Thursday, September 10, 2009

Absolutely positively ...nothing to hide...

We flew into New Zealand at the end of June on a relatively comfortable (as comfortable as one can be on a night flight in 'cattle class') Singapore Airlines flight from Singapore. With a fleet that averages only 6 and a half years old flying Singapore Airlines always feels as if you are in a new plane. As always the staff were professional and gracious in a reserved kind of way.

Then we flew from Auckland to Wellington on a domestic Air New Zealand flight and instantly knew we were home. Grins a mile wide and friendly banter warmed the cabin.
'Lollies, vege chips or biscuits?'

Once everyone was seated the ceiling mounted video screens flickered raising negligable interest from a cabin full of people 'engrossed' in their papers or airline mags. For those of us who are frequent flyers on various global airlines the resulting safety message offers a retoric so generic and uninspiring it goes unnoticed blending into the humm of warming engines, the tones of seat belts being adjusted and overhead lockers being clicked shut. Although I have been aware of its content for years now I had never actually 'counted the seats to your nearest exit'. There is also a kind of superstition that exists in the same way as we avoid mentioning the rain if we have a day biking or temple hopping planned, or pointing out that the Australia Network hasn't yet lost coverage during an All Blacks game, or marvelling that the electricity has stayed on all weekend on a sunday night.
'Kia Ora, we'd like to welcome you aboard our boeing 737-300.'
Hang on a minute isn't she...?
'Shortly we'll be winging our way to your next port of call.'
She is!
'But before we lift off we'd like to give you what we call, the bare essentials of safety aboard this flight.'
So is he. They are wearing nothing but....body paint!
Yep, by this stage there was almost 100% rapt attention. Eyes were glued to the little screens suspended above our seats. For the first time in a very long time I watched the whole video and, yes, even counted the seats to my nearest exit and I saw quite a few ahead of me do the same.

Your turn now

See what I mean. If you google 'air nz safety video' you get pages of blog posts featuring 'The bare essentials'. People are talking and more importantly they are watching. Good on you Air New Zealand!

Heres the blooper vid too

As an aside, on Monday the 7th September Samoa - where we began our expat travels- became the first country in 40 years to switch the side of the road they drive despite months of protest. The prime minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, had made the call to encourage some of the 170,000 expatriate Samoans living in Australasia to buy and ship used cars back to relatives in the islands. A two day holiday was declared to lessen the amount of cars on the road and a three day ban on liquor sales to encourage sober driving. Samoans aren't known for their adherence to the road rules nor for their quick reactions behind the wheel. I am still surprised I made it through 2 and a half years with out someone plowing into me although there was many a time a found myself facing a speeding car or bus racing toward me - on my side of Cross Island Road and quick evasive action was required. Many Samoans are unstandably scared at what the results might be but the prime minister has remained staunch. The change will be made.

• Some 34 per cent of the world’s population drive on the left-hand side of the road, including many former British colonies, such as Australia, India and South Africa

• Napoleon spread the French custom of driving on the right with his series of conquests in the early 1800s, while Russia forced Finland to switch in 1858

• Hitler decreed right-hand driving in Austria after annexing the country in 1938. Mussolini also converted Italy by decree in 1924

• In Lunenburg County, Canada, 1923 was known as the “year of the free beef”: when driving switched from left to right, the oxen that could not learn the new rules were simply eaten.


Natalie said...

Oh, kooky Kiwis, we love you so. Well done! I am pro right-hand driving, but then again, that's laziness and also my convictions after I saved my husband from certain death in Grand Caymen..he looked the wrong way for oncoming traffic to cross the street on our honeymoon. Nearly flattened.

Tanya said...

Oh no! What a way to start married life-lol- in debted to you forever?

PS Kookiness embraced! Somethings gotta make us stand out from down the bottom there ;)