Glacier Park International Airport

Airport songs for safety

Like other airports around the country, Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC) is keeping the facilities clean.

The airport is also using signs and floor stickers to encourage passengers to remember to keep their distance and wear face coverings.

Now, SJC is also getting even more creative with getting those messages out.

The airport has enlisted Santa Cruz-based singer/songwriter artist Nick Gallant to write and record three original songs to remind passengers and employees what they can and should do to keep things safe.

The ditties are catchy.

And you’ll have plenty of time to learn them by heart. Each song is being played throughout the Airport’s terminal buildings once an hour on a 20-minute cycle.

Give a listen:

FlySJC · SJC Go Somewhere Safely

Why play safety songs in an airport?

“By now our travelers and employees know what they need to do to keep each other safe while traveling,” said SJC Assistant Director of Aviation Judy Ross, “So the challenge for us was to find a unique, engaging way to remind everyone to stay vigilant.”

Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC) isn’t the first to have safety songs to remind passengers to pay attention to the rules.

Way back in 2011, Montana’s Glacier Park International Airport (FCA) was running a video of a local band named The Singing Sons of Beaches to remind passengers of the rules and routines required at the TSA checkpoint.

The “bonus reminders” aren’t always songs.

Over the years McCarran International Airport Airport (LAS) in Las Vegas has enlisted celebrities to create instructional reminder videos as well.

A Montana airport’s fun checkpoint video

Next time you’re standing in line at an airport security checkpoint, look around to see if there’s a instructional video running to tell passengers how to prepare for the screening process.  If there is a video being shown, chances are it will be a yawner.

But as I discovered for this story on msnbc.com’s Overhead Bin, there are ways to share this information that are lot more fun:

Cindi Martin was tired of seeing long lines at the security checkpoint at Glacier Park International Airport in Kalispell, Mont. And even though she’s the airport director, Martin felt her hands were tied. “I cannot tell TSA officers to work faster or change protocol to help streamline the process,” she said.

What she could do was change things outside the checkpoint. So she asked a popular local band that often performs parodies to put together a peppier version of the rather dry Transportation Security Administration video now shown to passengers at the checkpoint.

“We took the TSA video home. And, oh my gosh, it is the most boring sort of government video we’re all used to seeing,” said Steve Riddle, who performs with Nick Terhaar and Greg Devlin as the Singing Sons of Beaches.

The band began working on a song that included all the information in the TSA video. “Things like knives, liquids, scissors, belts and shoes off, etc.,” said Riddle. “We used it all. And we made it rhyme.”

And they made it funny, with a catchy beat.

Dressed in shorts and flowered shirts, band members sing instructions (“No guns or knives or pepper spray, no sharp pointy scissors on the flight today”) and are shown trying to take a shotgun, a six-shooter, a meat cleaver, a giant pair of clippers, a cartoon-style bomb and other forbidden items through the checkpoint. A TSA officer – a real one who was standing by when the airport terminal closed for filming – has a cameo as a finger-wagging screener.

“We are aware of this local video created by the airport and approve of the travel tips provided to prepare passengers for screening,” said TSA spokesperson Greg Soule.

The video now plays on a continuous loop at the airport, along with the original TSA video.

“I’m getting calls from people who are driving out to the airport, paying to park and going in just to watch the video,” said Riddle.

Glacier Park International Airport may have the most danceable checkpoint video, but it’s not the first to offer travelers something a bit different to look at.

In 2004 and 2005, McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas worked with local partners to create a 13-part TSA-approved, pre-checkpoint video series that features Las Vegas performers offering checkpoint tips. Included in the series are Wayne Newton, Rita Rudner, Carrot Top, the Blue Man Group, an Elvis impersonator, clowns from Cirque du Soleil, and Wolfgang Puck. You can watch those videos here.