Airline safety videos have been around as long as in-flight entertainment systems but have really only taken off in the last years. They're also ridiculously hard to get right. Because they're delivering what could possibly be the driest, most boring content that everyone thinks they've heard a million times before, they have to be interesting enough so people actually watch them, and also appeal to the widest possible demographic. That's why good airline safety videos are so rare.
The latest comes from British Airways, who on Tuesday released a six-minute short featuring some of the country’s best-known actors and comedians, including Ian McKellen, Gordon Ramsay, Thandie Newton and Rowan Atkinson.
The airline roped in American director Jon M.Chu (Step Up 2, Step Up 3D) and a team of renowned choreographers, producers and dance stars to give their safety video a full blown makeover. 36 dancers spent 26 hours on set, using 14 different dance style including broadway, contemporary jazz, tango, b-boy and break dancing.
Zach King is a web personality who gained notoriety a few years ago with his Vines, in which he edits his videos to make it look like he’s doing magic and creating illusions. Turkish Airlines adapted his approach for this safety video.
A woman in a flight attendant’s uniform delivers the safety message in French and English as five stylish women act out the instructions or hold props with flair. Set to a song by American electronic duo Glass Candy, it may be the only in-flight video to suggest that a seatbelt is a fashion accessory.
Set design and choreography are what make this one from American stand out, particularly in its opening section (if only there was this much space on a real airplane). It’s full of little surprises throughout, like arm rests that turn into human arms and hands, and the synchronized movements and beat makes for a pleasingly hypnotic viewing experience.