Air Safety: The Musical, the Comedy, and the Reality Show

Several airlines have decided that typical, stodgy air safety videos aren’t getting the job done, so they’ve gone to great lengths to punch them up with some flair and pinache. And some of those airlines are upping the ante by making their creativity a trend.

I’ve already written about six previous attention-grabbing videos, and here’s a look at three more—the newest offerings from Virgin America and Air New Zealand:

  • Virgin America Safety Video
    A music/dance video featuring past contestants from American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance (with a couple contortionists, too), it’s directed by John M. Chu, the director of Step Up 2, Step Up 3, and Justin Beiber’s  Never Say Never. Future inflight-dancer wannabes can Instagram their best moves with #VXsafetydance to audition for a sequel.
  • Safety Old School Style
    Air New Zealand’s latest offering stars Betty White and Gavin MacLeod (of The Love Boatlook here if you’re too young to remember). It’s set at the “Second Wind Retirement Resort” and has lots of one-liners and sight gags poking fun at the senior-citizen set.
  • The Bear Essentials of Safety
    Man vs. Wild‘s Bear Grylls takes this Air New Zealand video to the great outdoors—New Zealand’s Routeburn Track, to be exact. Take a look if you’d like to see what exit-row lighting would look like if the plane were a cave and glow worms lit the way.

I think it’s time that someone started a set of awards for all these videos. We have the Emmies. We have the Razzies. How about the Safeties?

(Frances Cha, “Step Up’ Meets Robot Dancers in Virgin America’s New Over-the-Top Safety Video,” CNN, October 30, 2013)


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.

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