No Flight Attendants Were Harmed in the Making of This Film
May 21, 2015 9:15 PM   Subscribe

What started as an amusing way to capture to fleeting attention of airline passengers, either with animation (Virgin Air 2007) , body paint (Air New Zealand 2009), elaborate costumed productions (Air New Zealand again, 2012), or sudden viral sensations (Delta Airlines 2008), the airline safety video has now transformed into a production that doubles as a marketing arm by hoping for that elusive YouTube traffic. With the summer 2015 travel season starting the airlines have started rolling out their newest productions.

United Airlines started out the pack early with their global-themed video involving famous places around the world and, apparently, very dedicated UAL employees that walk in public around talking to themselves.

Air France produced a breezy video with a touch of style and linked it to their new ad campaign but still manages to swiftly cover the instructions in two languages in the time everyone else takes for one.

Air New Zealand finally retired the Lord of the Rings theme and introduced "Safety Safari", a new beach travelogue with a safety-minded cast of swimsuit-clad Sports Illustrated models and surfing champions.

And as of yesterday we have a new one from Delta Airlines. This one might be trying just a little too hard, but judge for yourself.
posted by JoeZydeco (48 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
The song-and-dance Virgin America one last year was great too.
posted by reiichiroh at 9:21 PM on May 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


Not to be a spoilsport, but Delta was trying way too hard. It's also entirely too long.
posted by zachlipton at 9:24 PM on May 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


Delta is hitting the nostalgia button pretty hard.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:27 PM on May 21, 2015


... is there a chronological list of all the internet memes featured in the video (that I, as an old, not that old, may have missed)?
posted by Auden at 9:48 PM on May 21, 2015


The verses in Virgin America’s current safety video aren’t so great, but that chorus is damn catchy.
posted by karanlyons at 9:55 PM on May 21, 2015


Delta is trying way too hard here and it's too long. Quickly gets exhausting to watch
posted by Bwithh at 10:07 PM on May 21, 2015


Love the Air NZ Beach one
posted by Bwithh at 10:09 PM on May 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


It is SAFETY information - all the airlines fly the same type of planes, with the same safety features.

Not sure this is bad.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 10:22 PM on May 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also great post to pull the trend together.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 10:27 PM on May 21, 2015


I flew Delta a little while ago. I laughed. I appreciate it.

That said, I'd appreciate one more inch of legroom a little more.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:40 PM on May 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


...Eastern is only as good as your last flight. At Easteeerrrrrnnnnn we earn our wings...every day.

Why is this kind of BS stuck in my head instead of "To Make Your First Million Dollars, simply..."

posted by maxwelton at 11:05 PM on May 21, 2015


... is there a chronological list of all the internet memes featured in the video (that I, as an old, not that old, may have missed)?

There's one in the video description, which I admit was helpful for me. (Clicking Finger‽)

All of this was worth it for the return of Deltalina. I have fond memories of flying out of Atlanta when I lived there and joining with the video and a few fellow passengers in a spirited, coordinated finger wag....
posted by Thomas Tallis is my Homeboy at 11:10 PM on May 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


Delta is trying way too hard here and it's too long. Quickly gets exhausting to watch

Yeah, they have a different video out that's much better, because most of the gags are more subtle and in the background. It felt like the flight attendants were just goofing around, rather than being coached by some meme-addled creative consultant.
posted by cosmic.osmo at 11:10 PM on May 21, 2015


I'd like to think at Delta's ad agency there's an earnest young creative who smiled and nodded their way through one too many client meetings and snapped.

"You want a viral video 'like that one thing you saw on youtube'? Oh, I'll give you a viral video. I'll give you aaaaall the viral video you can handle... bwahahahahahah..."

And now it's on youtube. I'm not sure who gets the last laugh there to be honest.
posted by adamt at 11:45 PM on May 21, 2015 [4 favorites]


The Air New Zealand safety safari is great for actually showing life jackets getting inflated and people jumping into the water wearing them. They've thought to use one of the advantages of video...
posted by andrewdoull at 11:47 PM on May 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


I have to fly Delta four times next month and I'm a little worried...will this thing actually be shown on the plane? It's six minutes long! That's 24 minutes of my life, wasted. Well, if you don't count the six so far.
posted by iamkimiam at 12:01 AM on May 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


I... I just want more leg room.
posted by bluecore at 12:16 AM on May 22, 2015 [6 favorites]


Virgin was doing this even earlier. I was blown away by Virgin Atlantic's wonderful animated safety video back when I flew them in 2002, with its then-stylish cel-shaded visuals, its strangely queasy rhythms, a drowsy tone, and some end credit outtakes.

The verses in Virgin America’s current safety video aren’t so great

That may be so, but "Under your seat there's a life vest / First class / It's below your center arm-rest" makes an unexpected appearance in my head on a weekly basis.

I really have to hand it to them for making three different safety videos that I've never gotten sick of and actually kind of look forward to.
posted by eschatfische at 12:58 AM on May 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


The aforementioned retired LOTR (well, Hobbit) themed Air Safety Video, for those of us who have been ensconced in Bag End, away from the nasty polluting airplaneses. (There was also a second one.)
posted by fragmede at 1:43 AM on May 22, 2015


These are way too long and only the most bored passenger would watch it once. These safety videos should be much shorter to the point. There are basically two pieces of information that will make a difference.

1. Where the emergency exits are relative to where you are sitting.

2. If that mask up there drops put on as fast as you bloody can.

The rest is superfluous. The lifevest is only to make your body easier to recover (the lamp automatically turns on when it comes in contact with water!) and sorry I'm not helping with that. You drown me in the ocean, Delta, I hope you have to spend a lot of money recovering my corpse. Everyone knows smoking isn't allowed. It's 2015. No one needs to be reminded and there are 200 passengers who will speak up if someone tries to light up. They can get rid of those no-smoking lamps in every row too. It's enough already.
posted by three blind mice at 1:53 AM on May 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


The Delta airlines people have weirdly symmetrical faces (NOT SYMMETRICALIST). Serves to trigger a kind of uncanny valley feeling in me. Like those pictures of celebrities.
posted by asok at 2:46 AM on May 22, 2015


I still like the look that the United beach guy has when the bag disappears over his head. Cracks me up every time.
posted by montag2k at 4:32 AM on May 22, 2015


The growing disconnect between how airlines market themselves, and the experience of the actual product they sell is astonishing.
posted by clvrmnky at 4:33 AM on May 22, 2015 [13 favorites]


The growing disconnect between how airlines market themselves, and the experience of the actual product they sell is astonishing.

In one of the Virgin videos they have the airplane seats sitting in rows, but obviously not in an airplane. There must be four feet between each row of seats! If actual airplane had that much space, flying would be a wonderful experience. At least the Air NZ middle earth video had all the actors crammed in like sardines for authenticity.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:14 AM on May 22, 2015


The United kangaroos acting offended by the "tear open the pouch" line always make me chuckle.
posted by HillbillyInBC at 5:16 AM on May 22, 2015


You're sitting there in an airplane seat with nothing else to do. The wi-fi isn't yet working. You're not really able to make phone calls. Maybe you're a kid whose parents just want you to be quiet. "Too long" of a free video isn't a problem.
posted by amtho at 5:19 AM on May 22, 2015


Is that Beavis in the Virgin Atlantic video? And the male announcer sounds like Tim Curry. Got me all hot and flustered there.
posted by ostranenie at 5:38 AM on May 22, 2015


Wow, the Air France one is a joy to watch.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 5:45 AM on May 22, 2015


Thank you reiichiroh for mentioning the 2013 Virgin America one. That was on my list but missed the page somehow. It's really well done. What's also notable about that one is that Virgin premiered it in Times Square, I suppose in hopes of getting that viral traction.

The other interesting thing to note about the new United video (and also what motivated me to post this) was that the producers hid little visual easter eggs in the scenes, ones that too quick to notice and impossible to view on any in-flight screen except the massive ones in first class. It's almost like United wanted someone to find them and post it on the interne..... damn you, Smisek!

I also have a massive crush on that Air France FA but oh god don't tell my wife
posted by JoeZydeco at 5:52 AM on May 22, 2015


You're sitting there in an airplane seat with nothing else to do. The wi-fi isn't yet working. You're not really able to make phone calls. Maybe you're a kid whose parents just want you to be quiet. "Too long" of a free video isn't a problem.

Ha ha, wow. I guess you don't know how to read or sit and think quietly, huh? I hate these videos and resent having them jammed in my face.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 6:07 AM on May 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


These were cute for a while, but they've got a bit of a "skateboarding dad" problem, and as they get cheerier and cheerier they're starting to feel more and more dystopian. The recent Virgin song and dance one just felt like a twenty first century "Don't Copy That Floppy" to me.
posted by phooky at 6:38 AM on May 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


why are you guys leg-humping these commercial advertisements
posted by sidereal at 6:48 AM on May 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


I am endlessly amused by the Delta videos and often find myself the only one on my plane watching and laughing.

Whatever. Im'a do me.
posted by buzzkillington at 6:49 AM on May 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm still into the one from Glamazonian Airways.
posted by Garm at 6:53 AM on May 22, 2015


Four minutes into the Delta video and I'll admit: The tiny burrito hamster putting up his tray table got me. Got me good.
posted by whimsicalnymph at 8:12 AM on May 22, 2015


why are you guys leg-humping these commercial advertisements

Who's talking about commercial advertisements? These are all government-mandated announcements. That some airlines are spending money to make these videos fun and/or beautiful is a minor miracle in this day and age of cramped interiors and paid carry-ons.
posted by eschatfische at 8:12 AM on May 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


You'd prefer the East German approach?

That's a good reminder for me to start working on the "worst" in-flight category, and the obvious leader so far is Lufthansa 2012, which not only finds the Uncanny Valley but builds a cabin there and spends the winter.

And as far as the leg-humping goes, I like these videos. Just watching them now reminds me of great trips I've taken. You've made it through the insane gauntlet of price shopping, ticketing, packing, getting to the airport, making it past the circus inside, and now you're sitting in your seat.

The video signals your vacation begins now. Which is a nice feeling to have once in a while.

It also reminds me that air travel used to be something special and somewhat romantic. It's not anymore, but it's nice to remember.
posted by JoeZydeco at 8:21 AM on May 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


Honest Airways (from this very cute comic series, Itchy Feet).
posted by tracicle at 8:24 AM on May 22, 2015


Goddamnit, I love the French.
posted by desuetude at 8:35 AM on May 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Having done a lot of flying on United before and after they changed their safety video, I have to say that the new video is cute enough that it gets my attention and keeps me watching, which was no longer the case prior to the change. So, I'd say it does a better job. Just getting my attention long enough to remind me of the safety rules that I already know about is a good thing, IMO.
posted by blurker at 8:41 AM on May 22, 2015


We just flew KLM to Europe and had something happen that's never happened on an airline before: since Mr. Conspiracy is blind, we get to preboard when we fly (which for me makes travelling alone a pain in the ass by contrast - what, you mean I have to line up?).

Anyhow, once we're seated and settled, a flight attendant comes over to us before general boarding starts and hands Mr. Conspiracy a tactile map of the cabin layout with all of the emergency exits and washrooms indicated and walks him through it. Now THAT was useful.

Also, cramped as we were on an economy transatlantic flight, the little boxes imprinted with Dutch china they served the food (surprisingly not horrible for airline food) were kind of cute. I dunno, I just felt like there was a little less "fuck you" involved in this particular flight.

Also, Dutch accents just sound generally perky to my ear. Even the pilot's "Cabin crew, take your seats!" had this enthusiastic upward lilt to it.

But yeah, a few more inches of legroom would have been sweet, but impossible at the price point we can afford.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:43 AM on May 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


But unfortunately the safety video was perfunctory, unlike the ones in the post.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:44 AM on May 22, 2015


The Air New Zealand safety safari is great for actually showing life jackets getting inflated and people jumping into the water wearing them. They've thought to use one of the advantages of video...

Interestingly, they also used fewer words and (more importantly, I think) longer pauses. It seemed to be more digestible than the typical briefings/videos.
posted by bonje at 10:26 AM on May 22, 2015


Back in 2004, Independence Air (flying out of the Washington D.C. area) had audio instructions by James Carville and Mary Matalin addressing—and taking potshots at—passengers on the left and right sides of the plane. It was very cute.

...I found a snippet of it just now:
"If you're traveling with a child, a congressman or anyone else who can't act quickly, put your mask on first and then help them with theirs," Carville said during one of the announcements. After her Democrat husband explains how to fasten the seat belt, Republican Matalin chimes in. "James is talking to the folks on the left side of the plane, because the people on the right know how to fasten a seatbelt."
posted by Shmuel510 at 11:11 AM on May 22, 2015


And then she ate a dragon
posted by aydeejones at 11:48 AM on May 22, 2015


I must be particularly afflicted in the head because I love the Delta videos. They're all pleasantly goofy and absurd in a way I appreciate, and I especially enjoy how Deltalina is now a permanent staple of their safety videos. This one might still be my favourite, though. It probably benefits from being one of the first times Delta did a "wacky" safety video, and thus had the element of surprise.

The Air France one is pretty cheeky, too.
posted by chrominance at 3:51 PM on May 22, 2015


I appreciate the way Delta is caring for its owls.
posted by pfh at 8:31 PM on May 22, 2015


The old Malaysia Airlines safety video was pretty regular content-wise, but it cracked me up the first time I watched it because the vocals were dubbed by a close friend of mine.
posted by divabat at 12:08 AM on May 23, 2015


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