Shedding some LIGHT on passenger behavior & safety

Lufthansa lighting a350 900
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Lufthansa Biorhythm Lighting

Could Help Prevent Passenger Rage & Improve Safety

Have you traveled from A to B over ½ (or some lesser fraction) of the globe and experienced major biorhythm shock?

Lufthansa plans to help you adjust. It is equipping its A350-900 with a variety of lighting settings which will facilitate your adjustment to your new time zone. A range of different settings for the on-board lighting of the A350-900 are designed to fit with the day and night-time biorhythms of their passengers.

reinhold huber lufthansaDr. Reinhold Huber, Dipl.-Kfm. Dr. rer. pol. LH’s “SVP Produkt & Marketing” or Lufthansa VP of Passenger Experience Design, explains “The well-being of our passengers is of particular importance to us. So it represents a real milestone for us that we can now achieve these improvements with this innovative lighting technology,” The LH outfitted LED technology can provide around 24 different lighting settings.

[this control panel only offers 9 options.]

The concept is to adjust the cabin lighting to rise gradually, emulating how a sunrise transitions from faint pink to warm glow to sunlight. These controls allow the passengers to avoid jet lag. By having two dozen light settings, the interior’s ambiance will match the stages of a long-haul flight. For example, as night falls during flight, “sunset” will be imitated in the cabin over approximately 20-minutes. Chronobiology is the science of studying the effects of day and night-time biorhythms on humans. Prof. Christian Gunga of Charité and Dr. Achim Leder found among other things, that warm light is conducive to relaxation for periods of rest; while the studies showed that cooler light provides is stimulating for more active phases.

Boeing is implementing similar lighting.

boeing airplane mood lighting

In addition to Biorhythms, lighting may be able to benefit another passenger concern—disruptive passenger behaviour. One expert, Paul Wylde, in this field explained “the huge advantage and opportunity of ambient and functional lighting above and beyond most other ‘fixed’ design elements, is the ability to change, transform and flex in real time, allowing environments to manipulate and present different appearances, thus changing user perception and even mood.” Another scientist explained:

Our cortisol levels drop significantly under artificial or poor lighting conditions. That means that we’ll be more stressed, and have less ability to stabilize our energy levels. Here is how a normal cortisol level flow should look like:

So, being exposed to dim light as well as too much artificial light makes both sleepy and also more stressed in the long run.”

“People were asked to rate the efficacy of heating pads or ice packs and then answer questions about their employer or a hypothetical company. Those who got their hands warm expressed higher job satisfaction and greater willingness to buy from and work at the made-up companies.”

The reason is quite obvious in hindsight. Our brain has difficulty in differentiating physical sensations with psychological ones. This becomes even more clear when considering Bargh’s research of our brain after cold and warm encounters:

The warmed subjects were also more likely than the cold ones to offer to a friend the prizes they received for participation, suggesting a possible overlap between the neural centers of trust and physical comfort.” 

Those are not conclusive opinions that lights alone might minimize the potential for passenger rage, but research might well find correlations between these environmental controls and diminished customer emotional response to stresses. If the notion that seat envy might trigger bad behavior merited serious academic study, the examination of lighting as a “pacifier” seems worthy of subsequent analysis by experts.


Lufthansa to provide the right type of light at the right time
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1 Comment on "Shedding some LIGHT on passenger behavior & safety"

  1. Thanks for shedding some light on passenger behavior and Biorhythm. In addition to Biorhythms, lighting may be able to benefit another passenger concern—disruptive passenger behaviour. Thanks for the information given and your posting

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