Airlines have gone to some real lengths in recent years to make their safety videos memorable and sometimes funny. Often they’re just trying too hard. Some carriers like American Airlines have stayed away from this entirely with their new safety video, released by mistake.
Despite all of the effort and money that’s gone into safety videos, it’s apparently never occurred to anyone with enough influence to use Men Without Hats The Safety Dance – until now. How is this possible?
The only example that comes close is one Cebu Pacific cabin crew a decade ago performing it on their own – but this wasn’t an airline-wide effort and wasn’t done as a video.
This one just seems so… obvious, yet it seems we had to wait 38 years from the song’s initial release for it to happen. Alaska Airlines has a new safety video promoting Covid safety, and it parodies The Safety Dance.
S-A-F-E-T-Y safety dance /
We can fly where you want to, we can leave your house behind, but if your friends don’t mask and why don’t they mask well they won’t fly this airline /
You can fly if you wan to ’cause we do safety right, we have air that’s clean and disinfectant machines zapping germs like an arcade space fight /
And we dance, do the dance, everybody wash some hands /
Do the dance, do the dance, while always wearing a mask /
Do the dance, do the dance, no seriously please wash your hands /
Do the dance, do the dance, HEPA filters cleaning commence /
Alaska’s safety dance, Alaska’s safety dance, Alaska’s safety dance…
The video features 11 employees and was shot in an Alaska Airlines hangar over 3 days. A few were drawn from the Alaska Flight Attendant Drill Team. Employees were given a video of the choreography and practiced at home. One Horizon Air ground service agent says he’d never danced before. Everyone met for an 8 hour dress rehearsal, and then filmed for two days in a Boeing cabin trainer and in their maintenance hangar.
The airline sees it as a nod to the Virgin America which was known for dancing and singing its safety tips.
Men Without Hats released their original in 1982, and it’s a protest song against disco clubs of the 80s. Lead singer Ivan Doroschuk was kicked out of a club for pogoing. Disco dancing was done with partners, while new wave dancing was done solo – and pogoing was jumping up and down, it eventually led to slamdancing.
This was seen as a threat to disco, and disco dancers, so bouncers would kick people out of their clubs. The Safety Dance demands freedom of expression. The safety video demands a certain conformity (safety precautions during Covid-19) that we hope won’t last past summer.
I’m told that Alaska Airlines intends this parody video to promote spring and summer travel. Vaccine distribution should ramp up in earnest in the second quarter of 2021, a large portion of the population will have already had the virus, one estimate is that new cases become negligible in summer before true herd immunity is reached.