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The Evolution of Airline Safety Videos

Safety instructions onboard Southwest Airlines’ new Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Joe Pesek)

The summer holiday travel season – usually when there is a significant surge in demand for air travel – is officially in session, but this summer will be different than past ones. Many passengers are enthusiastic and eager to leave their homes and travel for leisure. For most, it is a long-awaited return to air travel after remaining at home for over a year due to Covid-19. However, because of the long gap and a quickly evolving airline industry that is adapting to the effects of a post-Covid-19 world, some travelers may have forgotten travel etiquette and are not unfamiliar with safety and comfort – two concepts of utmost importance that airlines exercise for every flight and have adopted for this time period. 

Whether passengers are frequent travelers or first-time flyers, safety demonstrations and safety videos are there for more than solely a routine reminder of the aircraft’s appropriate emergency procedures. While several major airlines have adjusted their safety videos or demonstrations to adhere to Covid-19 policies like mask requirements and sanitizing, the videos have evolved into both entertainment to keep passengers engaged and an opportunity for the airline to express its brand or culture.

Cultural and Tourism Showcase

Several major airlines, such as Alaska, Delta, Air France and Air Canada among others, released brand new safety videos to show on their cabin entertainment screens or streaming services.  While Delta’s official safety video for this summer follows the details of the usual safety procedures, each employee has a mask on and there is a brief reminder for passengers to do the same.

However, the Atlanta-based carrier also unveiled another safety video that was taped prior to the COVID-19 ordeal, featuring the Fab 5 from Queer Eye. This safety video included moments of humor, an upbeat soundtrack, and a diverse flight crew, with multiple references to the LGBTQ+ community.

Air France and Air Canada are two of the latest carriers to pick up on the trend for highlighting their home country’s points of interest, while incorporating the safety procedures in the different scenes. For Air France, this meant an opportunity to be chic and attempt to creatively express French culture in an elegant fashion.

The prominent SkyTeam carrier includes two flight attendants traveling from each of France’s popular attractions while using props and background to direct the passengers’ attention to the proper safety procedures on its aircraft. Its new safety video followed the airline’s prior video in terms of dance and lively soundtrack adapted from the French culture. 

Catherine Villar, Senior Vice President for Customer Experience at Air France, said, “With this new video, we are showcasing the best France has to offer in an emotionally engaging way. All our teams here at Air France are ready to welcome our customers and highlight this French lifestyle, which is so dear to us, as soon as they board our flights. We can’t wait to reopen the skies, flight after flight, with safety as our absolute and constant priority,” in response to the airline’s new safety released earlier this year in February before France eventually reopened its borders for the summer travel season in June.

While the French flag carrier grabs the attention of its passengers through stylish and chic characteristics, Air Canada – in its recently released safety video for this summer – chose to present its version of safety and security through natural tourist attractions. Canada is a vast country with lots of outdoor attractions and wooded, mountainous terrain, and the airline captures this in its video.

Clearly, the safety and comfort of the passengers for air travel are important, but airlines have figured out how to attract passengers’ attention for just a few moments prior to departure. Each safety video is a live-action version of the safety pamphlets located in the back of each seatback pocket. Airline safety and aircraft variants are evolving and, as a result, the airlines must adapt their methods to ensure passengers know what to do in an emergency as travel demand surges and planes are fuller.

Benjamin Pham


  • Benjamin Pham

    Benjamin has had a love for aviation since a young age, growing up in Tampa with a strong interest in airplane models and playing with them. When he moved to the Washington, D.C. area, Benjamin took part in aviation photography for a couple of years at Gravelly Point and Dulles Airport, before dedicating planespotting to only when he traveled to the other airports. He is an avid, world traveler, having been able to reach 32 countries, yearning to explore and understand more cultures soon. Currently, Benjamin is an Air Transporation Management student at Arizona State University. He hopes to enter the airline industry to improve the passenger experience and loyalty programs while keeping up to how technology is being integrated into airports.

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