British Airways (BA) has started the testing of a hi-tech blanket that is designed to offer passengers the best flight’s sleep in the sky.
Woven with fibre optics, the ‘happiness blanket’ 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 state.
The airline expects that monitoring a person’s sleep and relaxation patterns during flight will help it to improve aspects of the in-flight service; from changing the timing of meals, what food is served and also the types of films shown – to make flying and sleeping on British Airways flights a relaxing experience.
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.
‘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.’
Backing the BA initiative, Vincent Walsh, professor of human brain research at 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.
‘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.’
Professor Walsh also offers simple tips to improve sleep while flying, including having a light meal before boarding the flight, a seat that reclines as flat as possible, taking off shoes, avoiding alcohol and any caffeinated drinks, among others.
A group of volunteers on board the BA189 Dreamliner service from Heathrow to New York, last week, were among the first to try out the hi-tech ‘happiness blankets’ for themselves and report on their experiences.