January 8, 2015 Articles

Airplane Takeoff App Soothes Fear of Flying

For some air travelers, takeoff can be one of the most anxiety-ridden moments of any flight. One airline has partnered with developers to devise an app that distracts passengers from their fears and improve the overall flight experience.

ANA Takeoff Mode is an iOS app designed by Japanese airline All Nippon Airways (ANA) and NYC digital agency Firstborn. With restrictions recently lifted for travelers from using mobile devices during takeoff, ANA saw an opportunity to reach customers. Dave Snyder, VP and Executive Creative Director at Firstborn explains the objective:

"When restrictions on mobile devices were revised, we partnered with ANA and Dentsu Tokyo to further the brand’s ‘By Design’ platform with an app that soothes passengers’ minds during a time that some find stressful. The belief that harmony can be engineered extends into every facet of ANA’s business—from their flagship lounges in Tokyo to the award winning in-flight dining."

Specifically, the app distracts passengers by engaging them in a puzzle game where they tilt their devices to move a ball on the screen while relaxing music plays in the background. The game increases in difficulty as boards are completed, which in turn requires more concentration from the user. The app also requests access to the the phone or tablet microphone so that it can sense ambient takeoff noise on the plane and trigger a special animation designed for extra-reassurance.

Inspiration for the app came from a study commissioned by ANA to better understand which parts of the flying experience are most stressful. Snyder recalls how his team chose what to include:

"In designing Takeoff Mode, we looked to include features that would help stimulate relaxation during takeoff and landing. Knowing that many people find music calming, we created original compositions specifically formulated to promote relaxation. To distract flyers from takeoff and landing, the challenging gameplay was designed to respond to user movements—absorbing both their mental and physical senses."

This app seems to be sign of the times hinging off recently removed restrictions. It is the first of many planned projects between the two companies and it will be interesting to see how other airlines respond with apps or programs built into passenger entertainment displays.

ANA Takeoff Mode is a free download in the App Store.