United Airlines Debuts New Safety Video

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United Airlines has unveiled a new safety video called “Safety In Motion” in hopes of gaining the attention of distracted passengers.

It’s no surprise that people’s attention spans have quickly gone down the drain with with apps like TikTok and Instagram delivering information and entertainment in bite sized clips. The same problem creeps on board, as most people either stare into their phones or look out the window when the safety demonstration is being played. I’m sure there are a few who still don’t know to this day how to properly put on and inflate a life vest, even after sitting through countless safety videos.

United hopes to change this with its newest video, better demonstrating the safety aspects while introducing a bit of creativity to keep things interesting. The video was filmed inside a life-sized, airplane-inspired sequential reaction machine, following a blue ball as it bounces and knocks open various gates and dominoes, triggering different events as it rolls through parts of the cabin.

Of course the airline has kept consistent by using “Rhapsody in Blue” by George Gershwin, a consistent theme song included in many United safety videos over the years.

United — Safety in Motion

This video included 17 employees from across the airline, including flight attendants, pilots, customer service agents, ramp service, tech operations, the network operations center and reservations.

United worked with the Federal Aviation Administration from October 2023 through March 2024, having them review the storyboard and script to ensure everything was set before filming began.

“The safest safety video is one that passengers actively watch. Our creative concept was inspired by the idea of connection and the many moments of any given day that our employee work groups have to connect to be able to get thousands of flights off the ground and to their destinations safely,” said Maggie Schmerin, Chief Advertising Officer for United. “We worked across the airline to ensure our new safety video clearly and succinctly communicates critical information in a way passengers can’t help but watch – no matter their age, background or experience traveling.”

The 171 variations of this video will start making its way to United’s fleet from May 25th.

My take

When I first saw this video, it reminded me of 2016 American American, and ever so popular 2013 Virgin America safety demos. Creating their own retro spin on this theme, United also incorporated a sequential reaction set up, hoping it would lock in viewers for the almost five minute long video.

Credit: United Airlines

While they definitely get points for creativity, I personally find the video distracting. The blue ball seems to take too much focus away from the actual safety portion of the demonstration, which is a bit counterproductive.

In an age where we could lose someone’s attention in less than 30 seconds, I think United dropped the “ball” trying to be too creative and ultimately missing the mark, especially for a video that is almost five minutes long.

Besides Virgin’s 2013 dance video, I still say American’s 2016 version is still by far my favorite, balancing creativity and conciseness. Delta’s most recent rendition is also another good example, keeping it really simple and showcasing the variety of destinations they fly to.

Featured image: United Airlines

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