The Mystery of the Blue Seats

Admin Airplanes, Flex Air News

Many mysteries surround aviation. Some of these mysteries go unsolved. Examples of these mysteries include the Bermuda Triangle, questions about what happened to Amelia Earhart, and why were we unable to track the Malaysian MH370 flight. Another less menacing mystery is related to airline seats. Why are the majority of seats in most airlines primarily blue in color?

What is most interesting is that the common deep blue color was not always commonplace on airlines. Today, there are psychological reasons behind why seats are blue.

The color blue is thought to be “calming” by many. This means the color can also give people a sense of well-being.

In addition, there is something called “Color Therapy.” Colour Therapy Healing (note: colour = color; the British spell words funny) explains color therapy by stating, “Color Therapy is a complementary therapy for which there is evidence dating back thousands of years to the ancient cultures of Egypt, China, and India. A color is simply light of varying wavelengths, thus each color has its own particular wavelength and energy.”

According to experts at Colour Psychology, blue is a color that suggests “peace,” and it is the color “of the calm sea and the clear sky, both of which are linked to inner serenity, calm, and clarity. Blue is also shown to slow heart rate and breathing, so it can be a good color to aid in meditation or relaxation.”

The color can also be associated with trustworthiness. Strapped to a seat over 30,000 feet in the air, perhaps this is consumer psychology at its best—the airlines no doubt want their passengers to trust in them.

Tony Schnotala, a practicing therapist who spoke with Flex Air Aviation, admits that he has not studied colors in relation to Psychology in detail. He did say, “However, I have heard that blue is calming, relaxing, and helps you focus. It symbolizes water and sky, so it’s very earth centered and life giving. It may also give a sense of coldness.”

What Schnotala is referring to is the temperature coldness. Similarly, the website Popular Science performed a study by giving people the same fizzy drink in different glasses. Close to 48% of the people in the study thought that the drink in a blue glass would be more thirst quenching because it would be colder.

Blue seats were not always a part of aviation. In the earlier days, airline seats were earthy colors such as brown or gray. Interestingly enough these colors were thought to calm passengers. The 1970s replaced these colors with bright colors, using red and orange seats on airlines. These colors are associated with hostility and anger.

As a result, the blue colors became common in seats (sometimes gray is used on some airplanes). The color was not only thought to be more calming but to produce a business tone. It is noted that airlines such as Austrian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, and Emirates still use soft colors on seats.

While all of this may not be conclusive proof about why airlines use blue as their primary seat color choice, it does leave much to think about. With many psychological resources saying the same thing, is it a coincidence or an accident? Or are the seat color choices related to consumer psychology?