BA testing high-tech ‘happiness blanket’

When it comes to the science of sleep on board a flight the combination of cosy blanket, reclining plane seat and eye mask is usually a winning formula.

Now British Airways (BA) is taking one of these elements to the next level in an effort to help air passengers enter the land of nod. The iconic British airline has started testing a hi-tech sleep blanket which monitors when passengers are at their most relaxed. Using fibre optics woven into the fabric of the blanket, the ‘happiness blanket’ uses neuro-sensors to measure a person’s brainwaves. These fibre optics then turn from red to blue to indicate when passengers have entered a meditative state.

It is hoped that the insights gained on sleep and relaxation patterns during a flight will be used to inform decisions such as onboard meal times and even the genre of film played on a flight. The hi-tech ‘happiness blankets’ were recently tried out by a group of volunteers, who will report on their experience, on board the BA189 Dreamliner service from Heathrow to New York.

Frank van der Post, British Airways’ managing director, brands and customer experience, 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.

“Having been the first airline to introduce the fully-flat bed in business class, we take our customers’ sleep and relaxation, very seriously. Now we want to ensure they get the best possible good flight’s sleep as well.”

Date Created: 09 July 2014

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