Virgin America Turns Pre-Flight Safety Videos into Entertainment

Jon Chu directs Virgin America's inflight

Airline turns to Jon M. Chu to direct new video, featuring 'American idol' and 'So You Think You Can Dance' stars to air online and on its flights

As more brands get into the entertainment business by producing their own films, TV shows and web series, Virgin America is showing that even the mundane safety video some airlines show on their planes can be fun to watch.

Virgin Produced, Richard Branson’s entertainment arm, turned to “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” and “Step Up” franchise director Jon M.Chu to produce a new short, entitled “VX Safety Dance,” that stars dancers, singers and choreographers from “American Idol” and “So You Think You Can Dance” and features the talent telling viewers how to buckle their seat belts and what to do in case of emergencies.

The dance moves were choreographed by Jamal Sims and Christopher Scott.

The short (see a making-of video below) is being touted by the airline as the first domestic safety video set entirely to music and performed in dance.

In addition to airing the video on its flights in November, Virgin America has also released it on Google Play, YouTube and on digital billboards across Times Square including the American Eagle billboard.

The airline already had been having fun with safety videos through a snarky animated short it’s been airing since 2007. It’s become a cult favorite for passengers, the airline said, and because of that will still feature it on its Red-branded inflight entertainment system.

“We knew how much our guests loved the fun and irreverence of our current video, but after six years we wanted to give them something unexpected, a fresh take on what a safety video could be and even a chance to be a part of it, literally” said Jesse McMillin, creative director at Virgin America.

Virgin America is now auditioning dancers to appear in follow up safety videos.

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  1. Krystal says:

    The Surface commercial Jon M. Chu directed last year was really great, too.
    (Also want to point out real quick that the movies he directed was called “Step Up,” not Step It Up.)

  2. Mike Primo says:

    After 6 years of continuous violations of the US Air Carrier Access Act, which requires video safety briefings to be opened captioned and accessible to passengers with hearing impairments, Virgin was fined by the DOT for its use of a safety video without captions. Within a month, this fun and engaging safety video was produced which includes captions.

    Too bad Virgin did not do the right thing and comply with the law with a captioned video in the beginning. This is a case of artistic creativity prompted by compelled enforcement of the airline safety laws.

  3. lora peacey wilcox says:

    well done Virgin; what we would expect of them! still like the Thompson kids safety video; best yet.

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