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Ashland – Oct. 2017
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Making Airline Safety Cool

Airline Virgin America (1280x853)From its flamboyant founder to its purple and pink lighted plane cabins to its uber-chic  red, grey and leather flight attendant uniforms, Virgin America Airlines blazes its own path. Now it’s done something unheard of—making those boring pre-take off safety announcements actually entertaining.

While airline safety videos are important, few of us watch them.

While airline safety videos are important, few of us watch them.

Despite flying thousands of miles every year, I’d never flown Virgin America and a recent flight to New York City introduced me to the super-clean airplanes with purple and pink accent lighting and flight attendants in beautiful sweaters made of red and grey wool or sharp looking leather jackets. But my biggest surprise was when the pre-flight safety video took off on my personal seatback video screen. Suddenly the screen was filled with great looking young men and women dancing and singing. There were sizzling Latin moves, break dancing, high kicks, robot dancing and even contortionists making moves that seemed impossible. The music was hot and pulsing and characters like a young Asian-American girl undulating her body like a snake and an even younger African-American boy sporting a huge Afro hairdo admonishing us not to smoke or mess with smoke alarms kept the action moving.

It’s all fun and funky and I watched the entire video—twice! And I can say that I learned more about airline safety procedures and what to do in an emergency from this one innovative and entertaining take on airline safety than I have listening to hundreds of videos and in-person demos from other airlines.

Both United and Delta have tried to make their safety videos more engaging.

Both United and Delta have tried to make their safety videos more engaging.

Virgin isn’t the only airline trying to make those boring safety videos more interesting. I recently flew on Delta and their video inserts fun little surprises like frogs at the end of each segment. Not quite as creative as Virgin’s effort, but I found myself looking for those little surprises. And United is getting in on the act with their “Safety is International” videos. In this sharp-looking campaign, the airline takes viewers around the world with cool shots of airline employees talking about airline safety in beautiful locales. While, again, it isn’t as wonderful as the crazy, over-the-top Virgin Airlines safety videos, it makes you want to watch it at least once.

I say hats off to Virgin America’s founder Richard Branson and to these other airlines for making important and almost always incredibly boring airline safety information palatable and even something to look forward to watching. – Bobbie Hasselbring, RFT Editor

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Bobbie Hasselbring, RFT Editor

RFT co-founder Bobbie Hasselbring has been a travel junkie her entire life. An award-winning writer and editor for more than 25 years and author of the regional food-travel bestsellers, The Chocolate Lover’s Guide to the Pacific Northwest and The Chocolate Lover’s Guide Cookbook, Bobbie is editor-in-chief at realfoodtraveler.com.