When it comes to in-flight safety videos, it is an airline's responsibility to convey all the necessary safety information to passengers who may or may not have watched the same video a thousand times before. But, as an FAA spokesman recently told the New York Times, "We specify the ‘what,’ and it’s up to the air carriers to determine the ‘how.’” As you'll see in the clips below, some airlines manage the job better than others:
Delta: Fans of robots, miniature suitcases, and triplets in matching outfits will find plenty to love about this smart, slightly absurd clip, released in November 2012 by Atlanta-based Delta. Of course, the most-talked about part of the video is a cameo by "Deltalina," the airline's unofficial celebrity flight attendant (and Angelina Jolie lookalike, hence the nickname) who caused their 2008 video to become one of the most-watched videos on YouTube. (For extra laughs, the Safety Video Outtakes are worth a watch too.)
Air New Zealand: Richard Simmons flailing about in front of a crew of spandex-wearingbackup dancers probably makes this one of the most attention-grabbing videos in the history of airline safety. Then again, after a series of recent cameos by hobbits, Modern Family's Ed O'Neill, and even members of the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team, we'd expect just about anything from the creative minds over at Air New Zealand.
Virgin America: We've all seen Virgin America's quirky take on the traditional safety video, but the easy-to-follow, four-minute animation has all the "pretty pictures" we need to stay focused on a rote PSA. Our favorite character? The buck-toothed nun playing video games in her seat; if only everyone was that happy to comply with in-flight safety rules!
Southwest: Southwest may be at the top of its game when it comes to cheap airfares in the US, but it's this lo-fi video of a flight attendant delivering his safety speech in rap form that really won our hearts. Watch, and try not to laugh, as the entire cabin claps along to lines like "If you have a seat on a row with the exit/We're gonna talk to you, so you might as well expect it."
Sri Lankan Airlines: And while we're talking animation, we can't end this list without a mention of Sri Lankan Airlines' impressive 3D masterpiece, created by graphic design firm AB Design (a voiceover-free version is pasted above). Subtle touches, like the expression on characters' faces, or the morning light beaming through cabin windows, almost put it level with the rest of the in-flight movies. Almost.