A week after Delta Airlines launched its 1980s-themed inflight safety video, Air New Zealand announced a new similar material that will surely send temperatures inside its cabins soaring with the wind.
An airplane of German air carrier Lufthansa lands at the airline's main hub, the Fraport airport in Frankfurt, March 14 2013. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
Air NZ has ditched the Hobbits in favor of sexier scantily clad swimsuit models cavorting in paradise to do the routine checks in its new in-flight safety video. As expected, rights groups blasted the material saying it has objectified women.
No less than models from Sports Illustrated's annual swimsuit issue such as Chrissy Teigen, Ariel Meredith, Hannah Davis, and Jessica Gomes will flash on the in-flight safety video of Air NZ flights beginning end of February. Supermodel Legend Christie Brinkley will also be there.
But they are not the only ones there. So are the locals and the breath-taking scenery of Cook Islands in the South Pacific.
Dubbed as "the world's most beautiful safety video," Air NZ partnered with Sports Illustrated for the latest clip to coincide with the latter's 50th anniversary.
But Deborah Russell, a Massey University lecturer and feminist commentator, after seeing a preview of the video's behind-the-scenes making, said it's a "highly sexualized" safety video.
"My concern is that as a woman I get on a plane to go to a business meeting say - something serious - and I am confronted by women in bikinis in what are highly sexualised images," Ms Russell said.
"That jars. I want to be taken seriously but it seems that suddenly they are saying that my sexuality is all that matters about me."
"I don't want to watch this one," she added.
Air NZ, in presenting the concept of the latest in-flight safety video, said its goal was to encourage passengers to travel to Rarotonga, apart from stressing core safety messages.
"This is 'money can't buy' global attention focused on a key destination and our airline," Jodi Williams, Air NZ head of global brand development, said noting the company hopes the material will drive traffic to the Auckland-Rarotonga and Los Angeles-Rarotonga routes.
Rod Brodie, head of marketing at the University of Auckland Business School, said it's impossible Air NZ would experience outrage from its female passengers.
"People don't boycott airlines over their safety videos," he said.
Henry Harteveldt, a travel analyst for Hudson Crossing, explained in-flight safety videos nowadays aim to inject fun into an otherwise usual, boring routine.
"Airlines recognize that safety videos are beyond boring, that travelers aren't paying attention to them. But they're required, and the content they contain is important," Mr Harteveldt earlier told Seattle Times.
But "if they're fun, more people will pay attention to important information. And they will serve as a reason for travelers to fly the airline. It's a small reason, but small things can help an airline stand out."
Intrigued how Air NZ's new in-flight safety video may look like?