Southwest Airlines safety announcement.
January 5, 2015 9:36 PM   Subscribe

And if you're traveling with small children, we're sorry. Flight attendant gives the obligatory safety talk, with a twist.
posted by kinnakeet (76 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
 
Could only be Texas! :)
posted by Nevin at 10:06 PM on January 5, 2015


Headphones, in.. music, loud.
posted by ReeMonster at 10:17 PM on January 5, 2015 [6 favorites]


Captive audience! I had a wacky Southwest crew once. They played purse scavenger hunt type games and told jokes during the safety demo. This was many years ago, too.
posted by not_on_display at 10:24 PM on January 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


For people who can't get enough of the Comedy Defensive Driving School style of awkward, forced humor to an awkward, forced audience. All that's missing is some good-natured ribbing of a passenger who's not laughing (because there's nothing funny about having to purchase a last minute seat on a discount airline to attend the unexpected and far-too-soon funeral of a loved one).
posted by item at 10:28 PM on January 5, 2015 [7 favorites]


On the other hand, to paraphrase Edward Tufte, when you are presenting information, you should always do whatever it takes to get the information across. People tend to ignore these safety announcements, so if this makes people listen up and arrive safely, the flight attendant has done her job & well. I consider this a case of whatever it takes. Good on her.
posted by mochapickle at 10:33 PM on January 5, 2015 [31 favorites]


With the caveat that I have reached and fully embrace the "Get off my lawn" portion of my life, wacky airplane announcements are right up there with "Silly wedding dance" and flash mob proposal videos as things I would be happy never to see again.
posted by The Gooch at 10:43 PM on January 5, 2015 [13 favorites]


Hah! That was a funny intro.

Wait...there's 3 minutes of this?

Bose don't fail me now!
posted by madajb at 10:47 PM on January 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Reason 1001 why as soon as my ass hits the seat the headphones go on and the eyes go closed. This is like getting a letter from the IRS in Comic Sans; why make it worse then it has to be?
posted by bizwank at 10:49 PM on January 5, 2015 [8 favorites]


man

tough crowd
posted by Sebmojo at 10:58 PM on January 5, 2015 [39 favorites]


It's almost like they're trying their hardest to prevent us from contemplating the money-fueled misery engine that keeps alive our dream of flight in ever-tighter quarters!
posted by Earthtopus at 11:11 PM on January 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


tough crowd

Who WANTS to be subjected this? That is, if you're referring to the passengers.
posted by ReeMonster at 11:21 PM on January 5, 2015


Don't get me wrong, I have complete respect for flight attendants and the job they do, but when they impose this nonsense on the passengers they might as well be saying "and on behalf of your Burbank-based flight crew, I want to say 'fuck you' to Univac." It's not even about getting people to pay attention to safety info. I once had to listen to an entire gratuitous song after landing & arriving at the gate. The other passengers, though - they eat it up. Just like they thoughtlessly tear into the little peanut pouches & make me inhale their peanut breath because hurf durf someone handed me food of course I'm gonna eat it.
posted by univac at 11:26 PM on January 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


ReeMonster: "Who WANTS to be subjected this? That is, if you're referring to the passengers."

Seriously. Didn't you hear that stone cold silence after every joke, the crickets chirping? Not even a chuckle.

Oh, no, wait, I must be thinking of some other video. I heard lots of hearty laughing. Not even that nervous chuckling people make when they feel sorry for someone making a joke. Loud laughing and even applauding. Followed by hooting and whistling at the end.

I didn't find it funny, but a lot of people apparently did. So what makes me so goddamn special that I should say "Hey, guys, I realize y'all are really enjoying this, but since I'm not, the flight attendants should shut the fuck up. Because what's important isn't you plebes with your lack of taste, but me with my refined sophistication."
posted by Bugbread at 11:36 PM on January 5, 2015 [60 favorites]


Really? Having schtick inserted into the legally-required safety briefing, thereby adding precisely zero time to your flight, and perhaps making the person sitting next to you slightly less miserable and grumpy, is equivalent to a personal "fuck you"?

Lighten up, Francis.
posted by agentofselection at 11:38 PM on January 5, 2015 [43 favorites]


The German word "fremdschämen", which means "to be embarrassed because someone else has embarrassed themselves and doesn't notice", is the perfect word for how this makes me feel.
posted by dotgirl at 11:54 PM on January 5, 2015 [24 favorites]


All you all are wrong and you should feel bad for being so wrong. This is great, actually funny jokes told by somebody who can actually tell jokes and do so at a rapid patter.

That's what I want if I do have to travel by air.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:13 AM on January 6, 2015 [10 favorites]


Southwest seems to do this a lot. A few years ago we had landed and were taxying and the flight attendant said, "If you look out of your window on the right you will see a Delta plane. Be sure to wave at them so they can see what a full plane looks like."

(I thought this video was very funny.)
posted by brundlefly at 12:25 AM on January 6, 2015 [14 favorites]


I will take this any day over the gate attendant we had flying out of Orlando at oh-Jesus-thirty in the morning once.

There we were, miserable after a night of maybe three hours of sleep, sitting at the gate and waiting to board, and this skinny refugee from a David Lynch movie fucker was practicing bird calls into his microphone.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 12:56 AM on January 6, 2015 [7 favorites]


I never listen to the safety announcements - despite what they say, they really are all the same. But on the rare occasions I fly Virgin, my ears are often perked up by laughter because the cabin crew person doing the safety talk is cracking jokes. That makes me listen to the rest. If it can make me, possibly the world's most jaded traveller, pay attention, it's likely a good thing.
posted by dg at 1:29 AM on January 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


Reason 1001 why as soon as my ass hits the seat the headphones go on and the eyes go closed. This is like getting a letter from the IRS in Comic Sans; why make it worse then it has to be?

you know i had heard about the whole "take a bunch of xanax, take a xanap" method of travel, but until my partner did it recently on a particularly crappy flight/layover/flight combo to NOLA, i hadn't heard first hand how truly awesome it is.

i don't know if i'll ever fly another way again.
posted by emptythought at 3:15 AM on January 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


I refuse to fly Southwest. Ever. For any reason. This is one reason why.
I don't need to hear your safety "information." I've flown on 73's probably 200+ times in the last 20 years.

Plus I just don't like forced comedy anywhere unless I'm stranded on a tarmac with Chris Rock.
posted by spitbull at 3:18 AM on January 6, 2015


There we were, miserable after a night of maybe three hours of sleep, sitting at the gate and waiting to board, and this skinny refugee from a David Lynch movie fucker was practicing bird calls into his microphone.

I dunno, the sheer surreal indifference to his surroundings would have cheered me up immensely. That man marches to his own drum, which is a set of timpani slung between two emus.
posted by winna at 3:22 AM on January 6, 2015 [9 favorites]


Flying economy class with any airline these days is full of absurd moments, full stop.

Southwest's schtick acknowledges that and plays with it, in contrast to every other airline that pretends it's still a rare privilege and that you have enough leg room so sit down and shut up and stay out of the way. Moo. *punch*

When Southwest took over Airtran, I was worried we'd lose service in favor of a larger nearby airport, but instead we got lame jokes and songs with our cheap and convenient-to-schedule flight options and free checked bags.

There is another airline I won't even dignify to name (it flies through Chicago and Denver a lot), that, if you raze all their gates, salted the earth beneath, and sold all their employees and their families unto the third generation into bondage, it'd be too good for them.

Maybe I'm jinxing myself by saying this, but I'm happy to fly SWA, despite finding some of their patter embarrassing. Or, who knows, maybe because it's embarrassing. Whatever.
posted by one weird trick at 3:56 AM on January 6, 2015 [7 favorites]


I fly maybe once every ten or twelve years, and even I zone-out on the safety instructions. This sort of delivery would at least have made me listen a bit more. It was still delivered at "even if you're paying attention, you're not getting half of the information" speed. Still, I am amazed that she had that entire schtick memorized and could deliver it so quickly. Even with the subtitles fell behind in spots.

The closest I ever came to humor on a flight was when a pilot, as we were taxiing to the gate, announced that we were five minutes early, so, if we're ever on a behind-schedule flight, we owed them a few minutes.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:45 AM on January 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


I've only flown on Southwest once (two airports in Houston, and they don't fly out of the closest) and I got a quippy flight crew.

Got the saftey banter. Right before we landed, they sent two guys--who must have been employees flying on employee rates--down the aisles to do that last trash collection thing with a "Ladies, they're single..." Then once the door opened the head flight attendant said, "Now get off the plane."

Not going to lie. I kinda liked it. Air travel sucks anyway. Might as well do what you can.
posted by Cyrano at 5:01 AM on January 6, 2015 [9 favorites]


I don't need to hear your safety "information." I've flown on 73's probably 200+ times in the last 20 years.


Shockingly, there are people who haven't! The person sitting next to you may very well be (1) on their first flight or one of their first flights in years (and Southwest, as a low cost airline that still has a destinations in the South is probably more likely to have these sorts of passengers), and (2) terrified. The shtick will (1) get them to pay attention to the safety briefing and (2) relax a little.
posted by damayanti at 5:51 AM on January 6, 2015 [18 favorites]


The first time I came across humour in flight safety announcements was on Virgin, when it started to do the animated seat-back briefings. That may be less intrusive for curmudgeons, the grieving or the terrified - all of whom may well be more receptive to a more straightforward delivery - but I'm firmly convinced that even when it's in-your-face stand-up shtick like this it works better for more people. I can remember the few stand-up briefings I've had, really clearly. (One was on TV, with a veddy camp flight attendant saying... "When you're in the water the light on the lifejacket will light up and you can blow your whistle to attract the attention of passing sailors...")

Personally, I always listen closely and always read the seat-pocket card. I've flown enough times, god knows, but perhaps this is a new configuration and I would prefer to know where my nearest emergency exit is before I need the information. Call me pernickety if you will.

(A useful tip I learned from a pilot: always count the seat rows between you and the exits. You may not be able to see enough to know when to make your exit, but you'll always be able to feel your way. He also did the same in hotels, by counting the number of rooms between his room and the fire escape, for the same reason. If it's good enough for someone who flys the things, it's good enough for me.)

Flying can be horrible. It's also pretty miraculous. You can make it better than bearable by attitude adjustment. You don't have to, of course. Up to you. What sort of trip do you want to have?
posted by Devonian at 6:06 AM on January 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


Man, y'all are some curmudgeonly fucking people.

My favorite thing that ever happened on a flight is, as soon as we were done taxing to the gate and the plane stopped, the pilot said, over the intercom, "All rise."

Which was perfect, because as soon as the plane stops everyone stands, as if they're actually going to go somewhere in the next ten minutes. I always just keep seated and when the people two rows in front of me start to move, that's when I get up. I don't delay anyone and I don't get off the plane any later than I would anyway.
posted by bondcliff at 6:27 AM on January 6, 2015 [9 favorites]


Devonian: "Flying can be horrible. It's also pretty miraculous. "

This. To everybody whining about having to put up with 3 minutes of harmless humour from a flight attendant on a 1.5 hour flight between 2 first world cities, please spend 36 hours on a windowless bus in the bolivian highlands with a TV blaring reggaeton videos and Chuck Norris movies until 4 am, and please remember to check your privilege, or at least stow it in the overhead compartment.
posted by signal at 6:31 AM on January 6, 2015 [13 favorites]


Geez, crabby frequent flyers are the worst. I'll apologize for not having the security line thing down to an exact science and laughing at the flight attendant spiel when you apologize for the total environmental destruction I'm going to have to deal with in my old age.

Ahem. I thought the video was funny.
posted by geegollygosh at 6:52 AM on January 6, 2015


I had a flight about five years ago with Virgin where the attendants gave us trivia questions and winners got free booze and snacks, man was it awesome. I have a flight with Qantas tomorrow, travelling with two toddlers. Something tells me this journey will be quite different...
posted by Jubey at 7:04 AM on January 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


I too tend to avoid Southwest (and their Canadian imitator, Westjet) to get away from this stuff. It's funny once, but seeing the same routine and hearing the same jokes four times in a single trip gets old fast.

Laugh! It is required by the FAA!

You want to do engaging safety demos, do them on the in flight monitors like Air NZ. Those are funny and ignorable. Win-win.
posted by bonehead at 7:10 AM on January 6, 2015


item: For people who can't get enough of the Comedy Defensive Driving School style of awkward, forced humor to an awkward, forced audience. All that's missing is some good-natured ribbing of a passenger who's not laughing (because there's nothing funny about having to purchase a last minute seat on a discount airline to attend the unexpected and far-too-soon funeral of a loved one).
Which is a completely different situation from this, where no one in particular is being mocked ("teased", in bullying parlance).
posted by IAmBroom at 7:10 AM on January 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


spitbull: I don't need to hear your safety "information."
The FAA disagrees, and so your opinion is irrelevant.
posted by IAmBroom at 7:12 AM on January 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


Which is a completely different situation from this, where no one in particular is being mocked ("teased", in bullying parlance).

Except in the Delta equivalent of this spiel -- their seatback safety videos for some aircraft have some delightful plausibly-deniable transphobic bullshit as part of the attention-grabbing humor. I'd much rather have had the Southwest-style goofing around.
posted by dorque at 7:15 AM on January 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


(Ugh, sorry, that sounds confrontational and weird now that I've posted it. Sorry, IAmBroom, I'm annoyed at Delta and not at you.)
posted by dorque at 7:17 AM on January 6, 2015


Once, in the 90s, the safety information on my Southwest flight was delivered in a song. A song that rhymed. I was completely impressed and fairly amused and among other things, I listened closely in order to hear how they would deliver the information I knew was coming. It was delightful and quick and it humanized the crew so that passengers treated them like people and not like waitresses. (Once on a United flight around that same time, I had a stewardess who was wearing a name tag that read "Oh Miss". That made a point to me that I've never forgotten)
posted by janey47 at 7:26 AM on January 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Sheesh, some of these complaints are overblown; the bit wasn't the funniest preflight info standup routine I've heard, but it was cute.

The worst inflight "entertainment" I was subjected to was on a terrible ATA Airlines flight. We'd been grinding through a turbulence-filled ride when the attendants decided that the thing to perk everyone up was to hold a lottery for a bag full of chintzy prizes. As we rocked and bounced through the air in a nauseating, teeth-rattling fashion, they walked the aisles cheerfully handing out little scrap paper tickets. I white-knuckled the armrests and reflected that this particular moment seemed like the wrong one to play a game of chance.

But I still felt pretty good about living out a moment from Laurie Anderson's "New Jersey Turnpike".
posted by informavore at 7:32 AM on January 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


As a former resident of Texas, I probably flew SWA more than I drove my car. And I actually enjoyed the banter when it was done right.

My favorite, ever, was a male FA who, during the safety lecture, managed to handle the whole seatbelt thing with these abbreviated martial-arts gestures (think nunchuks without actually endangering anyone) that ended up with the seat belt wrapped around his forehead and a totally serious-ninja expression on his face.

I could not stop laughing.

My other favorite, regarding oxygen masks, "If you're traveling with more than one child, determine which one has more potential and place the mask on that child first."

Since the AirTran acquisition, they've gotten a little drier. I think it depends entirely on the crew that day.

Note: SWA's HR department - and this is covered in the book "Nuts!" - looks for these entertaining/amusing qualities in their flight crews. Personality is a huge part of getting hired there, or at least it was in the days of Colleen Barrett and Herb Kelleher running the airline.
posted by Thistledown at 7:35 AM on January 6, 2015


I'm a jaded frequent flyer... and I'd rather have the Southwest attempt at humor and fun than the sheer oppressive and humorless misery that is pretty much every flight I've ever taken on United.
posted by TwoStride at 7:44 AM on January 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


On the other hand, to paraphrase Edward Tufte, when you are presenting information, you should always do whatever it takes to get the information across.

I feel that goal is at odds with a delivery of information so rushed that the maker of the attached video felt the need to devote two-thirds of the screen space to a transcription of what was mumbled.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:02 AM on January 6, 2015


I don't need to hear your safety "information." I've flown on 73's probably 200+ times in the last 20 years.

I haven't. If I'm on a plane with you and it starts crashing, will you rescue me since you're such an expert?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:06 AM on January 6, 2015 [7 favorites]


as soon as the plane stops everyone stands, as if they're actually going to go somewhere in the next ten minutes
I'd guess they're just happy to stretch their legs, but even "everybody's worried about pulmonary embolism risk" strikes me as a more likely theory than "nobody except us smart people remembers how long disembarking takes".
posted by roystgnr at 8:13 AM on January 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


If I'm not going to be attended to by flight attendants who arrive in Braniff hairdo-helmets or who pluck my floating pen out of the air and return it to me while I'm relaxing on the Clavius Base run, I should damn well at least be amused, even amateurishly.

If attention can be drawn to safety procedures by any means whatsoever, all the better, and I do say that as a former contractor to the NTSB who reads the plane-specific instructions on each and every flight, because the last thing I want to do as I'm trying to swim out of a swiftly sinking jet somewhere west of Marina Del Rey is to fight with a tangle of drownylegs thrashing around the fuselage because a plane full of cooler-than-thou dipshits all panicked and yanked the inflate cords on their life preservers while they were still on the plane and consequently floated straight to flailing deaths at the top of the cabin.
posted by sonascope at 8:15 AM on January 6, 2015 [7 favorites]


Oh, and another little game I play in my head at this-is-the-buckle time is trying to give myself the brief just beforehand with all the right bits in the right order. Then check against delivery. It's surprisingly difficult, even when my backside has been gracing a lot of fabric at FL320, and helps get me out of the "Nah, I know this shit, leave me TF alone" frame of mind. It also, I hope, reinforces the memory, because I don't know how I'll actually react if things do go pear-shaped.

Not that I expect anything of the sort. A less-nervous flier you couldn't find. I trust the numbers. Hell, I don't even get uncomfortable in helicopters or my friend's tiny Cessna, and I know the numbers there too...
posted by Devonian at 8:36 AM on January 6, 2015


I flew 40+ flights on Southwest last year, and thankfully I only got a "cute" flight crew 2 or 3 times.
posted by sideshow at 9:10 AM on January 6, 2015


Ah, the glamour of air travel. Can you, can you maybe just push your elbow forward a little bit? Thanks.

I don't think people are really that angry at a stewardess trying to have a little fun with her job. I think the real issue is that the gap between business class and the rest of us is one of those places where class differences are immediately and palpably manifest in America. Airlines are forcing us to recognize it when through most of our everyday life we do our best to look away, to look in any other direction. And the truth is, there isn't much they can do to make the first class experience much better, so, their other option is to make it incrementally worse for the rest of us. That's what really rankles about air travel.
posted by newdaddy at 9:13 AM on January 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


And the truth is, there isn't much they can do to make the first class experience much better, so, their other option is to make it incrementally worse for the rest of us. That's what really rankles about air travel.

In many cases this may be true but Southwest doesn't have business class, although if you pay an extra amount (maybe $15?) you can board early and get a complimentary drink.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 9:20 AM on January 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


Followed by hooting and whistling at the end.

Exactly, it gets worse. Nothing I want more in a tight, crowded flying tube padded with explosives more than hooting.

I haven't. If I'm on a plane with you and it starts crashing, will you rescue me since you're such an expert?

Unless that expertise includes rapidly constructing and operating parachutes, not sure it will make a difference either way.
posted by spaltavian at 9:23 AM on January 6, 2015


shhh splatavian i am trying to make a point
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:39 AM on January 6, 2015


This is the best thing I've seen all week, and I think all flight attendants should be former Disneyland Jungle Cruise skippers.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:48 AM on January 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


I have a flight with Qantas tomorrow, travelling with two toddlers. Something tells me this journey will be quite different...

Damn right when it comes to Qantas, you could end up in the drink!
posted by ReeMonster at 9:52 AM on January 6, 2015


You know, I travel almost exclusively Southwest for work (and I mean on Southwest flights, not AirTran), and when we've gotten a flight crew like this, I've always felt lucky. It's only a few minutes, so sitting through that really isn't substantially worse than anything else you're going to do that day if it's not your thing, and I think it does a great job of humanizing the crew, putting people in a more receptive frame of mind, and just making the whole thing less of a grim slog.

And whether it's the awkward goodbye song a flight attendant sang to us on the way into Chicago one morning, or the frankly amazingly risque patter we had from the crew on a flight into Las Vegas on a Friday night, I remember Southwest flights much more vividly (in a positive way) than I do any other airline. And now people post this stuff on YouTube. You can't buy that kind of publicity. I think it's campy and brilliant.
posted by bowtiesarecool at 9:53 AM on January 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


Virgin American airlines safety video rap

1980s style

It does seem "how do we make this not-boring?" is something airlines will experiment with a lot.
posted by RobotHero at 9:57 AM on January 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


the way i see it, all of that banter is just a nice cover for that one moment where she basically says 'and don't be an asshole' in the nicest possible way. judging from the way most folks in here are reacting, it's not doing her much good.
posted by OHenryPacey at 10:04 AM on January 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


I just flew Southwest on Sunday and got a few chuckles out of our attendants' safety speech:

"If you don't like the service on this flight, there are 4 exit doors on this plane..."

"[Usual life vest info about yanking the cord to inflate] -- overachievers, feel free to inflate the vest yourself using the red tube."

"In the event of cabin pressure loss, we have a matching accessory for you -- oxygen masks!"

I've flown a LOT and the quippy safety announcements on Southwest are so much easier to bear than the regular droning routine other airlines do.
posted by phatkitten at 10:08 AM on January 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


The Southwest patter is cute. I don't mind it. As an annoyance of modern flying, it definitely ranks near or at the bottom.
posted by blucevalo at 10:25 AM on January 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


My husband and I took a United (or was it American...one of the big names) to HI back in 2005 and it was around the time one of them was laying off workers. NONE of the workers on that plane were happy at all. Not a hello, not a smile...nothing. It looked like they could care less if the plane went down and hope it did because they must have had parachutes on. Anyway, during the safety schpeel, the attendant (and I shit you not) said, "And here is our required safety talk, but since no one listens to it anyway, I'm skipping it."

I was taken aback thinking "well glad you care so much and um..isn't it required that you give the schpeal?"

I never felt so unsafe on a plane in my life than dealing with uncaring attendants. We all have bad days and we all have worked for a crappy company but come on, when your job is keeping others safe, you must at least do the bare minimum of safety announcements/checks. Otherwise just don't show up.
posted by stormpooper at 10:28 AM on January 6, 2015


I fly way, way too much. I don't mind this kind of humor. Even when I don't find it funny, it doesn't anger me. The main reason I don't like flying southwest is their general admission seating system, and the lack of any extra legroom seats (let alone first class). I realize that most travelers don't get to use those, and I sound like an elitist asshole for wanting them. But when you're on your eighth flight of the month, it's nice to know that you've locked in a seat near the front with better legroom (and have a small chance at an upgrade), rather than having to pray to the southwest gods that you end up early enough in line to get an exit row. Note, even paying extra for early bird or business select is far from a guarantee of getting a good seat. Many southwest flights have continuing passengers who are allowed to stay on the plane. I've literally been the first person to board and found all of the exit rows taken. It's just one more added stressor to an already stressful process. I fly enough that I have status on American and United, and I basically never have to stress about having a reasonable seat.
posted by primethyme at 10:35 AM on January 6, 2015


I flew on SWA from DEN to IAD on Sunday.

Hands-down, Southwest has the best (and happiest) employees out of any airline that I've flown on. Unlike any of the other major carriers, I don't get sneered at for flying coach, and the employees actually seem to enjoy their jobs.

There was a huge line to check bags when I arrived for my flight -- one of the employees stationed along the line told me that it'd be a ~40 minute wait. The line stretched all the way around the checkin area, so I found this estimate to be wildly optimistic -- there were easily several hundred people ahead of me.

25 minutes later, my bags were checked, and the attendant helpfully pointed me to the security line with the shortest wait.

Southwest had about 30 checkin counters open, and about as many employees standing along the line, ensuring that everything ran smoothly. They clearly had anticipated a busy travel day, and had the situation under control. I don't think I heard a single person in the line complain about the wait or crowds.

Southwest's boarding process.... gets a lot of flak, but I'm increasingly convinced that it's vastly more efficient than the alternatives (I swear, American and United call about 10 "special/entitled" boarding groups before even getting to the letters). The fee to board at the head of the line is an eminently-reasonable $12. At all times, I knew exactly where my position was in line, so there was no need to crowd the gate.

The flight itself was uneventful. My seat was big enough. There was plenty of space to stash my coat in the overhead bin. I got a free drink and some snacks. In-flight iMessage access only cost $2. If you fly with SWA on a federal holiday, they'll give you a free beer.

tl;dr; If you're an airline, and want to build consumer confidence and reputation, treat your employees well, treat all of your customers well, and resist the urge to nickle-and-dime your customers for things that can be inexpensively provided for free. Southwest is not the perfect airline, but they're apparently the only ones who seem to care about people like me.

Wealthy/business travelers are already a captive audience -- airlines don't need to compete for their attention, especially when it (blatantly) comes at the expense of everyone else.
posted by schmod at 10:51 AM on January 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


If Metafilter users ran an airline it would be completely eco-friendly, because it would be powered on brittle grouchiness and condescension.
posted by en forme de poire at 11:21 AM on January 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


For a while Southwest didn't have joking spiels and I assumed it was because they needed to be ALL SERIOUS in a SERIOUS POST 9/11 WORLD or something. We need more people who can get on a mic and say "We have two smoking sections on this plane, one outside on either wing--and if you can light it, buddy, you can smoke it."

Used to fly through Nashville regularly when I flew SWA. The take-off out of Nashville can be steep as hell; the SWA attendants would react to this by announcing "Snack time!" and rolling peanut packets down the aisle.

Can't hate on that, I can't.
posted by Spatch at 12:20 PM on January 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


I thought it was funny. But then again, I'm not on a plane.
posted by Splunge at 1:54 PM on January 6, 2015


ricochet biscuit: "I feel that goal is at odds with a delivery of information so rushed that the maker of the attached video felt the need to devote two-thirds of the screen space to a transcription of what was mumbled."

Here's the video description, as posted by the YouTube uploader:

"This is the full text version of this very funny but whip-speedy monologue of the Southwest flight attendant who got on the Ellen Show in April of 2014. I do this version for my deaf friends because the automatic closed captioning on the other videos is no good."
posted by Bugbread at 2:34 PM on January 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


I really don't get all the hate. Personally, I don't think the safety spiel is very important. I can get all that info out of the safety card in a lot less time and I've been on a plane before so I basically just check to see where the nearest exits are. But the FAA requires them to give the spiel so I am totally okay with them trying to have some fun with it. Looking at it from the crew's perspective, they can all probably recite the standard version in their sleep. Instead, they get to give a more entertaining version and they get several fresh audiences everyday.

The seating thing is the only part I don't like. If I had it my way, I'd be the last one on and the first one off on every flight so I often pay the fee and take a seat in the front row and then gleefully ignore the various "now boarding group X" announcements until the line at the gate is really short.

...as soon as the plane stops everyone stands, as if they're actually going to go somewhere in the next ten minutes.

Well, if you have an isle seat and are more able bodied than most, you should be getting your carry-on down from the overhead bin and getting down anyone else's stuff that you can reach. Every time I'm ready to get off the damn plane and I have to wait for the people in front of me to get their stuff down when they could have taken care of that any time in the last 20 minutes, I start contemplating murder.
posted by VTX at 3:17 PM on January 6, 2015


The most effective way to get me to pay attention to the safety spiel is the way Air Canada mixes the English and French messages so that you hear an English sentence, followed by the equivalent in French. I pay very close attention trying to see how much of the French message I can still understand and marveling at the precise vocabulary the French message uses for various things.
posted by Space Coyote at 3:23 PM on January 6, 2015


Bugbread: "This is the full text version of this very funny but whip-speedy monologue of the Southwest flight attendant who got on the Ellen Show in April of 2014. I do this version for my deaf friends because the automatic closed captioning on the other videos is no good."
He misspelled "history's greatest monster". Truly, using joking banter while dealing with the public should be a war crime.
posted by IAmBroom at 3:44 PM on January 6, 2015


A war crime? Or three minutes of good-natured lukewarm quasi-hilarity?

They're required by law to state the obvious. I'd rather they (at least try to) tell jokes than inform me about my floaty seat cushion all dead-eyed and solemn-like. And if you don't like it you can go to the showers*.

* Bugs Bunny reference, totally not addressing the near-Godwin war crime comparison. History's greatest monster indeed.
posted by ostranenie at 6:23 PM on January 6, 2015


I often pay the fee and take a seat in the front row and then gleefully ignore the various "now boarding group X" announcements until the line at the gate is really short.

The problem with this is that if you, as any experienced business traveler is likely to, carry your bag on, you're not going to have anywhere to put it by the time you board. That's why early boarding position is coveted. It's not because I love sitting on a plane for as long as humanly possible.
posted by primethyme at 7:30 PM on January 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


I am totally in support of something like this and don't get the bitching about it. I'll fly with this lady anytime.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:16 PM on January 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


Frankly, I'd MUCH rather spend a few extra minutes waiting for a checked bag that waiting a few extra minutes on the aircraft. I don't every carry a carry-on that won't fit under a seat for this reason.

Though I'll grant you that pretty much every time I fly it's to go someplace for a week or more and the aircraft that fly the routes I would take for business are small enough that the largest allowable carry-on won't fit in the overheads so they get gate checked anyways. Though it seems to me that the folks who did have to gate check their carry-ons pretty much all had them waiting for them at the gate so I think that would work for me too.
posted by VTX at 6:00 AM on January 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


ostranenie: * Bugs Bunny reference, totally not addressing the near-Godwin war crime comparison. History's greatest monster indeed.
Can't tell if you are unable to detect sarcasm in my hyperbole, or drier than I am...
posted by IAmBroom at 2:37 PM on January 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's not bitter or grouchy to find schticks like this tedious if you fly ALL THE GODDAMN TIME, because while the normal speech is definitely repetitive, it's not as annoying as someone who thinks they're Jerry Seinfeld doing the same jokes you heard three flights ago from a different crew.

Just convey the information and do so quickly, concisely, and clearly.
posted by uberchet at 4:22 PM on January 8, 2015


uberchet: "It's not bitter or grouchy to find schticks like this tedious if you fly ALL THE GODDAMN TIME...Just convey the information and do so quickly, concisely, and clearly."

It's not bitter or grouchy to find it tedious. It is bitter and grouchy to demand that they stop because you don't like it, even though there appear to be many other people who do.

"It's annoying when I have to wait in line at the supermarket. People, just stop going to the supermarket, so you won't be in my way."
posted by Bugbread at 9:12 PM on January 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


It's not bitter or grouchy to find schticks like this tedious if you fly ALL THE GODDAMN TIME...Just convey the information and do so quickly, concisely, and clearly.

Personally, I'm the opposite. When I have to hear something over and over again, nothing is more welcome to me than somebody who does it in a different way. Than again, my ability to tune things out is rather limited.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:05 AM on January 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Just convey the information and do so quickly, concisely, and clearly.

For you? Why? you've heard it a million times cause you fly so darn awful much, so the best they expect from you is some mild grumbling and rolled eyes and 'yadda yadda yadda' to the person next to you cause you heard this three flights ago you traveler you. why not put headphones on and ignore it as the background noise it is to you, experienced traveler. cause the schtick...it's not for you, surprise! it's just a gal doing her job, fulfilling a regulation, and hoping to do it to a tube full of smiles, not know-it-all eye rollers. you think you've heard it a million times??? try saying it a million times. the same way. every time.
posted by OHenryPacey at 1:49 PM on January 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


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