If you have traveled on a major airliner any in the past 3 years, then chances are you’ve flown with a flight attendant that thought they would spice up the preflight safety presentation with their own humorous jargon. Karen Wood is recorded as the first flight attendant to put her own spin on educating passengers about flight safety rules and regulations.
I’ve typed out what she said on a Southwest flight from Dallas to San Diego below:
If I could have your attention for a few moments, we sure would love to point out these safety features. If you haven’t been in an automobile since 1965, the proper way to fasten your seat belt is to slide the flat end into the buckle. To unfasten, lift up on the buckle and it will release. And as the song goes, there might be fifty ways to leave your lover, but there are only six ways to leave this aircraft: two forward exit doors, two over-wing removable window exits, and two aft exit doors. The location of each exit is clearly marked with signs overhead, as well as red and white disco lights along the floor of the isle. Made ya look! Located in the seat-back pocket in front of you or to the side of you in the lounge area, among the peanut wrappers, coffee cups and newspapers, you should find an emergency information card supplementing our safety features. Take note on the back that in the event of a water evacuation, your bottom — your seat bottom, that is, can be used as a flotation device by removing the cushion, holding the straps underneath it, and choosing your favorite stroke. Please check at this time to make sure your seat belts are securely fastened, seat backs and tray tables are in their full upright and most uncomfortable position, and all the carry-on luggage you’ve brought in is crammed underneath the seat in front of you, or in one of the overhead bins. FAA regulations require passenger compliance with all lighted passenger information signs, posted placards, and crew member instructions, regarding seat belts and no smoking. In other words do exactly what we say! Speaking of smoking, there’s never any smoking aboard our flights. You know what happens if we catch you smoking here at Southwest, don’t you? You’ll be asked to step out onto our wing and enjoy our feature movie presentation, “Gone With The Wind.” There is never any smoking, even in lavatories. Finally, although we never anticipate a change in cabin pressure, should one occur, four oxygen masks will magically appear overhead. Immediately stop screaming, please deposit a quarter, and unlike President Clinton, you must inhale! If you’re seated next to a child or traveling with someone who is acting like a small child, secure yourself first and then assist him or her. Please continue wearing the mask until otherwise notified by a uniformed crew member – yes, believe it or not, these are uniforms! And we do need to tell you that the bag does not inflate, but you still are receiving oxygen. Sit back, relax and enjoy a one-hour flight to San Diego on the best airline in the universe – Southwest. Southwest Airlines is determined to offer Positively outrageous Service to customers.
Once she was done passenger literally applauded, and if they were allowed to stand, would have given her a standing ovation.
You probably recognized some of this as something you’ve heard during one of your own flight experiences. This approach has become very common among flight attendants looking to make this very boring procedural task fun and enjoyable, and there lies the problem.
I think it is great that flight attendants want to create a fun and friendly environment for their passengers by putting a new spin on common preflight instructions. The problem is the spin is gone. What first caught the attention of Karen Wood’s passengers has become commonplace, expected and downright boring. Not only do we have to be innovative and creative in our methods for drawing attention and communicating, but we have to realize that what is amazingly new and different today will be old and boring by tomorrow’s sunrise.