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Keep in mind your nearest exit may be behind you

June 24, 2008

Has anyone else noticed the airlines recent tactic of guilting passengers into paying attention to the safety video?  Do the flight attendants still even do the pantomime routine in conjunction with the video or are they just going with the little passive aggressive stabs made by the people on the video?  God, I really don’t pay attention to those things at all, do I? Although I do hear the not-so-subtle jab at our guilty conscious’ at the beginning of every in-flight safety announcement–hear it, and perhaps feel the tiniest twinge of guilt for about a nanosecond before I go back to reading my book, a trashy magazine (for you can’t read Real Simple or Women’s Fitness on the plane, nope just pictures of gorgeous clothes and accessories or paparazzi-filled pages will do) or trying to figure out the, what seems to be, anti-terrorist lock on the freaking water bottle I just purchased from Hudson News.  Shit, I’ll even read the in-flight magazine detailing the brand of soft-drink available to me at a safe cruising altitude before I watch that safety video again.


Well it seems United Airlines has turned to using extreme aural stimulation in addition to shame in order to force passengers to pay attention to the flight safety instructions.  On my most recent United flight, the safety video was so loud I literally could no longer read.  (Although I could write, hence this post you lucky Internet people you.)  The volume started out reasonably enough, but apparently there were not enough of us rapt with attention watching the United Colors of Benetton actors pretend to blow up life vests on the tiny screens above our heads, because about two minutes after the start, the sound was cranked to rock concert-like decibels. I imagine our little Lemming heads all turned up at the same moment to look at the screens (or more precisely to look for the origin of the offending noise) and lo, the noise (read: volume) went down.  Lulled back into normalcy with proper volume-levels, I assume all of our heads then went back to what they had been doing, that is NOT watching the video. And that is precisely  when the volume returned to it’s previous ear-splitting level and that’s where it remained until the stupid…er…informative video was over.


I know, I know the video is for my own good.  God forbid I trip over someone trying to exit the plane the wrong way*, I mean clearly Row 10’s nearest exit is behind them, but it would be just my luck (and my due for writing this post) that I would trip over that person from Row 10 and thusly impede my progress to MY nearest exit in the event of a water landing (although I seriously doubt any commercial aircraft in use today is capable of actually landing on water. But I suppose that’s neither here nor there considering we all know that landing is the farthest thing from what the plane would be doing in that scenario).  Anyway, I do not think my doctor would approve of the tactics employed by United Airlines. I know that my seat cushion can be used as a flotation device. No, I will not inflate my life vest inside of the plane. Yes, I will help any small children traveling with me only after I’ve helped myself.  I do look behind me and compare the distance of that exit to the one in front of me. I won’t freak out when my oxygen bag does not inflate and I have done enough yoga that I can put my head between my knees in the event of that unwanted water landing.  Just please don’t make me deaf and force you to bring back the pantomiming for my deaf ass.



*But seriously God forbid that I am ever forced to exit a plane other than by jetway or rolling stairway.  Not trying to tempt fate here, just yell back at the on-board staff controlling the volume this evening.




One Comment leave one →
  1. Matt permalink
    June 25, 2008 10:37 am

    Ohhhh – – aural stimulation! I was really confused, and thought, “What a bad idea; I couldn’t pay attention to a safety video with that going on.”

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