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Why are most aircraft seats blue?

There is a psychological reason why airlines choose various shades of blue for their cabins.

Why do so many aircraft cabins have blue seats? The newspaper the Telegraph asks this question and then answers. Simply put, it’s the most calming colour.

SAS, Finnair, Ryanair, British Airways, American Airlines – so many airlines opt for various shades of blue for their passenger seating. There is some psychology behind the choice.

Blue is commonly associated with positive qualities and characteristics, such as “trust, efficiency, serenity, coolness, reflection and calm,” according to Colour Affects, a London-based consultancy run by psychologist Angela Wright. In an era of bad behaviour on flights, that is important.

A trend that became clear decades ago, blue is the colour of choice “because it’s a conservative, non-contentious, corporate shade that symbolises being trustworthy and safe, so you see it used in all of the older airlines,” explains Nigel Goode, chief designer at aircraft interior firm Priestman Goode.

“Our job as designers is to reinforce the airline’s brand and make it more recognisable, but our primary concern is to deliver an interior that maximises comfort to create a pleasant environment.”

Less stressful
He adds: “It’s all about making the travelling experience less stressful and blue is said to evoke a feeling of calm. While some of the more budget airlines might use brasher, bolder shades, most others go with muted tones. The overarching aim is to create a home-like relaxing feel, so airlines tend to use muted colours that feel domestic, natural and earthy for that reason.”

Studies have shown strong links between colours and consumer perceptions of a brand. One revealed that up to 90% of quick judgments related to products are based on colour alone.

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