ATW Editor's Blog

Safety videos: An adorable Air China Panda & a stylish new American Airlines

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Back on to one of my favorite subjects – flight safety videos – and I want to share these two with you, one by Air China and the other by American Airlines.

I’ve just flown four flights with Air China and loved their  safety video. It’s a little old-fashioned in that it uses animation, but this is totally outweighed by their safety Panda, whose expressions, humor and charisma keep him the right side of too-cute. Watch him reading the safety card.

The video is also crystal clear. You could watch it without sound or even subtitles and understand the instructions. There’s a distinct message on not leaving bags in the aisles or taking them with you in an emergency evacuation. I could watch this video over and over; isn’t that one of the best things you could say about an airline safety video?

The other shout-out goes to American Airlines’ new safety video. It’s actually hard to believe you are watching a US airline video; it’s so fresh, stylish and creative. A very clever production; you can also watch this behind the scenes video they made to explain how it was done and the thinking behind its creation.

For all its flair, it stays on message and is very much about the airline’s employees and passengers. The instructions are clear, including a “leave your bags behind” note.

My only complaint is that, in my opinion, there’s still too much time given to explaining how to put on and inflate that next-to-useless life jacket. I realize this is because of rules, but as I’ve said before in my editorials, I think it’s time to rethink airline safety video guidelines. It’s ridiculous to board a modern airliner and have to sit through a set of life jacket instructions that are longer and more detailed than those you are given when you board a cruise ship.

But kudos to Air China and American; and in American’s case, what you are really seeing is part of an entire service and operations scaling up that the company is working through since the integration with US Airways.

Another  note on safety drills from my last couple of weeks flying: every leg has included a caution from the cabin crew to not switch on or charge a Galaxy 7 smartphone. American additionally gives this notice at the gate before you board. This, of course, is because of instances where the new Samsung device has reportedly caught fire or exploded. Maybe it’s also time to replace the ubiquitous video guy caught smoking in the lavatory with a guilty-looking smartphone.

Karen Walker karen.walker@penton.com

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