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Home > Air Safety > Who decides when cabin lights be switched off during take-off or landing?
Who decides when cabin lights be switched off during take-off or landing?
Aviation - Air Safety
Wednesday, 11 December 2013 15:03

Boeing 787 window shade demo by PPG

Dear Captain Lim,

I was flying recently from Bangkok to Frankfurt and was very surprised that the cabin lights were not switched off during take-off and landing like on previous night-flights.

Who decides whether the lights be switched off or on? Is there an international regulation regarding this? Is it the decision of the airline or crew?

Your website is very interesting to read and I hope that your book “Life in the Skies” will soon be available in Germany.

Yours sincerely,

Karoline

Hi Karoline,

Whether to switch off or on the cabin lights are never initiated by the crew on their own. These are standard operating procedures mandated by the airlines.

I wrote about the rationale on why window shades be opened during take-off or landing in an earlier answer here . The reasons are quite similar to cabin lighting issues.

I have not come across a clear regulation specifying this procedure but if an airline chooses to include the window shade position or lighting issues during the pre-takeoff and pre-landing announcement and if the FAA or any other regulatory body approve this procedure, then it becomes a requirement for them to do so.

What regulations clearly required by regulators such as the FAA are, for example, keeping passengers informed on how to operate the seat belt, the location and type of exits, and the location and operation of the oxygen masks. So if an airline chooses to add additional information, such as window shades or lightings be off  or dimmed on take-off or landing, the regulators may review it and then approves or rejects it. Once approved, then the airlines must abide by such procedures.

My book Life in the Skies is not available in Germany but it is available in ebooks (see here) or online here.

PS. If you like what you read, more stories are found in my book LIFE IN THE SKIES (Preview here) and you can purchase a copy here . To check for any latest updates or postings, you can follow my Twitter at @CaptKHLim 


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