People are reacting with horror to finding out that Southwest Airlines gave every passenger on a recent flight to Hawaii a ukulele and made them take lessons on how to play the instrument at 38,000 feet.
“This would be my nightmare situation,” commented private jet flight attendant Jacqueline on Twitter, with every other being in firm agreement. “That’s gonna be a loooooong flight,” commented Paloma, while KJ said they were “horrified and yet intrigued”.
Southwest pulled off the stunt with the help of Guitar Center who gifted 175 ukuleles to all the passengers onboard a Southwest Airlines flight from Long Beach to Honolulu on September 16 – the Mitchell MU40 Soprano ukulele to be precise, complete with a Hawaiian print case.
Once in the air, Alexandra Windsor and Ryan Miyashiro from Guitar Center led the passengers in a group lesson where they were taught to play the Hawaiian classic – Hello, Aloha. How are you?
Do you think the could instead give me a parachute and open the door for me? https://t.co/or1fqusmZQ— Avios Adventurer 🇬🇧🇿🇦🇹🇷🇰🇭 (@aviosAdventurer) September 21, 2022
This would be my nightmare situation. Add to the list of reasons I don’t fly southwest. https://t.co/M7rBwi3weK— Jacqueline (@jactravels) September 21, 2022
And no, none of the passengers knew about the stunt before they boarded the plane and the lesson really did take place mid-flight. Brandy King, a senior director of public relations at Southwest said the lesson formed part of a ‘Surprise and Delight’ event that is meant to “create memorable experiences”.
“Today’s celebration of Hawaiian culture and Southwest hospitality underscore our everyday commitment to serve and celebrate the spirit of Aloha,” King continued.
Perhaps aware, however, that a mass ukulele lesson has the potential to divide opinion, a Southwest Airlines rep assured us that all the passengers put their gifted ukuleles away after 20 minutes “since they had already mastered how to play”.
Southwest first started flying to Hawaii in 2019 with an inaugural flight from Oakland to Honolulu. Unsurprisingly, however, the airline had to scale back Hawaii services at the start of the pandemic in March 2020 before adding back a slew of existing and new routes to the islands.
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.