a group of people sitting in an airplane
Photograph ©2024 by Brian Cohen.

Why Was This Safety Video Filmed In a Theater?

Pull the curtains on this staged safety video.

As with other safety videos, the latest safety video that is currently played aboard airplanes that are operated by Delta Air Lines demonstrates what to do in the unlikely event of an emergency — but why was this safety video filmed in a theater? Perhaps it was filmed in a set that looks like a theater?

Why Was This Safety Video Filmed In a Theater?

I have recently been a passenger aboard several airplanes that are operated by Delta Air Lines this year — including this flight with which I experienced 14 hours seated in a middle seat with no recline near the rear of the aircraft in the economy class cabin — and I have been seeing this same safety video which supposedly occurs in a theater.

Other than have seats and exits, what does a theater have to do with safety aboard an airplane? Also, what is with the standing ovation with applause at the end of the video? Are the people who are applauding happy that this safety video had finally concluded?

Maybe the video was meant to mimic the interior of a future airplane with such a wide body that passengers will sit 30 abreast with only two aisles?

The video was apparently so boring and ordinary that no discussion dedicated to it currently exists on FlyerTalk…

a group of people sitting in an airplane
Photograph ©2024 by Brian Cohen.

…and even though the person who was seated in front of me appears to be working on something during the safety video in the theater, he could be mistaken for being bored and nodding off.

The Right Balance of Entertainment and Important Information

Delta Air Lines arguably led the pack with this entertaining safety video back in 2008

…but it did not detract from the core message, which is one of the reasons why I believe it was successful.

Another reason is that the “musical score” used for the safety video was inconspicuously catchy with its beat; but it was not dominating. A real flight attendant was used as the “star” of the safety video. The humor was subtle but funny. The instructions were not only easy to follow; but also easy to remember. The level of sound was fairly even throughout the safety video. It was simply the right balance of elements which imparted important information — but with just the right amount of entertaining elements to keep the attention of viewers.

How did Delta Air Lines go from a pioneering classic to milquetoast with its safety videos?

Other Safety Videos

Passengers of Gulf Air watched this safety video where children appear to be delighted to see oxygen masks dropping from the ceiling.

Originally officially released in October of 2012, this safety video from Gulf Air is quite boring in and of itself; but two aspects caught my eye which I found entertaining — or, at least, entertaining in relation to the ennui of the flight experience when I flew as a passenger for the first time on a flight operated by this airline.

One minute and 26 seconds into the safety video, the children of the family wave to each other from across the aisle — when suddenly the oxygen masks fall from the ceiling.

Take a look at the faces of the children. Could they be any more delighted to see the oxygen masks drop?

Screen shot from Gulf Air safety video.
Screen shot from Gulf Air safety video.

“Oh, boy! The airplane is losing its pressurized air! Yay!!!”

I suppose this is a way to ease the minds of passengers who have a fear of flying while requiring them to watch the safety video — similar to the replacement in the United States of the term turbulence with the more euphemistic rough air.

Then — one minute and 35 seconds into the safety video — the woman puts the strap of the oxygen mask around her head. The little girl still has a smile on her face during this unlikely emergency.

Screen shot from Gulf Air safety video.
Screen shot from Gulf Air safety video.

Turkish Airways follows a similar theme with its safety video from a couple of years ago — but with the addition of the father appearing to be a timid bumbling idiot who frightens easily.

Air New Zealand has pushed the envelope multiple times with its safety videos. Remember when all of the employees appeared naked in this safety video in 2009? The “bare essentials” safety video is arguably the most effective safety video by Air New Zealand, which has overall done a good job with the innovations incorporated into their series of safety videos.

Another safety video from Air New Zealand features the late Betty White reuniting with the late Gavin Macleod since they costarred on The Mary Tyler Moore Show back in the 1970s. They are at the Second Wind Retirement Resort in a cute and entertaining video…

…but did it really serve its intended purpose of promoting safety aboard an airplane — even though an airplane was not featured in the safety video? Have the safety videos of airlines become too entertaining? Even worse: have they lost their way altogether?

Final Boarding Call

A safety video from an airline should strike the delicate balance of keeping the attention of every passenger — not necessarily entertaining passengers — while helping passengers remember very important information in the unlikely event of an emergency. Members of the flight crew who still conduct safety demonstrations follow a similar delicate balance — and some flight attendants had attempted to conduct more interesting safety demonstrations aboard airplanes.

The latest safety video from Delta Air Lines with the theater as the backdrop is neither interesting nor entertaining, in my opinion — and can be potentially confusing to passengers should an actual emergency occur, as only a very small part of the safety video features an airplane. If a safety video is going to be that dull, then at least use the interior of the airplane itself instead of some unrelated location as a theater.

I certainly would not want to see safety videos and safety demonstrations go back to the days where they were so boring that no one wants to watch them; but should passengers have a choice of safety videos in the in-flight entertainment system for the passenger to be required to watch, as no form of entertainment value will please everyone?

Please let me know what are your thoughts about the entertainment value of safety videos and safety demonstrations performed by flight attendants in the Comments section below.

Meanwhile, please pass the popcorn…

All photographs ©2024 by Brian Cohen.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!