Pilot program: Filipino stewardesses try keeping passengers awake with dancing safety demoBy Jim Gomez, AP
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Filipino flight safety demo is YouTube hit
MANILA, Philippines — Flight attendants for a low-cost Philippine airline who dance to Lady Gaga to keep passengers from snoozing through an in-flight safety demonstration are the latest YouTube sensation.
A video of stewardesses performing a choreographed routine aboard a Cebu Pacific flight last week to demonstrate safety procedures has received more than 6.5 million hits after being posted on the popular video sharing website.
The Manila-based airline, known for holding party games and singing contests on its low-fare domestic and Asian flights, said Tuesday it resorted to dancing stewardesses to draw more passenger attention to its in-flight safety reminders.
“People hardly pay attention to the safety demo on the ground,” Cebu Pacific Vice President for marketing Candice Iyog said. “The airline was very thrilled with the outcome.”
Three stewardesses in pastel shirts and khaki skirts danced away to Lady Gaga’s hit “Just Dance” along a narrow A-320 passenger cabin aisle last Thursday to teach passengers emergency procedures in case of severe turbulence or a water landing.
A passenger on the one-hour flight from Manila to southern Butuan province recorded the spectacle and uploaded it to YouTube.
The video drew acclaim and criticisms.
“American Idol” host Ryan Seacrest was impressed and included the video on his website.
But a group of flight attendants from the flag-carrier Philippine Airlines frowned on the in-flight show, saying it was demeaning and undignified.
Left-wing legislator Teddy Casino said that while the dance routine may have captured passenger attention “it was obviously difficult to intently listen and hear the safety instructions because of the loud music.”
But the airline was elated and has decided to continue the flight show.
“We’d like to spread the culture of fun — and safety,” Iyog told The Associated Press.
Crew members do regular pre-flight safety demonstrations — then follow up with the musical version when the plane reaches cruising altitude, she said.
In the video, the flight crew members are shown dancing animatedly while donning yellow life vests and oxygen masks and blowing emergency whistles. They turn around and spread their arms to point to emergency exits.
At show’s end, the passengers erupt into applause.
It is not the first time an unusual Philippine dance routine has proved a hit on the Internet.
Several years ago, the central Cebu provincial prison warden organized hundreds of inmates to dance to Michael Jackson’s songs. Prison officials and organizers said the project was part of efforts to increase attendance at exercise sessions and help prepare inmates for release.
Since it first appeared in 2007, the jail dance video has recorded 44.5 million hits and turned the little-known jail into a tourist attraction.
Associated Press writer Oliver Teves contributed to this report.