Sweet-Dreams Liner . . . Maybe Someday

5287865564_65b5330065_nIt’s been big news lately that the new Boeing 787 is having problems, resulting in its grounding until a solution can be found to its lithium-ion batteries catching fire. Certainly, that’s not the track record that was expected when it was christened the “Dreamliner” in an online naming contest (beating out “Global Cruiser” by 2500 votes).

There’s another kind of jet that I’m waiting for with more anticipation. It’s only in the concept stage, but it’s a well-thought-out concept—aimed directly at families with children. It’s called cAir, and it’s the brainchild of RKS Design. I heard about it from Karolyn Wojtowicz at the blog William Penn University Study Abroad (lots of good stuff there for “opening the eyes of students, of all ages, everywhere to opportunities available anywhere”). Read her take at “cAir: The New Child-Friendly Airline.”

cAir innovations include

  • Toy rental
  • Sound curtains that pull down from the ceiling (reminds me of Get Smart‘s “Cone of Silence”)
  • Child-friendly, family-size lavatories
  • Places for storing and reheating food
  • Built-in child seats
  • Spinnable seat pairs that allow family members to face each other (my favorite—just like the trains in Taiwan)
  • Lower-level overhead compartments for child access to smaller items
  • And half-price discounts for parents flying with children (OK, I made this last one up, but we’re dreaming, aren’t we?)

“Flying with children can be a real nightmare. . . . So why not do something to fix it?” —RKS Design

(David M. Ewalt, “Dreamliner’s News May Be Getting Worse, and Not Just for Boeing,” Forbes, January 22, 2013; “Puget Sound Employee Wins ‘Name Your Plane’ Sweepstakes,” Boeing Frontiers Online, July 2003)

[illustration: “Flying Duck Patrol,” by Colorful Bleeding, used under a Creative Commons license]


Now That the Hobbit Air-Safety Video Has Gone Viral, Here’s a Look at the Prequels

If you think all air-safety videos are boring, then you probably haven’t flown Air New Zealand. Their latest effort, the Hobbit-inspired “An Unexpected Briefing,” has gone well beyond the simple objective of capturing the attention of passengers, as it has gone viral and has already entertained millions of viewers on the ground. While this one is by far the most successful tongue-in-cheek video from “the airline of Middle-earth,” it’s certainly not the first.

Before “An Unexpected Briefing,” there was “Mile-High Madness with Richard Simmons,” “Crazy about Rugby,” featuring the All Blacks, and  “Bare Essentials of Safety,” with the cast/crew dressed only in body paint. Here’s a “best of the best” mash-up of all three versions:

And New Zealand’s national airline has also given us “Ed and Melanie’s Safety Sketch,” with the voice talents of Ed O’Neill (Wreck It RalphModern Family) and Melanie Lynskey (Two and a Half Men, Up in the Air):

Air New Zealand isn’t the only carrier using humor to grab eyeballs for this very important message. Three years ago, the UK’s Thomson Airways recast their video using children. It looks as if their lead spokes-girl might some day become a rival for Deltalina. She certainly has mastered the finger wag.

Who’s Deltalina? She’s Katherine Lee, the flight attendant chosen in 2008 to be the main presenter for Delta’s safety videos. He nickname comes from what some see as her resemblance to Angelina Jolie. Air safety has made Lee a star.

Back in 2007, Virgin American came up with this animated video, featuring such lines as “For the point zero zero zero one per cent of you who have never operated a seat belt before, it works like this.”

And finally, for the point zero zero zero zero one per cent of you who haven’t seen “An Unexpected Briefing,” with its cameos by Peter Jackson and Gollum, here it is. Enjoy.

Related post:
Inflight Magazines: My Virtual Seat-Back Pocket Runneth Over