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British Airways Tests ‘Happiness Blanket’ to Measure In-Flight Relaxation

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British Airways knows the importance of a “good flight’s sleep,” which is why they began testing its ‘Happiness Blanket’ on passengers last week. Volunteers on board the BA189 Dreamliner service from Heathrow to New York were among the first to try out the hi-tech throw woven with neurosensors and fiber optics to monitor a user’s relaxation patterns.

The custom sleep blankets change color to reflect different levels of brainwave activity; when a tense user starts to unwind, the glowing fabric fades from red to blue. The airline plans to use the transatlantic studies to optimize in-flight relaxation and lessen post-flight jet lag by changing aspects of service and cabin details. Such research could affect anything from meal timing and entertainment options to seat positioning and brightness. 

This isn’t their only attempt at helping travellers catch more ZZZZZs—last week British Airways also announced the introduction of ‘Slow TV,’ wallpaper-style programming designed to lull viewers to sleep. Passengers can choose to watch footage of the hypnotic seven-hour train ride from Bergen to Oslo, Norway. BA was also the first airline to have full flat-bed seats in business class. Let’s hope this new technology makes it that much easier to reset your body clock abroad.

Helen Zook is an editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.

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Photo courtesy of British Airways

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