British Airways Tests Happiness Blanket

Filed Under: British Airways

As a promotional gimmick, British Airways has trialed a “happiness blanket,” whereby passengers wear neuro-sensors which assess their happiness, and then corresponding colors are displayed on their blankets to reflect their mood. When I first saw an article about this I assumed it was from The Onion, because it just looked so damn silly.

Here’s a video of a flight between London and Newark where these happiness blankets were used:

Via The Daily Mail:

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.’

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.’

So let me make sure I got this right — British Airways paid money to do “research” which determined that people are happy when they eat and sleep? And we wonder why they’re not doing well financially. 😉

In fairness, it’s clearly just a promotional gimmick and it has people talking, which was clearly their goal. But at the same time a lot of the stories I’m reading about this suggest this will be an ongoing thing, which doesn’t seem correct…

  1. All of the data was probably skewed downward though, because, deep down inside, the passengers knew they were going to land in Newark.

  2. Who needs them. If you’re not on a honeymoon or in First or the A380 (or both), the colour’d be black anyway.

  3. For this to be a valid study, they’d need to have controls. Do they have some data showing that people who are sleeping in a cramped economy (on BA or other airlines) are unhappy (blanked is red)? Or perhaps blankets of all/most sleeping people turn blue based on what’s being measured.

  4. Total gimmick, I agree – I’m fact I thought it was some delayed April Fool at first! However financially BA are doing OK – certainly much better than all the Chapter 11 bankruptcy US airlines 😉

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