United Airlines is rolling out a new safety video targeting distracted passengers

United Airlines is rolling out a new safety video targeting distracted passengers

Follow the rolling ball.

In a gambit to grab the attention of distracted passengers, United Airlines took an innovative approach to ensuring everyone remained focused during an in-flight safety video.

The airline launched The 4½-minute Rube Goldberg-inspired clip features a blue ball on a rolling track rising through the plane.

The ball takes a long journey through the cabin to spot crew members explaining various safety items such as fastening seat belts and locating emergency exits, all accompanied by a fun soundtrack.

Admittedly, “people start to get upset” during pre-flight safety demos, says Meg Mitchell, United’s chief creative officer. He told NPR.

“So we wanted something that made you feel like you could watch it over and over again and still want to pay attention to it… The safest safety video is one that people will want to watch even on their 45th viewing.”

The visually pleasing move comes after nearly two decades of airlines taking a playful approach to the important announcements that are part of the regular boarding process.

United Airlines used a ball on a rolling track in a new safety video for distracted passengers. YouTube/United
One expert believes that distracting videos don’t help attract attention. YouTube/United

one of The most memorable examples That’s when Elijah Wood and Sir Peter Jackson took part in a “Lord of the Rings” video for Air New Zealand nearly 10 years ago.

However, some – including Australian aviation safety professor Brett Molesworth – describe these types of tricks as “very cognitively stressful”.

The UNSW academic believes the end result is no one processing important information – such as where they can find a flotation device or how emergency oxygen works.

“When you start associating or introducing a story or some type of marketing or advertising, you’re only going to negatively impact retention,” he said.

However, Sasha Johnson, United’s vice president of safety, doubled down on her recent production.

United believes its new video will boost interest in the safety features. YouTube/United

“I am very proud of the video we made,” she said.

“I think it strikes the right balance between getting people’s attention. But also providing that information fresh every time so they can be prepared.

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