I don’t fly much. This is mainly because I don’t travel much and also probably why I don’t do standup comedy because jokes about flying, airports, and airlines are pretty much a staple of standup comedy, although that may be because comedians travel a lot so maybe it’s a case of which came first: the joke about the chicken crossing the road or the evolution of reproduction by gametes? Anyway the last few times I’ve flown I was disappointed that the flight safety talk was a video and not performed by live flight attendants which used to be the standard. I remember the last time I flew and the safety talk was given by a live attendant. It was a Tuesday and the plane was mostly empty so maybe that’s why she decided to add some comedy to it, saying things like, “If the cabin should suddenly lose pressure stop screaming, let go of the person next to you, and place the oxygen mask over your face.” Or maybe she was just trying to keep her job interesting. I learned being a flight attendant can be really boring from a woman I worked with who quit her job to become a flight attendant because she thought it would be a chance to visit diverse and interesting places and instead it turned out to be a chance to visit diverse and not very interesting hotel rooms. Maybe I shouldn’t joke about it because I do feel bad whenever someone has a dream and it crashes and burns and it occurs to me that “crashes and burns” may not be the best way to describe the end of a flight attendant’s career. I should probably save that one for the guy I worked with who quit his job as a professional librarian to become a professional truck driver because he thought it would give him time to do a lot of reading and was surprised that instead it gave him time to do a lot of truck driving, so he went back to his old job even though he didn’t have any more time for reading while he was librarianing, but that’s another story.
Anyway what made me think of this is that some airlines are looking for ways to make their safety videos more interesting so people will actually watch instead of getting in a few more minutes of free wifi before the plane takes off. Not that I’m sure why we need a safety video since if anything goes wrong with a sealed tube traveling at hundreds of miles an hour chances are a plastic mask and a seatbelt probably aren’t going to help you. I know that statistically you’re safer traveling by plane than by car but if your car’s engine dies it’s a lot less statistically likely that you’re going to suddenly plummet thousands of feet unless you’re driving the Zoji La in India.
As for that flight attendant who made jokes during the safety talk, I wish I’d made a note of her name because I bet she eventually quit and now has a successful career in standup comedy.
Here’s New Zealand Air’s new safety video.
I was just on a plane on Saturday and the flight attendant kept dropping her props while the pre-recorded announcement played. Not very confidence inspiring! Now I’m on a boat where the comedians make jokes about being on a boat so I guess the more things change, the more they stay the same!
Well, that settles it. I’m gonna make car jokes on the way to work.
I’ll laugh myself silly. ?
Steve Allen suggested one way of becoming a comedian was to do a running routine of things you see while driving. When I read that I thought, yeah, that’s a great idea–you can do the routine for the cops when they ask why you crashed.
I guess comedians have to work with what they’ve got even though I can’t imagine there being that many possible jokes about being on a boat, or on a plane. A flight attendant dropping her props is something I find oddly reassuring, though–hey, it’s an acknowledgment that she’s human too.
For some reason I want my flight attendants, and pilots, to be completely infallible. 😉
Yeah, infallibility is what I think we all want in flight attendants and especially pilots. A sense of humor helps a lot, though.
Like you, I don’t fly much. But I really do enjoy it when I do. Talk about time you get to catch up on reading! Or, at least, I would if I wasn’t so busy asking the people around me about their homes, journeys, and destinations. Honestly, sometimes, Tom should just shut up and read.
I don’t travel enough to make that change, though. And that’s on purpose. Dorothy was right; ain’t no place like home. ??
I really enjoy flying too. I’ve never forgotten my first flight when I completely, albeit unintentionally, freaked out my best friend before the plane even took off. In fact I still can’t resist thinking of that Twilight Zone episode with William Shatner every time I fly.
And, by the way, you definitely need to catch up on your reading. In, if memory serves, the third book of the Wizard of Oz series, Dorothy takes her aunt and uncle away from Kansas to live in Oz. Home is where you make it.
After traveling by plane for years, I’ve reached the point where the hassle of just entering the airport is a nightmare, and the thought of those tiny, cramped seats, the only ones I can afford, is terrifying. So, I,too, shall shut up and read at home. Thoroughly enjoyed your post. Thank you.
Thank you for stopping by. The hassle of flying is pretty awful and there are many advantages to driving, but sometimes, unfortunately, flight is the only speedy way to get from one place to another.
I flew over here and, boy, are my arms tired.
Over the years, I’ve seen some clever safety presentations on planes. No matter what kind of safety instructions there are, though, I always seem to be the ONLY person paying attention to them, which makes me wonder how we would do in case of emergency. Thanks for another clever presentation, Chris.
Eddie Izzard suggested that flight attendants should get people to pay attention by saying “I’ve got a bad feeling about this flight” which may be too clever. I’m glad, though, that you’re paying attention even if no one else is.