Now, Everyone Can Fly!
So my brother, Quinton, is now a Youtube sensation thanks to saymawa who posted this video of him making the safety instructions announcement prior to taking off. The AK804 flight was from Kuala Lumpur to Krabi. Since the video's posting four days ago, the total number of views has surpassed 350,000 with about 460 comments on Youtube.
Facebook being one of the main causes of the video going viral has contributed approximately 180,048 of the views. The video has become the latest buzz around Malaysia and Singapore, with commentators wondering if the person making the announcement is Singaporean or Malaysian – as the accent and speech mannerisms seem to border Singlish and Manglish. A number of commentators were skeptical about the video's authenticity, suggesting that the video was dubbed or doctored. However, several attempts were made by my brother, John, and I, to validate that it was indeed Quinton who was making the announcement (we are familiar with his 'script' as he would share with us how he would do it differently on some flights). A few flight attendant friends had also commented in support. Several commentators were fully convinced that the person making the announcement is Chinese. However, a Yahoo News post clarified that it was Quinton Dinesh Thomas who was the voice behind the announcement.
Over the past few years, Air Asia has become the talk of Malaysia. With a recent acquisition of some of MAS' (Malaysia Airlines - Malaysia's oldest serving airlines) equity, the recent sponsorship of Queens Park Rangers and constant and consistent travel deals that send Malaysians into a travel frenzy, "Air Asia" has landed into our daily vocabulary. As a corporate leader in Malaysia, Air Asia takes pride in its innovative approach to serving customers. With the mantra of 'Now everyone can fly', gone are days when flying or living in hotels were reserved only for the elite. This company has proven to go against the grain, only to make possibilities happen for all.
It is no surprise that such a creative safety announcement was allowed to be done on flight. As I understand, the cabin crew is given the liberty to make their announcements lively, while keeping to the parameters of the safety instructions. Their goal: to get the message across. However, there has been some opposition to this non-conventional way of delivering the instructions. The concerns mainly revolve around how the serious subject of safety is communicated in such a lighthearted, jovial and (perceived to be) trivial manner.
While this is worth a second thought, it has to be noted here that the seriousness of this safety demo was not compromised. In fact, unlike the conventional pre-recorded, mind-numbing safety instructions commonly played on board, passengers who have heard the creatively done announcements have responded with rounds of applause, whistles, warm smiles, laughs and strangely, the ability to recall the safety instructions verbatim.
If the goal of the safety demonstration is to merely conduct a safety demonstration, then the conventional method is good enough. But if the goal of the safety demonstration is to inform and educate passengers on taking precautionary measures in an untoward situation and to help them remember those necessary steps in an emergency, then the way this announcement was done really works. I, for one, can now recite the safety measures and even know how to use the emergency apparatus, by heart.
The power of humor, metaphors and associations in communication is vital. It is no wonder why people can easily remember a really good joke than an important chapter in their geography text book. And if they do, there was probably something attractive in the chapter or the way the chapter was taught that made it retentive.
So the question now is, should such creative safety announcements continue or stop? I understand that there has been some talk on this. Well, airline companies and other industries that rely on communicating safety procedures need to ask themselves this question: Is sticking to protocol and formality more important than actually saving a life in danger? I think this article gives you a solution.
Interestingly, this youtube video is making such a huge impact that over 300,000 viewers will now know the safety instructions by heart. Now, everyone can fly.