United Airlines has introduced a new safety video that for the first time incorporates some levity into what has been a serious, humorless public service announcement for at least the last two decades.
The video is not over the top like Air New Zealand’s many send ups, but does two things nicely – first, it brings some well-needed humor (cheesy, but cute) to an airline that is fighting a public image problem of being seen as unloving, unbending, and unfriendly. I loved the kangaroos looking up with concern as a FA mentions tearing the under-seat “pouch” (holding the life vest)!
Second, the video nicely showcases the diversity of United’s route network. This is accomplished in an indirect way in each scene of the video, yet demonstrates United’s truly worldwide reach – with service to all continents but Antarctica and an enviable international route map.
Best of all, no CEO Jeff Smisek in it! (not that he was ever in the safety videos)
Safety videos are one thing, changing the tone of the airline itself from “can’t do” to “can do” is quite another, and the safety video does not delve into that. With United finally reporting healthy financial numbers this quarter, the test ahead is not public reaction to the new safety video, but maintaining that profit while finalizing critical negotiations with the carrier’s labor unions that must leave workers (FAs especially) with a sense of goodwill, not animosity. And the matter of on-time performance, general friendliness of staff on the phone, at airports, and onboard, plus handling during irregular operations all needs more work than the safety video did.
I give United credit for a great new safety video. I won’t hide the fact that although United has been a tremendous disappointment of late, it is still my airline and I am rooting for its success – this safety video made my day.
And I am going to do a whole separate post on this, but did you notice the camera? Wow…