Japan Airlines is bucking an industry trend by introducing a hard-hitting safety video that shows the devastating consequences of not following security rules. One scene from the soon to be released video is reminiscent of a recent Aeroflot tragedy where 41 passengers and crew were killed when fire engulfed the plane and their exit was blocked by passengers grabbing hand luggage.
JAL’s new safety video is very different to a trend we’ve seen over the last few years where more and more airlines have introduced in-flight safety videos that use comedy, dance and drama to convey important security information. Air New Zealand is arguably the most prolific airline creating this kind of video, while a newer trend has seen airlines turning their pre-departure safety announcements into tourism videos that promote their home country or route network.
The thinking is that using comedy or a beautiful backdrop for these otherwise dull videos will capture the attention of passengers and get them to pay more attention to the all-important safety information. Most aviation safety regulators don’t care too much how that information is conveyed as long as certain mandatory points are included within the video or announcement.
Those mandatory items can vary slightly from country to country but generally include the location of emergency exits, how to fit an oxygen mask correctly, the use of emergency slides and how to put on a lifejacket.
The problem is that aviation regulators very rarely review what mandatory points should be included so it’s completely down to the discretion of individual airlines to include additional safety warnings – recently, we’ve seen the introduction of information on what to do should a mobile phone get lost in a seat mechanism based on real-life situations where electronic devices have become trapped and caused fires.
By and large, though, airlines stick to the mandatory safety messages and do their best not to alarm passengers or highlight anything that could go wrong… Which makes a brand new in-flight safety video from Japan Airlines so interesting.
Set to be introduced on all domestic and international flights from 1st September, the videos draw on learning from actual incidents that have occurred in the last few years. In one scenario, a passenger is shown being thrown into the air because they weren’t wearing their seatbelt when unexpected turbulence occurs.
And in one particularly hard-hitting part of the video, panicked passengers are prevented from evacuating an aircraft because someone is blocking the aisle while they retrieve their luggage from an overhead bin. The next part of the video shows a passenger damaging an evacuation slide because they’ve taken their bag with them.
The airline said it had taken such a tough approach as part of an internal effort to “rebuild safety and a sense of security.”
Safety advocates will no doubt approve of JAL’s serious approach, although it remains to be seen whether passengers will welcome to new video as much.
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.