Safety videos

Spider-Man & friends appear in United Airlines safety video

Spider-Man weaves through United Airlines’ newest safety video

Spider-Man poses with United Airlines employees who appear in the new safety demonstration video – courtesy United Airlines

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For a story on USA TODAY, I was invited to be on set during part of the filming for United Airlines’ new safety demonstration video featuring Spider-Man – and friends.

Here’s the story, And the video.

“Spider-Man: Far From Home” won’t be in movie theaters until July 2 but, starting today, fans of the webbed wonder (and of hidden film references known as Easter eggs) will be able to see Spider-Man in action in United Airlines’ newest inflight safety demonstration video.

United Airlines, Sony and Marvel worked together to weave the Federal Aviation Administration’s required safety instructions into a fast-paced, short (4:44) film starring Spider-Man, a trio of villains, and some of Spider-Man’s friends.

“We’ve kept the worlds of Spider-Man and United safety separate, but together,” said Daniel Cuellar, Director of Global Advertising for United, “Crew members, as always, are doing the demos and giving instructions, but there’s an underlying fun Spider-Man aspect to it.”

And some cool special effects.

“That’s the benefit of partnering with Sony,” said United’s Vice President of Marketing, Mark Krolick. “We were able to make this safety video with movie theater-style production and effects. It’s not something we usually have the opportunity to do and I think our customers will appreciate the higher production value.”

And, United hopes, pay attention in a world where airlines try to out-do each other with engaging safety videos.

“There is plenty of evidence that learning is more effective when there is play and fun involved, and these videos follow a trend of gamification and entertainment of information,” said Sabrina Habib, a professor of Visual Communications at the University of South Carolina.

Spoiler alert: here’s the plot of United’s new Spider-Man-themed safety video

On the set during filming of the United Airlines new safety video. Photo Harriet Baskas

In United’s new safety video, villains cause trouble at the corner store owned by Mr. Delmar (played by Hemky Madera). Spider-Man happens to be nearby and springs into action. He chases the goons into a movie theater, to a park fountain, and down a dark alley; captures them all; and leaves them neatly wrapped up in a web with a handwritten note for the authorities that says “All Yours! Gotta Fly. Spider-Man.”  

If you pay attention, you’ll notice a framed photo of the late comic book writer and Marvel super hero creator Stan Lee in the store. That’s Spider-Man movie character Eugene “Flash” Thompson (played by Toni Revolori) helping to demonstrate safety instructions about putting electronic devices into airplane mode.

And, while you may not know who they are, some of the extras in the video are people who bid their MileagePlus miles for a chance to be part of the project.

There’s more:

Spider-Man’s alter ego, Peter Parker, has a best friend, Ned (played by Jacob Batalon) who is in-line outside a movie theater when Spider-Man streaks by chasing a goon into the theater. They race by a man walking down the sidewalk, played by none other than United Airlines’ CEO Oscar Munoz.

“Wow, that must be some good movie,” says man-on-the street Munoz

“Yeah, I hear the best friend’s hilarious,” replies Ned.

During filming of the street scene outside the classic Palace Theatre in downtown Los Angeles this past January, Munoz was having fun bantering with the production crew and was patient and good-natured about the multiple takes.

Off the set, there was an upcoming earnings report and the impact the partial government shutdown was having on the airline industry to think about, but Munoz felt taking time to do this safety video cameo was important.

Besides being fun for him to do, “It brings an awareness that while United is incredibly serious about issues of safety and operational reliability,” said Munoz, “Were are the also the ‘The Friendly Skies’ and we want to be friendly and fun. I think this gives us that narrative.”

United CEO Oscar Munoz, Spider-Man and Jacob Batalon (‘Ned’). Photo_Harriet Baskas

How did United Airlines rope Spider-Man into a safety video appearance?

United is not only an official airline sponsor for the new Spider-Man movie; one of its airplanes has a cameo in the film.

In “Spider-Man: Far From Home.” Peter Parker and his high school classmates go on a class trip to Europe, stopping in London, Venice, Prague and a few other places. United flew a 777-200, retrofitted with the Polaris business cabin, to London for a week of shooting.

“There are lots of different scenes of the kids going over and coming back.” said United’s global advertising director Daniel Cuellar, “Peter Parker has one very rich friend who’s flying in Polaris while everyone else is flying in economy. So there’s lots of great footage of the aircraft. And when the kids come home from Europe, they filmed in Newark Airport as well.”

Other tie-ins

United’s “Spider-Man: Far From Home” tie-in goes beyond the safety video and the aircraft cameo in the film. 

Starting in June, travelers in United’s Polaris business class will get a Spider-Man-themed amenity kit, in red or blue, which includes a Spidey-branded eye mask and socks, alongside tissues and other branded personal care items.

The airline is also inviting MileagePlus members to bid award miles for a chance to attend the “Spider-Man: Far from Home” premiere in Los Angeles on June 26 or to use award miles to attend pre-release screenings in seven of the airline’s hub cities.

Turkish Airlines’ new safety video has LEGO Movie 2 theme

Fans of LEGOs and entertaining airline in-flight safety videos have a treat in store with the new Turkish Airlines offering.

Turkish Airlines will start running a new inflight safety video on March 1 that builds on the carrier’s partnership with the LEGO movie franchise.

The new safety video features characters from the new Warner Bros. production, The LEGO Movie 2.

In August 2018, Turkish Airlines debuted a video starring characters from the first LEGO movie. That video got 20 million views in just one month and won a Clio Entertainment Award.

So why not do it again?

This second video features Emmet, Lucy and others from the cast of “The LEGO Movie 2” in starring roles, with LEGO Batman starring as director of the inflight film.

Turkish Airlines reports that filming of the “The LEGO Movie 2” safety video took close to 1000 hours over four months and that filming locations included five different countries, including Turkey, the USA, the UK, Canada and Australia.

LEGO-wise, the new Turkish Airlines safety video features 24,000 LEGO minifigures in the crowd for the Super Hero Cape Town match. Overall, 20,330,795 LEGO bricks were needed to build all the locations in the new video. That’s ten times the number of bricks used in the first LEGO-themed safety video:

Have an opinion on which Turkish Airlines LEGO safety video is better?

Air New Zealand’s new safety video has a beat

Air New Zealand’s newest inflight safety video is out and this one you can dance to.

Dubbed “Kiwi Safety,” the video has a cast of 600 and stars Kiwi actor Julian Dennison (Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Deadpool2), local musicians Kings, Theia and Randa, load of community groups and, of course, airline employees.

The music? “It’s Tricky” by RUN-DMC  and “In the Neighbourhood” by Sisters Underground

 

And because they’re just so darn fun, here are some ANZ safety videos from the past.

Turkish Airlines has a Lego Airline Safety Video

 

Turkish Airlines airplane evidently has a cameo role in the upcoming Lego movie and that has inspired the airline to create a charming safety video featuring Lego characters Emmet, Wyldstyle, Batman and many others.

I’m not sure I’ve spotted all the references yes, but I love that there’s a checklist referenced here of all the features modern-day safety videos seem to have, including celebrity cameos and catchy songs.

Take a look and let me know what special touches you notice.

And while we’re talking airline safety videos, let’s revisit some classics:

 

Travel Tidbits: Cool ANZ safety video, free museums, fun stuff

 

Happy Friday. Here’s hoping you have a great weekend of adventures planned.

Here are some travel tidbits that might be useful as you head out on the road.

Air New Zealand has a new in-fligh safety video it is calling “The World’s Coolest” – becuase it was filmed in Antarctica.

Pittsburgh International Airport gets arty

In addition to hosting a new paint-it-yourself art studio called Paint Monkey, Pittsburgh International Airport has appointed its first artist-in-residence. Blaine Siegel will have studio space at the airport for a year and during his residency he’ll interact with travelers and airport workers to better understand the airport environment. He’ll then produce an artwork that will be exhibited at the airport.

Visit museums free this weekend 

Thanks to the Museums on Us program, anyone with a Bank of America, Merrill Lynch or U.S. Trust credit or debit card can gain free entry to any of more than 200 museums, science centers and cultural attractions around the country this weekend – and on the first full weekend of every month. The full roster of participating venues can be found here.

Norwegian debuts female-driven in flight comedy channel

Norwegian has put together a female-driven in-flight comedy channel called PYPO (Put Your Pretty On), with Emmy-winner Stephanie Laing, that will be available on the airlines’ Dreamliner long-haul flights.  The channel will start with seven comedy sketches, totaling about 20 minutes, with more to come later this year.

Check out some samples here and here.

JFK Terminal has its own website

As a reminder that every terminal at New York’s JFK airport is pretty much its own world, JFK Terminal 4 now has its own website featuring an interactive terminal map, current information about security and taxi wait times, a FAQ section and tourist information. (T4 also has its own Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts).