Virgin America Turns Pre-Flight Safety Videos into Entertainment

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

Jon Chu directs Virgin America's inflight

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.