American aviation chiefs are investigating YouTube footage which shows passengers performing the 'Harlem Shake' dance on a plane over the Rocky Mountains.
The 31-second video, which was taken on a 15 February Frontier Airliners flight, reportedly shows 18 Colorado College students dancing in mid-air on their way to an Ultimate Frisbee tournament.
At first, a lone dancer is seen flailing in the middle of the aisle. However he is soon joined by fellow revellers, one of whom is wearing a full-body banana suit.
The students insist they did the dance only after taking approval of the flight crew. They were also allowed to use the plane intercom system to tell other passengers of their intentions, the report said.
"We wanted to make sure that we followed every regulation and that nothing went wrong, and that it was OK with (the airplane crew)," said Matt Zelin of the team members. "We just figured being on a plane, you know, you need to make sure everything is safe, and we just talked to flight attendants and they were excited."
After the plane landed, they posted the video online, and it went viral.
"And so it went from kind of this, kind of joking around idea among the team to something that was reality, and then it was on YouTube and there were hundreds of thousands of views and now we're talking to you guys," Zelin added when interviewed.
Team members added that recording the video took less than a minute and that during the recording, the seat belt sign was off.
"The video is a hand-held camera, so it's shaking and looking a lot worse than it is," said teammate Gavin Nachbar. "So we never felt unsafe the whole time, and we hope the FAA sees it the same way, and we assume that they will."
Frontier Airlines said insists that "all safety measures were followed and the seat belt sign was off."
(Video Courtsey:YouTube/Conor Crowley)
However officials have been quick to condemn the stunt, claiming a flash mob-style dance is a dangerous activity on an aeroplane travelling at hundreds of miles per hour.
"It's ridiculous," Jim Tilmon, a retired 29-year airline pilot told CNN. "A commercial airplane in flight ... is not a dance hall, it's not an entertainment stage, it's not any of those things."
"It's cute, novel, all that sort of stuff," he continued, but then added: "Wrong place, wrong time."
While experts have criticised the act, they insisted they are not trying to be party poopers.
"I hate to be a bureaucratic kill-joy," said Steve Wallace, former director of the FAA's Office of Accident Investigation,
"I think there is a safety issue here. Turbulence injuries are the most common type of injuries, and they are virtually eliminated when people are in their seat belts."
According to Veda Shook, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, dancing on an airplane is a bad idea even when it is grounded. She says dancing affects other passengers and it could make it impossible for the flight attendants to communicate with passengers.
When asked who to blame for the anarchic scene, Tilmon said: "If I was king for a day, the criticism would first be leveled at the airline for encouraging this type of thing. You cannot tell me it is safe to have that number of people up out of their seat jumping up and down."
"If they're on my airplane, they're going to either sit down and fasten their seat belt, or I'm going to find a policeman to help them do it."
Experts are concerned that a Harlem shake dance could also be very well used by terrorists to divert a crew's attention.
Wallace said "I think a federal air marshal might find that a bit confusing," while Shook commented that "you don't know what every person's intentions are."
The Harlem Shake went viral after it was performed by five teenagers from Queensland, Australia in a scene uploaded to YouTube. The clip has already become a global phenomenon, similar to the Gangnam Style craze which swept the world last summer.
Check out the original video here:
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