Travel

British Airways' new "happiness blanket" turns red when you're pissed

There's a lot to feel stressed about at 38,000ft: Sitting next to an incessant talker, eating regrettable food, and having Failure to Launch as the best movie on the in-flight entertainment system. It's enough to drive anyone up the wall -- if only there were walls and not just a metal tube surrounding you.

But British Airways -- which recently sent one of its passengers to the wrong destination -- apparently wants to take the stress out of flying. To make that happen, the airline has unveiled a "happiness blanket" that uses "neuro-sensor technology" to display fliers' moods as it changes color on a blue to red spectrum; blue indicates a content, peaceful passenger, and red indicates an unhappy flier. 

Made out of wool, the bedding equivalent of a mood ring switches color with the help of mini LEDs that read brainwaves sent via Bluetooth, detected by an attractive wraparound headband. So basically, the senso rings from Coneheads, plus a blanket. And your "portable wearable device" will change to an attention-grabbing red to express your horror at the plane's resident in-flight nail clipper.

Though the blankets aren't available to all BA customers yet, they were tested by volunteers aboard a flight from London to New York on the BA189 Dreamliner. The experiment monitored what's working and what isn't -- from the in-flight entertainment and mealtimes to seat placement and menu preferences -- and found that passengers' moods shifted as they settled into the flight. Most were relaxed when eating and drinking, but sleeping promoted optimal levels of calm.

"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", Frank van der Post, British Airways’ managing director of brands and customer experience, told The Daily Mail, "from the amount of light in the cabin, when they eat, to what in-flight entertainment they watch and their position in the seat". 

"This is the first time this technology has been used by any airline to help shape how service is delivered on board an aircraft", he said.

Check out more pictures below.

Chloe Pantazi is an editorial assistant on Thrillist's travel team. Yes, that's a British accent. No, she doesn't watch Doctor Who. Follow her on Twitter at @ChloePantazi.