British Airways has finally released a new onboard safety video – Okay, it’s hardly the most important news of the day but it will come as a welcome relief for frequent BA fliers. The current safety video has been around for well over a decade with only minor changes made to reflect new aircraft types or changes in aviation rules (such as the use of mobile devices onboard).
The new video, which will start appearing on British Airways flights from September 2017 is a world apart from the current animated production. Featuring Bafta and Emmy winning actor, Asim Chaudhry, as a loveable but slightly incompetent director, the video plays out through a series of ‘auditions’ for a new safety video.
The airline has managed to bag some big name British stars to appear in the video, including celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, Oscar nominated actor Sir Ian McKellen and Hollywood star Gillian Anderson. Other notable celebs to appear in the video include actor Rowan Atkinson, singer Jess Glynne and actress Thandie Newton. The cast is completed by Rob Brydon, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Warwick Davis and Jim Broadbent.
To say the video features some uniquely British humour would be an understatement. In fact, it might actually be difficult for some international audiences to understand the humour – nonetheless, in typical British fashion the important safety points have been well highlighted (including the need to leave all belongings behind during an emergency evacuation).
It comes as Britain’s de facto flag-carrier is trying to reposition itself in a competitive marketplace by using its unique Britishness as a selling point. With a £400 million investment programme underway for premium passengers, it looks like BA is going for a much wider rebrand over the coming few years.
The airline has released what it calls the Directors Cut of the video ahead of its go-live date in a couple of months time. At over six minutes long the video is already lengthy and there’s more to come. There are further safety details and (celebs) to be added to the final version which will be played onboard flights:
And as a comparison, here’s the old animated video:
BA’s chief executive, Alex Cruz explained the need for the new video: “It’s extremely important to us that customers engage with our safety video, and involving some of the nation’s most well-known personalities has given us the chance to create something fun that we hope people will watch from start to finish – and remember.”
Helping to raise money for charity
But this video is more than just making the safety demonstration fun – it’s also acting as a major fundraising tool for BA’s inhouse charity, Flying Start. At the end of the video, the celebs implore customers to donate loose coins and other money in charity bags which have been left in the seatback pocket.
Flying Start has partnered with Comic Relief, a major British fundraising and charity organisation since 2010. In that time, BA has helped raise £16.5 million to help “children living incredibly tough lives around the world”. The airline gets involved in projects around the world, including Ghana and Nigeria. BA encourages its staff to become Flying Start Champions who take part in individual and group fundraising activities.
But criticised by some…
Unfortunately, the video has still been criticised by some commentators. They charge British Airways with throwing money at big name endorsements while simultaneously cutting back services to its customers. It could be a fair point although it’s highly likely that the celebs involved took a nominal fee as part of their charity efforts with Comic Relief.
Let’s welcome this new safety video but hope that BA doesn’t wait quite so long to update it in the future.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.