Preaching airplane safety with nudity and singing - Curt Yeomans

Someone in New Zealand has done what I used to think was impossible. They've come up with a way to make me enjoy watching an in-flight safety video over and over, and over again.

Who knew that all it took was five nude flight crew members, and some paint, to do it. I'll get into it in a little bit; but let me set up this week's column first.

OK, so if you've eversbeen on an airplane, you can probably attest to the in-flight video being the one thing that drags the flight down. I mean, who wants to start a flight with: "In case this plane is going down in flames, here's how not to die?"

I know they have all of that "do not smoke, do not use your cell phone, and put your meal tray in its upright position before we land" stuff. When you really get down to it, however, the stuff you truly remember is, "if this plane is about to crash, put your head between your legs," and "if smoke fills the cabin, here is how you put on your oxygen mask," or the always classic, "here is how you inflate your life vest."

It is not exactly the most entertaining part of the flight, but there have been a couple of interesting takes on it, that do end up being memorable.

And, that is where the nudity -- and some singing -- comes into play.

We can look to Air New Zealand for coming up with the only approach to the safety film that I wouldn't mind watching again, and again. They had this whole big "Nothing to Hide"/"Bare Essentials" campaign going on last year. It went from the airline's commercials, to its safety video. The campaign featured air ine employees nude, with "work uniforms" painted on their bodies.

The safety video shows four flight attendants (two females and two males) in the cabin, and one male pilot in the cockpit. They rotate randomly from one person to the next, with each person reading off a bit of in-flight safety.

If you're wondering how they can show nude employee's body parts, you can sorta take a sigh of relief. The only normally clothed body part that is shown is the rear end. How do they hide some of the other male and female body parts? Well, if you have ever seen the first "Austin Powers" movie, you might remember a running gag of hiding body parts of nude people behind props.

Yeah, that's how they handled it in the Air New Zealand campaign. It's on YouTube.com, if you want to watch it for yourself.

And, it's a challenge from Air New Zealand to Southwest Airlines, that brings me to the next unique approach to providing flight safety information -- singing flight attendants. There are plenty of videos on YouTube showing this, but Southwest Airlines flight attendants sing the in-flight safety information to passengers.

Some of the performances shown on YouTube include rapping, Elvis impersonations, hymnal-style singing, and an Ethel Merman-inspired performance.

In a YouTube video, last year, Air New Zealand flight attendants challenged Southwest Airlines Officials to bring 10 of their best singing flight attendants down to New Zealand to do the "ultimate smashup" -- a nude (with painted on clothing) in-flight safety music video.

There is a response video from Southwest Airlines flight attendants, by the way, featuring a collection of videos of Southwest Airlines Flight attendants singing their safety instructions to passengers. Alas, a Southwest flight attendant introduces the collage by saying, "We'll do it with our clothes on."

Still, nudity and singing are probably the only ways to get people like myself to watch the in-flight safety film.

Curt Yeomans covers education for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached via e-mail at cyeomans@news-daily.com.