December 25, 2009

Flying The Friendlier Skies

I am happy to read that Boeing  is making an effort to make their planes more comfortable for passengers. Read the whole article and you'll see that they are increasing the size of overhead baggage compartments, working on noise reduction and more.
"Boeing wastes no time giving passengers a new experience. As soon as you board the Dreamliner, you're greeted by an open area just inside the door. The ceiling resembles a skylight, complete with blue LED lighting that mimics the sky.

"They've designed this kind of lounge area instead of coming in next to a galley," Hamilton says. "It really gives you a welcoming area instead of entering into somebody's kitchen."

Of course, it's up to the airlines buying the planes to decide what you see, and some of them way well modify the boarding area and other features of the plane. But even if they muck it up completely, there's still a lot of "wow" in the 787 cabin.

The onboard lighting is one of the coolest features.

Anyone who has flown across more than a couple of time zones knows how difficult it is to sleep, and to be awakened with the flick of a switch that floods the cabin in fluorescent white light. Boeing's LEDs allow the crew to adjust the lighting to match different phases of the flight.

The light is fairly standard during boarding and while cruising. During meals it is adjusted to warmer tones. Once you're done eating and want to tilt the seat back and relax, the cabin can be bathed in a relaxing lavender hue. When it's time to sleep, the lights are turned way down.

But it's how the crew wakes you that's the best part of the Dreamliner's lighting.

Instead of flicking the lights on and flooding the cabin in light, the cabin will brighten slowly, with the light transitioning from the purples and oranges of a sunrise to yellows, and eventually white against a blue sky. Boeing's thought is mimicking the light schedule of your destination, some of the dreaded jet lag can be alleviated."
It all sounds good to me, but I have to admit to retaining some serious doubt and skepticism about whether the peons in coach will benefit. We shall see.

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