Who is in charge of controlling the mood lighting on commercial airplanes such as the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787? How is it controlled?


1 Answer 1


The cabin lighting is controlled by the cabin crew. There are usually control panels at multiple locations throughout the cabin, typically near an entrance door, where the cabin crew is seated.

On the Boeing 787, the cabin lighting is controlled via the Cabin Attendant Panel (CAP):


The primary lighting in the passenger cabin is controlled in the CABIN SCENE LIGHTING screen. Flight attendants choose from lighting scenes to set the cabin lighting. Lighting scenes are short sequences of lighting changes designed to transition to a level designed for various times during the flight. [...]

B787 CAP

(Boeing 787 Flight Attendant Manual 2A.15.3 - Cabin Services System - LIGHTING - Cabin Scene)

The cabin area can be selected on the left and a new cabin scene lighting on the right. When START is pressed, a transition into the new scene lighting is initiated. The following scenes are available by default (others can be configured by the airline):

B787 Lighting Scenes

(Boeing 787 Flight Attendant Manual 2A.15.6 - Cabin Services System - LIGHTING - Cabin Scene)

  • $\begingroup$ Please note that the pilots can completely cut the power, this is used in emergencies. $\endgroup$
    – Polygorial
    Jun 28 at 8:43
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    $\begingroup$ Out of interest: Are the transition times purely aesthetic? Or is there some specific purpose to them? $\endgroup$
    – pat3d3r
    Jun 28 at 10:10
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    $\begingroup$ @pat3d3r: I'd assume that, in general, the gradual transitions are used because a sudden change in lighting would be more likely to startle and possibly alarm passengers. A gradual shift is less likely to be noticed, and even if noticed, looks deliberate and unhurried. A sudden change might cause some already nervous passengers to suspect a malfunction or an emergency of some kind. $\endgroup$ Jun 28 at 10:40
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    $\begingroup$ … As for the specific transition times listed, the general trend seems to be that very bright or very dark settings have slightly longer transition times, which makes sense if you want to limit the maximum rate of change. The notable outliers are the "sleep" modes, where you presumably want to be extra careful not to startle passengers awake just when they're trying to get to sleep. The descriptions also suggest that there might be some fancy non-linear color transitions to "simulate sunset" going on there. $\endgroup$ Jun 28 at 10:41
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    $\begingroup$ Confused. I don’t see options for “Red Alert” or “Yellow Alert”? How do you effectively summon the crew to their battle stations? $\endgroup$ Jun 28 at 21:40

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