me is the absolute obsession with some European carriers to drop the window shades soon after take off for a night flight to Europe. I understand that they are afraid that the morning sun will awaken and inconvenience some passengers. Still, it's nice to look out the windows for a while as night falls.


User currently offlinedebonair From Germany, joined Jan 2004, 2444 posts, RR: 4
Reply 4, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 5499 times:

Quoting Airontario (Reply 1):
If there is a need to evacuate the aircraft having no lights on, makes it easier for the crew to assess the outside conditions since the light inside and outside of the cabin are equal.

Yeap, seen this before on other airlines during take-off and landing. But it was very strange to see lights totally switched off during the entire flight; not even the window lights were switched on again...


User currently offlineRoseflyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 9666 posts, RR: 52
Reply 5, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 5467 times:

Quoting debonair (Thread starter):

Before take-off, the crew informed passengers "all cabin lights will be switched off during the entire flight until arrival in XXX- only reading lights are available".

That seems odd. I don't know of that policy. It's up to the crew, but I have never seen a policy of all lights being switched off during the entire flight on a day flight. Usually a low level of lightening is left on from what I have seen. Usually there is plenty of light with the windows and if is dark outside, usually there are some people sleeping.



If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
User currently offlineburnsie28 From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 7554 posts, RR: 8
Reply 6, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 5444 times:

Having lights on during a night flight is one of the most annoying things that I have seen when flying. Flying PR LAS-YVR they had them on the entire flight and it was a little bit straining. Had there been an emergency during that flight it would have probably taken too long to adjust properly. Finally there is no reason to have lights on during a day flight when chances are its going to be sunny outside, and if you really need a light for something the reading light is there, no sense of burning out lights for no practical purpose.


"Some People Just Know How To Fly"- Best slogan ever, RIP NW 1926-2009
User currently offline9VSIO From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2006, 724 posts, RR: 2
Reply 7, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 5135 times:
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Perhaps it's a form of cost cutting? Saves the bulbs being burnt out? :S


Me: (Lining up on final) I shall now select an aiming point. || Instructor: Well, I hope it's the runway...
User currently offlinetdscanuck From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 12709 posts, RR: 80
Reply 8, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 4934 times:

Quoting debonair (Thread starter):
Before take-off, the crew informed passengers "all cabin lights will be switched off during the entire flight until arrival in XXX- only reading lights are available".

Never heard this before and it was quite strange to see service in a nearly dark cabin, especially during sunset. Is it a FAA-rule- or any other idea why?!

It's not an FAA rule.

Where were you flying? The lights generate quite a bit of heat, especially on older aircraft. If you were starting/ending in the Southern US they may have been trying to keep the cabin cooler.

Tom.


User currently offlinetb727 From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 1615 posts, RR: 9
Reply 9, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 4844 times:

Quoting 9VSIO (Reply 7):
Perhaps it's a form of cost cutting? Saves the bulbs being burnt out? :S

They are also saving on the electric bill as well!



Too lazy to work, too scared to steal!
User currently offlineCaptainKramer From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2012, 225 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 4691 times:

I can understand wanting to keep cabin lights off at night, during a night flight, in case of an emergency landing, cabin crew and passengers are already conditioned to outside conditions, but can anyone tell me why QANTAS had a policy of keeping cabin lights on during landing and takeoff at night, when I flew with them a while back, this to me did not make sense at all, it also made admiring the city view outside alot harder, and are they still doing it now?

Thanks in advance.


User currently offlineFlyASAGuy2005 From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 7004 posts, RR: 11
Reply 11, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 4569 times:

Every airline has a different policy I guess but SA)">DL almost always dims the cabin lights even in the middle of the day and advise to use your light in the PSU. At night, especially on trans-Atlantic flights and deep SA flights it's funny to watch the F/As complete the meal service in almost total darkness. The Business Elite cabin is usually pretty dark because many opt out of dinner service but ask to be awaken for breakfast. In the main cabin most of the light comes from side-wall lighting which is usually on the lowest setting and PSU lights.


What gets measured gets done.
User currently offlinedavid21487 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 232 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 4544 times:

They're just not needed during the entire flight. On evening/night flights, a lot of people obviously want to sleep. On daytime flights, the cabin is lit up enough by the exterior light coming through the windows. In any event, if you find yourself devoid of light, you have one over your head that you can control.

Different airlines obviously have different policies, but at DL it's very rare for you to see a crew on a domestic flight turn on the cabin lights to do a service. International is a whole different ballgame simply because there are so many more elements to the service. The sidewall lights are usually turned on prior to the start of the pre-meal beverage service and stay on until the completion of duty free sales (that time frame can be about 2 hours). You wouldn't believe how many complaints we get about the lights being on.

Quoting debonair (Reply 4):
not even the window lights were switched on again...

Those are the most annoying ones of all, especially if you're sitting in the window seat.

Quoting FlyASAGuy2005 (Reply 11):
The Business Elite cabin is usually pretty dark because many opt out of dinner service but ask to be awaken for breakfast.

It's usually the opposite.



-- Step! Jump! Slide! --
User currently offlineFlyASAGuy2005 From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 7004 posts, RR: 11
Reply 13, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 4541 times:

Quoting david21487 (Reply 12):
It's usually the opposite.

Just from my experience of course. I'm sure you may encounter it far more than I do. My most recent Business Elite flight was a JFK-LAX R/T both in J. The outbound to LAX was on that last flight that leaves at 2100 and coming back was also the last departure. Both legs I was surprised to see almost half the cabin refuse the dinner service and asked to be left alone to sleep. Just from memory but a lot of my TATL crossings was about the same.



What gets measured gets done.
User currently offlineHAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31684 posts, RR: 56
Reply 14, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 4423 times:

Quoting 9VSIO (Reply 7):

Perhaps it's a form of cost cutting? Saves the bulbs being burnt out? :S

Was thinking exactly the same thing.....Fuel saving/cost saving/life of lights enhancing.



Think of the brighter side!
User currently offlineZkpilot From New Zealand, joined Mar 2006, 4840 posts, RR: 9
Reply 15, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 10 hours ago) and read 4014 times:

Quoting CaptainKramer (Reply 10):
but can anyone tell me why QANTAS had a policy of keeping cabin lights on during landing and takeoff at night

Qantas does not have that policy at all.
Qantas policy is to have the lights dimmed for t/o and landing.
Cross over lighting/door area/galley lighting is however left on full bright as those areas would be quite dark in an emergency and trying to switch them on in that event would be wasting time.
If the cabin lights were on more than dim then it is likely that someone just forgot to dim them or there was a problem dimming them.



56 types. 38 countries. 24 airlines.
User currently offlineCaptainKramer From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2012, 225 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 7 hours ago) and read 3944 times:

Hi Zkpilot,

The only reason I thought it was a policy was because there was a PA announcement stating the cabin lights would remain on during takeoff and landing as a safety measure, which as I stated I thought was counter intuiative and which they did during night flights I flew with QANTAS international on a B747-400, not once, but on several occasions when I flew with them. The Cabin lights were not dim, as it made it virtually impossible to look out the window without cupping your hands around your face, to block out cabin reflections.

The only reason I could rationalise why they kept the lights on was that in an evacuation the emergency lights would come on and if the cabin lights were dim you would face the need to aclimatise your vision from dark to light, but when outside it would be dark so go figure.

Related to this, I remember watching an episode of Mythbusters special on Pirates and it was revealed that one of the reasons pirates wore an eye patch over one eye was not because they were blind in that eye, but they put the eye patch on one eye so that it would aclimatise to the dark. When they went into battle and went below deck which was normally very dark to fight they would lift the eye patch and be able to see the enemy/foe/bad guy better or so the story goes.


User currently offlinedavid21487 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 232 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (2 years 4 months 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 3735 times:

Quoting Zkpilot (Reply 15):
Qantas policy is to have the lights dimmed for t/o and landing.
Cross over lighting/door area/galley lighting is however left on full bright as those areas would be quite dark in an emergency and trying to switch them on in that event would be wasting time.

That's an interesting policy in regards to having entryway and crossover lighting on full bright during takeoff and landing.

The entryways/crossovers and galleys are where the exits and crew are located. How do you assess conditions outside of the aircraft at night in an emergency if your galley lights are set to full bright? Possible glares on the windows and/or waiting for your eyes to adjust - that's where it seems like time would be wasted.



-- Step! Jump! Slide! --
User currently offlinemy235 From United States of America, joined Mar 2009, 92 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (2 years 4 months 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 3164 times:

Quoting CoachClass (Reply 3):
The thing that gets me is the absolute obsession with some European carriers to drop the window shades soon after take off for a night flight to Europe. I understand that they are afraid that the morning sun will awaken and inconvenience some passengers. Still, it's nice to look out the windows for a while as night falls.

I remember opening my window blind on a long international flight just as the sun was rising over the Pacific. I was hurriedly told to close it. I was shocked.


User currently offlineZkpilot From New Zealand, joined Mar 2006, 4840 posts, RR: 9
Reply 19, posted (2 years 4 months 12 hours ago) and read 2922 times:

Quoting david21487 (Reply 17):
That's an interesting policy in regards to having entryway and crossover lighting on full bright during takeoff and landing.

The entryways/crossovers and galleys are where the exits and crew are located. How do you assess conditions outside of the aircraft at night in an emergency if your galley lights are set to full bright? Possible glares on the windows and/or waiting for your eyes to adjust - that's where it seems like time would be wasted.

Good point. I can only imagine that it is justified in that regard by the fact that door windows are smaller than pax ones and often recessed (meaning that you have to stick your head right in there to get a good look - something that crew are trained to do BTW), so glare etc from inside would be blocked by that persons head.



56 types. 38 countries. 24 airlines.
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