Even in the skies, sex sells

Russian carrier Aeroflot is apparently banking on the power of sex appeal to encourage travelers to pay attention during those rote safety announcements at the beginning of each flight. At least many of the male passengers.

The five-minute safety video for the Boeing (NYSE:BA) 777-300ER begins with a slow motion presentation, opening with a close-up of the pretty face and full lips of a blonde flight attendant (F/A). As the camera pulls back slightly, she brushes her manicured nails sensually over her scarf, then moves down to the Aeroflot logo on her uniform, placed where most logos appear: just above the breast.

The camera pulls back as she walks along the corridor – again, in slow motion – then pans down to focus on her high heels in the airline’s signature orange color. Two fellow flight attendants – both identically attired and equally stunning – join her and the three continue their stroll.

About 30 seconds into the video, they’re joined by two of the few men to appear in the video, apparently the pilot and co-pilot.

Throughout the video, there are a lot of shots that focus on the F/As’ legs and several sensual smiles like the one an F/A gives a male passenger who apparently thinks the “turn off your cell phones” instruction doesn’t apply to him. Because she says nothing – just smiles – it’s not clear whether she is going to tell him to turn off the phone or ask him what he’s doing after the flight.

The passengers are all pretty, including the man with the cell phone and the mother holding her infant. She is attractive, well coiffed and manicured, and sporting a ring big enough to stun a puma. A passenger in a hoodie – perhaps meant to represent “everyman”  – sports a trendy haircut that didn’t come cheap and manicured nails on what are clearly not a working man’s hands. Even the kids could be – and likely are – models.

The video is available here.

I enjoy looking at attractive women as much as any heterosexual male. However, perhaps because I have never been on the receiving end of a “come hither” look from an attractive F/A, or because I travel enough to know better, the people in this video are simply not believable. The "passengers" depicted are certainly not a reflection of the traveling public in general, and members of the cabin crews of most airlines don't look that good, either.

Perhaps one day, I’ll have the occasion to fly Aeroflot and will be able to see whether the video in fact reflects its cabin crew members, or whether it is total fiction.

That said, Aeroflot is by no means the first airline to embrace what many men would like to embrace themselves.

Earlier this year, Air New Zealand introduced a safety video featuring five Sports Illustrated swimsuit models to commemorate the 50th anniversary of its vaunted swimsuit edition. The video, to demonstrate “the beauty of safety,” featured Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition veterans like Christie Brinkley, Jessica Gomes, Chrissy Teigen, Hannah Davis and Ariel Meredith, but was pulled early in July.

“A safety video is to alert passengers on what to do in an emergency; it should not be an excuse to objectify the sexualized female body,” read a petition that was signed by some 11,000 people.

You can view that video here.

In 2010, AirTran came under fire for the rendering of a swimsuit model on the side of one of its Boeing 737s. The image was also the result of an alliance with S/I, promoting its 2010 swimsuit edition.

You’d have thought that both Air NZ and AirTran would have learned from the flap Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) caused in 2009 when it unveiled a 737 with Sports Illustrated cover model Bar Refaeli in a bikini on the side of the plane, once again promoting S/I’s annual swimsuit edition.

Sense a theme emerging here? I can't wait to see which airline jumps on board for the 2015 swimsuit edition.

You say 'objectify,' I say 'celebrate'

I think the ensuing flaps are much ado about nothing. Accordingly, I have chosen to post links to the “offending” videos to protest the protesters, who clearly either don't realize or refuse to acknowledge that the images on the sides of the planes or on the cabin screens are no more revealing than what one might see at your average beach or swimming pool on a hot summer day.

Except that, in all likelihood, the people on the planes or on the cabin screens are better looking.

Visit my main page at TheTravelPro.us for more news, reviews, and personal observations on the world of upmarket travel.

If you found this article helpful, informative and/or entertaining, please consider making a donation via PayPal to help support this private project.