Those Over-the-Top Safety Videos May Be Causing Passengers to Miss the “Safety” Part Altogether
In September, the “wacky airline video” trend claimed yet another victim when American Airlines debuted a perfectly choreographed in-flight safety video (which you can see below) to accompany the carrier's spiffy new Cole Haan-designed uniforms, donned by more than 70,000 airline employees.
As with the uniforms, reviews of the new safety video were also mixed. While the action — which recreates the safety check process on a soundstage — is a lot tamer than other instructional videos out there, some experts believe that this tendency toward silliness in presenting safety information may be causing passengers to miss the safety part altogether.
According to The Wall Street Journal’s Scott McCartney, while a cavalcade of well-known faces, big-budget production value and attention-grabbing gimmicks seem to have succeeded in getting more people to look up at their television screens while the safety video is playing, those Hollywood-style antics — which reportedly cost about $1 million a pop — might be distracting viewers from the key information at hand, like where to find your safety vest in the event of an emergency landing.
“The problem with humor,” McCartney told NPR, “is that people remember the jokes but not the safety message.”
While the FAA does approve each in-flight safety video, the organization’s main concern is that the necessary information — such as how to buckle your seat belt and where to find the exits — is being communicated. As long as the key information is clear, airlines are free to jazz it up however they want.
And so they have. In the past near-decade, passengers have been subjected to everything from a Richard Simmons workout at 35,000 feet to, well, Alf. Check out a few of our favorite over-the-top airline safety videos below, and see how much information you're able to retain about what to do with that oxygen mask afterwards.
Though it's not too over-the-top, Virgin America’s animated 2007 safety video showed that there was room to play within the genre.
Many people credit Air New Zealand’s “Bare Essentials” video with making it okay for airlines to go the non-traditional route back in 2009 — and even allow for a little bit of humor.
Two years after “Bare Essentials,” Air New Zealand attempted to top itself with Richard Simmons’s “Mile-High Madness” workout routine.
Frankly, it would have almost been irresponsible for Air New Zealand to ignore its reputation as the real world’s Middle Earth, so in 2012, the airline partnered with Peter Jackson's WETA Digital to create the epic safety video below.
In an attempt to continue to own the outlandish safety video market, Air New Zealand debuted “Safety Old School Style,” starring Betty White — and loaded up with old people jokes — in 2013.
In 2014, Delta did the retro thing with a 1980s-inspired safety video that featured plenty of big hair, leg warmers, scrunchies — and a cameo from Alf.
Also in 2013 — in the midst of Glee-mania — Virgin America introduced the “Safety Dance.”
Earlier this year, Air New Zealand struck again — this time with a Hollywood-themed video that pokes fun at the very trend it has been dominating.
Which of these is your favorite? Where else have you seen crazy airline safety videos? Tell us about them, below.