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Empty airplane cabin with lights dimmed
mario beauregard | Adobe Stock

Why Are Airplane Cabin Lights Dimmed for Takeoff and Landing?

Experienced flyers know the drill—when a plane is taking off or landing, the cabin lights are dimmed. You may have wondered why lights are lowered during these periods of the flight—afterall, wouldn’t bright light be better to see if anything goes wrong?

Sarah McWilliams Guerra, a former Delta Air Lines flight attendant, tells SmarterTravel, “At night, it’s beneficial to have the cabin to be the same level of lighting as outside. That way if there is a crash at landing, the flight attendants won’t have to adjust to the outside lighting to help aid in a faster evacuation.”

Making the cabin darker will also make the glowing emergency path-lighting and exit signs more visible and potentially help passengers find their way out of a plane faster if needed. 

This is also why flight attendants will ask passengers to raise their window shades during takeoff and landing—so that everyone’s eyes can adjust to the light conditions outside. (Having the window shades open is also important so that flight attendants can see any hazards outside the aircraft.)

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