The last thing most airplane passengers want to do is pay attention to a rote pre-flight safety demonstration. After all, it's always the same from flight to flight. But some airlines are fighting back against ennui, producing creative and inventive in-flight safety videos to grab passengers' attention.
1. "BARE ESSENTIALS OF SAFETY" // AIR NEW ZEALAND
In June 2009, Air New Zealand created just one of many awesome in-flight safety videos. Set to the tune “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” the video featured the airline’s pilots and flight attendants delivered the “bare essentials” of safety. The cabin crew were in full body paint that resembled their uniforms and skillfully performed the safety instructions with strategically placed pieces of baggage and life vests. The video ended with the cheeky tagline, “From the airline whose fares have nothing to hide!”
2. "#VXSAFETYDANCE" // VIRGIN AMERICA
In 2013, Virgin America created an over-the-top musical in-flight safety video featuring singer Todrick Hall from American Idol. The video has everything from a dancing nun to an adorable kid rapping about oxygen masks. It’s well-choreographed and performed with dancers from So You Think You Can Dance. Virgin America even hired director Jon M. Chu (Step Up 2: The Street, G.I. Joe: Retaliation) to create the video.
3. "'80S IN FLIGHT SAFETY VIDEO" // DELTA AIRLINES
That same year, Delta Airlines created an awesomely retro safety demonstration video celebrating the '80s. The 5-minute video featured passengers with big hair, scrunchies, jelly bracelets, leg warmers, and the Rubik's Cube. It also featured iconic figures of '80s pop culture, including Alf, Teddy Ruxpin, and NBA great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar sitting in the co-pilot’s seat as a nod to the madcap comedy Airplane!.
4. "MILE-HIGH MADNESS WITH RICHARD SIMMONS" // AIR NEW ZEALAND
Two years later after "Bare Essentials of Safety," Air New Zealand created another great in-flight safety video, this one a “workout” featuring fitness personality Richard Simmons. Clocking in at about 3.5 minutes, “Mile-High Madness with Richard Simmons” featured disco music and fun in-flight aerobics.
5. "TRIP: THE VIRGIN ATLANTIC SAFETY FILM" // VIRGIN ATLANTIC
In 2014, Virgin Atlantic got animated, releasing a 5-minute-long safety cartoon that followed a passenger who nods off during a flight attendant's safety demonstration, only to dream about the instructions in a number of film genres. The airline teamed up with motion studio Art & Graft to parody iconic movies like 2001: A Space Odyssey, Goldfinger, and The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.
6. "THE INTERNETEST SAFETY VIDEO ON THE INTERNET" // DELTA AIRLINES
One awesome in-flight safety video clearly wasn't enough for Delta: In May 2015, the airline kept the fun going with “The Internetest Safety Video on the Internet,” which crammed a number of popular Internet memes—from Nyan cat to the Ice Bucket Challenge to Charlie Bit My Finger—into the safety demonstration. The video itself managed to go viral; it currently has more than 9 million views on YouTube.
7. AND 8. "AN UNEXPECTED BRIEFING" AND "THE MOST EPIC SAFETY VIDEO EVER MADE" // AIR NEW ZEALAND
In late 2012, Air New Zealand created a Middle Earth-themed safety demonstration video to coincide with the theatrical release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. The video featured passengers, the cabin crew, and pilots dressed like characters from the movie, including Gandalf the Grey, Legolas the Elf, Gollum, and Galadriel. Director Peter Jackson also made a cameo appearance in the video, which ends with the tagline, “The Airline of Middle-Earth.” The outside of Air New Zealand’s airplanes also featured Bilbo Baggins with Thorin Oakenshield’s company of 13 dwarves.
It wasn't the last time the airline would feature denizens of Middle Earth: In 2014, Air New Zealand made a second Middle Earth-themed safety video for the release of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. The new video featured cameos from Elijah Wood, Sylvester McCoy, and Jackson.
9. "ARE YOU READY TO FLY LIKE A SUPERHERO?" // PEGASUS AIRLINES
This year, Turkey’s Pegasus Airline teamed up with Disney Turkey and Marvel Comics to bring The Avengers on board their Boeing 737-800 aircrafts. “Are You Ready To Fly Like A Superhero?” features Marvel’s most popular superheroes and villains, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Doctor Strange, Captain Marvel, Odin, and Loki. Some of the safety demonstration video even unfolds like a comic book with panels and artwork.
10. "OLD SCHOOL" // AIR NEW ZEALAND
In 2013, Air New Zealand enlisted Golden Girls star Betty White to host an “Old School” safety demonstration video. Instead of taking place on an airplane, the video takes place entirely in a retirement home resort. The Love Boat’s Gavin McLeod is also featured.
11. "TAP SAFETY VIDEO" // TAP Portugal
TAP Portugal recruited real passengers to perform safety instructions in a highly-stylized set located in a hangar at Lisbon Airport. The production took eight days to complete; the video won the APEX Passenger Choice Award for Best In-Flight Video in 2013.