Why Planes Turn Off Cabin Lights for Takeoff and Landing Plus Delta Doubles Down Supporting Trump

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About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. That’s EXTRA reason why I nearly never patronize DL, and when I do, it’s hidden city ticketing to scam them. Their support for Trump justifies me defrauding them.

  2. So you wouldn’t hidden city on Emirates? If American supported Obama and you don’t like Obamacare that would justify stealing from a hospital? Got it.

  3. I think Delta will be part of a long line of corporations counting on Trump to eliminate competition and create rising prices. Protectionism is bad for the economy, but definitely appeals to a lot of people, including, obviously, Trump himself.

  4. Sorry that you love flying first class service on these airlines owned/subsidized by state sponsors/passive supporters of terrorism, but there are other issues to consider besides your joy of taking a shower inflight.

    I’m not a fan of protectionism by any means, and my biggest concern with Trump is his anti-free trade tendencies. There is an argument to be made that free trade is beneficial to the US even if it is not reciprocated. However, raising issues of open competition ,fairness and pricing is quite disingenuous when competing against state owned/controlled/heavily subsidized enterprises that have other motivations besides profit.

    If we had a free trade agreement with all countries in the world, with no cutouts/subsidies/state ownership, and none of these countries considered us an enemy, then that would be just super. Sadly, that is not the real world. In the real world there is not a level playing field in international trade, and some players have ulterior motives, so these things have to be addressed politically to avoid the US being taken advantage of, like we have for the last 8 years (reference China).

  5. I just sent this to Kristen Leigh Painter regarding her Jan 12, 2017 Cabin Dimming article and thought you might find it informative.

    The statement “Dimming cabin lights during the day, then, is less necessary, but does conserve some engine power as the plane hurtles toward flight. (Less taxation on the engine means an aircraft can shorten its takeoff roll, or when a plane is aligned with a runway centerline and will soon become airborne.)” is false in every sense of the word.

    Turbine Engines on today’s transport category aircraft produce 3 things: Thrust (power for flight), Bleed Air (for Air related systems such as Air Conditioning, Pressurization, and Ice Protection on the wings/tail surfaces) and Electricity (to power the Aircraft’s Electrical Systems).

    The Engine creates Thrust via burning fuel (fairly straightforward).

    The Engine creates Bleed Air via by removing some of the compressed air inside the engine (in the process BEFORE fuel is added to it). The air that is “bled off” (hence the term Bleed Air) is not available to the rest of the engine for the production of thrust, thus the greater the “bleed” the less thrust the engine can create. This is a direct correlation.

    The Engine creates Electricity via Alternators/Generators directly attached to the engine casing via an accessory gearbox. You can think of this as the same in our automobiles. This Alternator/Generator produces electricity of the same amount regardless of engine RPM/Power (nobody says in their automobiles “turn the lights/radio down so I can go faster”).

    The amount of Electricity demanded by an airplane’s electrical system has no effect on the amount of thrust available for flight since it does not use any more or less of the engine’s combustion processes to generate said electricity.

    The only reason cabin lights are dimmed are to allow for passengers to more easily see the Emergency Exit and Floor Path Lighting should the need arise.

    B757/767 Captain and Line Check Airman
    Well Known US & International Airline

  6. Last time on this site Gary. I use to visit and learn about FF programs, credit cards etc. Unfortunately, your blog has turned political and bashing Trump, My President, and the Republicans.

    Disabled Veteran for Trump and America First.

  7. Gary, you did survey your readers recently regarding blocking folks from commenting. I find as the number of political comments rises (for any side) the enjoyment I get from reading your blog decreases pretty rapidly. The comment streams above are point in fact.

    As I mentioned in my survey answer, I know well the amount of time and headache it can take to police the comments on a forum such as yours, but I truly do think that enforcing a “No political posts” rule would be useful. But, if you truly do want to be free to inject your political commentary into your posts (See Delta story above), there’s really no way to honestly enforce such a rule. The Delta story is appropriate news for your blog but could have been reported in a less partisan manner.

    I wish you well, but if the folks on your blog can’t grow up and keep their comments to themselves, I too will cease reading.

  8. @Ron, I’m sure you equally supported our previous president, right? I mean, you must respect the office regardless of whether it’s a black man or a billionaire, hmm?

  9. With all due respect to Captain Chris, it’s wrong to say that reducing the electrical load on the turbine has no effect on thrust (or fuel consumption to maintain the desired thrust). The electric alternators/generators driven by the turbine will be automatically controlled (aka “excited”) to produce exactly the needed electric current (at a constant voltage) to drive the lights (and other electric appliances on the plane), and the more current needed, the more load on the turbine. Thus decreasing the lighting will increase the thrust with a constant fuel burn rate. If you max out the throttle, reducing the lighting will increase the thrust by something (and it might be very, very small – but it’s something).

    A more substantive reason for dimming the lights on takeoff/landing is to enhance the ability of crew/passengers to see outside the aircraft for situational awareness in the event of an emergency evacuation. It’s a lot easier to see outside of a dimmed cabin, especially at night. When deciding which door to exit (left or right?) it could be really valuable information (e.g. to more clearly see which side has the worse debris field/flames to make your way through after getting down the slide).

    SE Rob
    PhD in EE, CSEP
    President, a small systems engineering firm

  10. @GLeff, You should offer no criticism of the President Elect. He may be on your side. It is rumored that the next administration is promoting one of your favorite ideas — letting foreign-owned airlines fly US domestic routes. Aeroflot is at the top of the list!

    To those now demanding the censure of all political comment (or at least any comment against the Insulter in Chief): I hope it was nothing I said.

  11. @Chris

    I never said he was racist. Just a self-serving hypocrite who’s patriotism stops when he sees a (D) next tothe Commander in Chief’s name.

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