United safety video gets cute

Add United Airlines to the roster of carriers who have chosen “cute” or “fun” as the driving force for the pre-flight safety video. The carrier’s latest effort – Safety is Global – is rolling out now across the fleet and they’ve published a copy on YouTube as well.

Safety is Global

This version features scenes from Paris, New York City, Tokyo, Las Vegas, Australia, a central America jungle-ish locale, Italy (I think) and Hawaii. There are some cute bits, like the kangaroos’ reaction when the talk of tearing open the pouch for the life vest comes up or for the use of infant life vests. And I personally enjoy the origami bit related to the emergency exits from the Tokyo segment. The “unexpected turbulence” of some NYC streets has a certain draw to me as a local. Maybe I’d feel the same way about the “loss of power” in Vegas on the Strip if I cared more about the Vegas Strip.

At the end of the day it is just another safety video. The script is pretty much the same as it has been for decades (minor adjustments made for the new PED rules). There is a new bit about carry-on bag stowage at the end which is, well, new. Hard to know if it is going to help with the bag stowage issues commonly seen these days. And the flight attendants performing in the video are most definitely not actors. No surprise there, of course, but it shows in some of the scenes.

Like pretty much every other safety video I’ve ever seen this one is fine. Nothing all that amazing and I certainly don’t expect that this is going to be the tipping point which changes the world’s view of United Airlines and suddenly makes them a “cool” airline to fly on. Then again, the marketing folks do need to keep busy trying to make things look better while the operations folks try to actually solve the real problems. And a little bit of distraction never really hurt anyone. But I certainly do not expect that this will be a viral craze like the Air New Zealand/Sports Illustrated version. And that’s probably just fine.

[yop_poll id=”4″]

So, what’s your favorite scene? Cast a vote and leave a comment. I’ve got a United Club pass to give away to one of the entries.


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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. What a great video. Voted for Vegas but they were all really good. The Aussie/roo one was clever.

  2. Finally ! I don’t have to see that disgusting Smisek tell me about how CO killed the UA brand and ruined the airline!

    1. Thank goodness you’ve paid attention to how the videos actually work. Because Smisek has NEVER been in the safety video.

      His brief appearance on the screen is in a video prior to the safety video and that hasn’t changed.

  3. I quite liked the video. Took a second to “get it” but it’s really clever. It does a good job getting people to pay attention to the content (which I’m sure the FAA likes) but it also, for me at least, reminded me about how much I love traveling. I voted for the ski gondola, but also really loved the Australian scene. Overall, a fresh take on the safety video that won’t be annoying to have to sit through! (…Looking at you, Virgin America)

  4. I loved Australia and the pouch video. I think this is the first time I’ve found United to be “cute”!

  5. I like Air New Zealand’s video featuring Bear Grylls: “If cabin pressure falls, an oxygen mask will drop in front of you. You COULD use it as a portable loo, but a much better idea would be….”

    It’s in that vein.

  6. Finally a sense of some humor and still get the point across. A reason to look up from the reader. I lime it all but partial to Aussie’s, always great with humor.

  7. United’s safety video – 4:34.

    JAL’s safety video – 4:24. That’s with everything covered in both English and Japanese.

    When will airlines learn that “short” is better than “cute”? Between safety videos, pointless monologues by slimy CEOs, and constant overhead announcements reminding me I could earn more miles with the airline’s co-branded credit card, I’m verbally bombarded from gate to gate these days.

    I neither need nor expect customer service onboard anymore. At this point, I would be content to have them just shut the f&^% up.

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