With holiday travel season almost upon us and with winter vacations beckoning, many of us will soon find ourselves squished into aircraft as the guy in the middle seat next you curses his inability to get his steamer trunk-sized carry-on baggage into the overhead compartment right above your head.
Once everyone finally gets seated, the babies begin the cry, the fight over armrests begin, and the dude across the aisle insists on taking off his shoes and socks, then comes the dreary pre-flight safety demonstration.
This, of course, is serious stuff in the event something should go wrong. It’s very important to know when and how to properly freak out when gravity decides to exert its power.
On aircraft where the videos screens have been removed (to save weight and money, not because we’d rather use our tablets and phones), the flight attendants have to carry out the decades-old pantomime on how to fasten a seatbelt and what to do when a window blows out and reduces cabin pressure to something approximately equal to that of deep space. No one except the most paranoid pay attention.
Other carriers who haven’t abandoned seatback screens rely on some kind of safety video. Many airlines err on the side of seriousness, sobriety, and calmness when it comes to production. (Hey! Air Canada! I’m looking at you! Can your safety video be any more soporific?)
As someone who flies on many different airlines around the world, I can tell you that it doesn’t have to be this way. Pre-flight safety videos can be informative, instructive, and entertaining. Sometimes, all you need to add is a little music. Here are some of my favourites.
1. Air New Zealand
Anyone who’s flown in an out of New Zealand over the last decade knows that the national carrier has a real sense of humour when it comes to their safety videos (Here’s an example. And then there was this Richard Simmons video). For its latest production, AZ received permission from Run-DMC to co-opt their hit, “It’s Tricky” for their latest safety video production. Tell me you wouldn’t be captivated by this.
2. Virgin America
Everything about The Airline that Richard Branson Built TM reflects the founder’s wacky and fun personality. This production called “VX Safety Dance” doesn’t have anything to do with the Men Without Hats hit (come to think of it, someone really should talk to the band about licensing that), but it gets the message across in a fun way.
3. EVA Air
An in-flight safety video as interpretive dance? I’m not sure this makes much sense, but there is a certain WTF-ness to this video that has you paying attention.
4. TAP Airlines
The Portuguese carrier thought it might be fun to go back to 1945 for this safety video, complete with a tour through an old DC-3 and some appropriately retro music.
5. Cebu Pacific
It looks like Lady Gaga may have choreographed this safety routine (as well as providing the music) by the Philippine carrier. I’m sure all the licensing fees were paid.
Oh, and they have a Mariah Carey Christmas version, too.
6. Air France
The French have their own way of doing this, of course. Very chic and stylish, non?
The Vietnamese carrier doesn’t have seatback screens, so they rely on their bikini-clad flight attendants to … er, I’m not sure what’s happening here.
8. Pegasus Airlines
This Turkish airline decided to create a whole superhero theme to their video, complete with the appropriate theme music.
9. British Airways
At over six minutes, this is one of the longer safety videos but comedian Asim Chaudry is an excellent anchor for all of these intertwined vignettes. You don’t even notice that there isn’t any music.
That video was so popular that a sequel was commissioned.
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