Safety – getting your message across

Safety messages are often dull and uninspiring, especially those that you've heard before. Kulula Airlines have found a great way to engage everyone in the pre-flight safety briefing. What can we learn from them?

Listening to the radio on the journey to work this morning the presenters were talking about ‘funny’ announcements on planes, trains, etc.  It reminded me of a plane journey I took between Cape Town and Johannesburg, flying on Kulula Airlines.  They are almost as famous as South West Airlines in California for their wacky safety briefings.  This is just some of the things they said:

“This is called a seat belt. Please put this around your gorgeous hips. If you struggle with this….phew!”

In the event of an emergency landing, you need to be aware of your nearest emergency exit.  To help you, we have put Exit signs on the seats nearest an exit, and the aircraft is smart enough to light up the aisles….DISCO STYLE.  The staff will now show you the exits, by doing the “Macarena”. 2 exits at the front (staff jump and show front exits) and 2 exits at the front (again staff jump round and show front exits), 2 at the middle and 2 at the rear”

“En route to Johannesburg, we fly directly over 2 swimming pools, a river and a septic tank, so if we are lucky enough to land in some water, please use this life jacket form under your seat. Put it over your head, fasten the straps, and pull the 2 red togs. This will give you the ‘WONDERBRA’ effect.”

“If you hear the words BRACE, BRACE, place your head forward between your legs. This will be the last chance to KISS YOUR ASS GOODBYE.”

 “This is a non-smoking flight – if you decide to smoke it will cost you R6000. If you think you can afford this, why are you flying with Kulula and not South African Airlines?”

 “As we don’t have any air conditioning on board we have supplied you all with a fan, in the form of this card (shows safety card). If you want to read more about the safety, read this. If you don’t have one, remember you are in South Africa – just steal your neighbours.”

Now these are all funny but actually gained everyone’s attention and more importantly got the full safety message across.   What are your safety talks like?  Do people switch off or do they engage, especially on the repeat messages?


Image credit: Hansueli Krapf via Wikimedia Commons

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About the author

Dave Dyer

Dave Dyer is a principal consultant within the Operations Improvement team in ABB Consulting. His speciality is in bringing sustainable change and operational benefits to an organisation through the engagement of its people. He hopes to share good ideas and good practice, to inform and to learn.
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