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British Airways has begun testing a hi-tech blanket which changes colour using brainwaves, to ensure it offers customers the best flight’s sleep in the sky. The ‘happiness blanket’, which is woven with fibre optics, uses neuro-sensors to measure a person’s brainwaves and changes colour, from red to blue, to show when they’re at their most relaxed and meditative.
The airline hopes monitoring a person’s sleep and relaxation patterns during a flight will inform decisions made to improve aspects of the in-flight service; from changing the timing of meals, what food is served and even the types of films shown – to make flying and sleeping on British Airways flights even more relaxing.
Last week, a group of volunteers on board the BA189 Dreamliner service from Heathrow to New York, were among the first to try out the hi-tech ‘happiness blankets’ for themselves and report on their experiences.
Frank van der Post, managing director, brands and customer experience, British Airways, said, “This is the first time this technology has been used by any airline to help shape how service is delivered on board an aircraft. Using technology like the British Airways ‘happiness blanket’ is another way for us to investigate how our customers’ relaxation and sleep is affected by everything on board, from the amount of light in the cabin, when they eat, to what in-flight entertainment they watch and their position in the seat. We want to ensure that our passengers get the best possible good flight’s sleep.”
Vincent Walsh, professor of human brain research, University College London, said, “Sleeping on a plane is a great opportunity to reset your body clock so you arrive at your destination after a long flight, feeling refreshed and rested. The short transatlantic flights west give a great opportunity for naps that will refresh you for that long first evening in New York or LA.”
“You can never underestimate the importance of a good sleep so I’m looking with interest at what the British Airways ‘happiness blanket’ will reveal about the traveller’s sleep and relaxation patterns during the course of a flight. Flying presents the body with a unique set of challenges, but getting a proper sleep on a flight isn’t rocket science. You need to ensure your brain has as few distractions as possible so that you can ease it into a different time zone,”added Walsh.
“Lying down, making sure you have as