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I swear, if we get told how to fasten our seatbelts one more time we’re going to lose it!
Well, not really, but you get the picture. Airline announcements really make our collective blood boil, especially when they’re longer than they need to be or when they’re played in three different languages consecutively or when the volume suddenly increases to deafening level. I mean, with a literacy rate of 97.9% in Korea, you’d think that Emirates could use Korean subtitles when flying from Dubai to South Korea. Instead, they play 2 videos each in Arabic, English and then Korean!
We know that there are some things that we can’t change, like poor screaming babies, turbulence or stinky passengers that make some flights true stories from Hell, but we’re sure that announcements are something that can be taken control of.
So we’ve gathered a list of the best and worst, the shortest and the longest airline announcements to date. Why? For fun! And maybe it will give the airlines a red face of embarrassment and a wake up call!
Disclaimer: Don’t get us wrong, we know how important airline announcements are, but when you have to sit through a 5 minute video about Delhi in Hindi for the 10th time (when you don’t speak the language) we’d rather pop in a podcast from our ipods.
Let’s start with the most fun
Air New Zealand definitely is number 1 for the funnest safety videos ever made. Here’s their infamous Lord of the Rings take on airline safety.
Or possibly the sexiest airline safety video:
They even got Bear Grylls for this safety announcement!
Some airlines really seem to want to overdo each other in the hilariousness of their safety announcements. Like Southwest Airlines’ cabin crew stating, “There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but there are only 4 ways out of this airplane”. Or this gem, “Weather at our destination is 50 degrees with some broken clouds, but they’ll try to have them fixed before we arrive. Thank you, and remember, nobody loves you or your money more than Southwest Airlines.”
Sometimes, the announcements can also be pretty scary. Imagine being on a plane and hearing ‘Ladies and gentlemen we shall be making an unscheduled landing and steep approach to the airport, the plane is on fire, thank you’.
And now the quickest airline announcement
By far the quickest airline announcement I’ve ever heard was the flight from Pemba to Zanzibar on ZanAir with an outstanding duration of only 30 seconds! We’ll admit that this isn’t the safest way to communicate airline safety but it definitely was welcomed for seasoned travelers. The pilot squeezed into the plane narrow 20cm aisle all the way to his seat, turned around and started with “Folks…”. No need to talk about masks dropping from the sky as we never got to any relevant altitude and no discussion on AC, the air was coming from the outside through small vents. And in case of emergency landing, well, best not to ask but the message was something like “Just open the door”.
A close second was Sky Airline from Montevideo to Santiago de Chile with a very brief announcement of 1min 9sec in both English and Spanish.
Coming in 3rd is Singapore airlines flight from Saigon to Singapore with a total time of 3min (English only). Although that is a far cry from the 30sec Pemba flight.
Longest Airline announcements
We’ve tallied up the minutes and have reached the conclusion that the award to the longest airline announcement goes to Air India. With a total of 21 minutes talk time, this is how the flight went:
The announcements started off with safety. Well, a little bit more than safety actually. This flight decided it needed to tell its passengers how the plane worked – from how to use the toilets (how to open the cover, how to flush, etc.) to how to operate the window cover in a Dreamliner aircraft. And it all played both English and in Hindi lasting 11min 25sec.
The video also told passengers how to get the handset for the TV out, how to know if the toilet was occupied and what to flush or not to flush down the toilets. You get the drift. I will admit something that embarrasses me deeply. After thousands of flights, this announcement finally resolved one of the mysteries of my travel years: how to open the trash bin in the toilet of a plane. Ever noticed the little red lever at the bottom, floor level, of the bin?
There was also a landing announcement of 9min 30sec that included a video about Delhi.
Not only was this the longest accumulated announcements, they were also pretty annoying (minus the bin lever!). All I wanted to do was watch a colourful Bollywood movie and I kept being interrupted with every body shaking and moving.
Most annoying airline to fly
Now we get onto the most annoying airline to fly when it comes to announcements. And the award goes to Emirates airlines.
Now don’t get us wrong, we absolutely love flying Emirates, here’s my review of Emirates A380 Business Class, and some more reasons I love Emirates. The service is impeccable, the meals are great for airline food (kimchi and congee in the air anyone?) and they are regularly chosen as the top airline of the year. But wow, can they go on and on with their airline announcements. I genuinely thought they would win and secretly decided to write this post after a flight with them to Dubai, but Air India over delivered. Here’s a brief rundown of one of their longest announcements:
Dubai to South Korea. Total of 21 minutes in English, Arabic and Korean.
Captain’s greeting pre-flight; pre-flight safety announcement (including prohibition on using or charging Samsung Note S7s for the entire flight); pre-flight video on entertainment system (ICE), played twice (Arabic then English); post take-off welcome in Arabic and English including the signature “Our crew comes from a gazillion countries and speak even more languages”; 1m notice of landing and the Emirates foundation; and a post landing announcement about transit and baggage carousel
Emirates also likes to take your happiness away. You board early, notice you can start watching movies on ICE and then suddenly, your viewing pleasure is interrupted with a never ending video. Once its nearing the end, you realise that the video is about to play again, in a foreign language!
I guess all these announcements surely help as Emirates is the second safest airline in the world, coming in second to only Cathay Pacific, so can we complain?
List of Airline announcement durations
Here is our definitive list of airlines, itineraries and total announcement durations (including safety, landing, duty free and any other announcements, such as turbulence or entertainment system)
|Airline||Itinerary||Total time (in min)|
|Zan Air||Pemba – Zanzibar||0.5|
|Sky Airline||Montevideo – Santiago de Chile||1.2|
|Singapore Airlines||Saigon – Singapore||4|
|Korean Air||HND – GMP||4|
|Singapore Airlines||Sydney – Singapore||4|
|Jetstar||Singapore – Manila||4.5|
|Qantas||Cairns – Ayers Rock||4.6|
|Vueling||BCN – LHR||4.8|
|Singapore Airlines||HND – SIN||5|
|Qantas||Sydney – Cairns||5|
|Air Canada||Vancouver – LHR||5.5|
|TAP||Lisbon – Rome||5.6|
|Singapore Airlines||DEL – SIN||5.6|
|LatAm||Calma – Santiago||5.6|
|Jetstar||Manila – Singapore||5.7|
|American Airlines||NYC – SFO||6|
|BA||Singapore – Sydney||6|
|Korean Air||ICN – HND||6.3|
|Austrian Airlines||Podgorica (Montenegro) – Viena (Austria)||6.5|
|Air Canada||SFO – Vancouver||6.5|
|LatAm||Santiago – Punta Arenas||6.5|
|Jetstar||Ayers Rock – Sydney||6.75|
|Vueling||Krakov – Barcelona||7|
|Tigerair Australia||Sydney – Adelaide & Adelaide – Denpassar, Bali||7|
|Air Asia||Tacloban – Manila||7.16|
|Ryanair||London – Porto||8|
|S7||Moscow – St Petersburg||8.2|
|LatAm||Rio de Janeiro – Santiago||9|
|LatAm||Punta Arenas – Santiago||9.1|
|Thai Airways||Sydney – Bangkok||9.25|
|Flydubai||DWC – KTM||9.5|
|Emirates||Singapore – Dubai||10|
|Helvetic Airlines||DUS – ZRH||10|
|Emirates||Dubai – Paris||10.5|
|Singapore Airlines||SIN – LHR||10.5|
|Singapore Airlines||LHR – SIN||11.3|
|Jetstar||HKG – SIN||12|
|DrukAir||Paro – Singapore via Calcutta||12|
|British Airways||DXB – LHR||12.75|
|Cathay Pacific||SIN – HKG||13|
|Qantas||Dubai – London HTR||13|
|Emirates||Beirut – Dubai||13.5|
|Cathay Pacific||HKG – SIN||14|
|Air Asia||Bali – Singapore||16.5|
|Emirates||DXB – MEL||19.2|
|Emirates||DXB – SIN||21|
|Emirates||Dubai – South Korea||21|
|Air India||SIN – DEL||21|
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