July 31--Chicago-based United Airlines is rolling out a new inflight safety video aimed at getting passengers' attention back on course.
Because the attention of airline passengers is often diverted to their smartphones, tablet computers and e-readers during the inflight safety demonstrations, the new video is meant to be humorous and clever to recapture their interest, said Charlie Hobart, a United spokesman.
"Safety is our top priority, and we are looking for interesting ways to capture our passengers' attention during the safety announcements, especially as personal electronic device usage increases and fewer people are paying attention -- so we're taking a fresh approach to our safety video," Hobart said.
Late last year, the Federal Aviation Administration gave airlines permission to allow passengers to use personal devices during the whole flight. Previously, devices had to be turned off when the aircraft operated at less than 10,000 feet.
The airline's new safety video shows real United employees performing the safety demonstration from various places around the world, with its signature tune, "Rhapsody in Blue" by George Gershwin, playing in the background. A flight attendant demonstrates a safety buckle from the back seat of a cab, and kangaroos seem to cringe at the thought of ripping open the seat pouch containing the life vest.
"We're taking an approach of sophisticated humor that reflects our brand," Hobart said.
The new safety video began rolling out over the past week on a limited number of aircraft and on Friday will be featured all planes with passenger video monitors. "If there's a video screen on the aircraft, it will have this video playing as the safety demonstration video," Hobart said.
The video is not used on United Express regional jet service and on some mainline Airbus aircraft that don't have monitors but let passengers use their personal devices as video screens to stream entertainment video. Flight attendants will continue to perform those safety demonstrations, Hobart said.
Delta Air Lines, Virgin America and other airlines have attempted to use humor in safety videos over the years.
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