Next-gen in-flight safety videos

Many airlines are trying to make the required in-flight safety announcements more interesting – and consistent – by producing and playing safety videos instead of making their flight attendants read the announcements at the beginning of each flight. While it is a great idea in theory and has resulted in some memorable videos, it has also resulted in presentations that fall completely flat.

Among the latest is a professionally acted and produced video debuted by Atlanta-headquartered Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) in May. However, even though it is an improvement over having flight attendants – many of whom have never learned to read aloud – read a script and pantomime the actions, it still falls short.

The video, which was billed as “The Internetest safety video on the Internet” by the carrier, got mixed reactions. It was both hailed as the “most watchable” safety video and pilloried as overdone in its use of memes and just plain “weird.”

It is the latest in a series of safety videos Delta launched in late 2012 “meant to grab the attention of even the most seasoned travelers by using pop culture references, surprises and guest appearances – all to communicate important safety messages,” the carrier said.

Virgin America’s current safety video (#VXSafetydance ) is much more entertaining. That video, which was professionally written and choreographed, features song and dance professionals as well as actual Virgin America teammates.

Air New Zealand debuted a video (#AirNZSafetyVideo) mimicking the popular “Men in Black” movies:

Why it chose to go with that theme some three years after the most recent installment in the franchise, “Men in Black 3” is lost on me, but at least it’s more entertaining than having F/As read from a script that has all the pizzazz of dry toast.

The airline has also shown a safety video featuring Hollywood icon Betty White, a “Safety Safari”-themed video and a Hobbit-inspired safety video.

However, none of them have garnered as much attention – both positive and negative – as the video it debuted in 2014. That video, which marked the 50th anniversary of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition, features SI swimsuit models.

Other carriers, including Southwest (NYSE:LUV) have given their F/As a bit of latitude to have fun with the announcements, which can result in announcements that are funny, creative or embarrassing (for those would-be comedians who don’t quite have what it takes) but nonetheless have the desired effect of getting passengers’ attention.

Good on ‘em, I say. And if you have a favorite safety video or presentation, please share in the comments section below. Provided it’s no worse than PG-13, I’ll add it to this post.

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