What Makes a Great Pre-Flight Safety Briefing

What makes for a great pre-flight safety briefing video?

As trusted safety video producers and creators, we were recently appointed by one of West Africa’s most established national airlines to produce their new passenger safety video.

The brief was to create a safety briefing video that not only communicated the important safety messages required by civil aviation authorities, but to do so in an engaging and entertaining manner. The video needed to reflect the aspirations, values, and vision of the airline; all the while inspiring confidence, enjoyment, but above all – safety.

What is an airline safety briefing video?

A safety briefing video is the reel that plays just before the airplane is about to take off. It has all the regulatory safety information needed to inform passengers clearly on what to do in the event of an emergency.

Why do airlines need safety briefing videos?

Passengers need to be informed about the safety features onboard the airplane. This includes seatbelts, oxygen masks, smoking, the brace position, the life jacket, and the overhead compartments.

That being said, how this is conveyed is at the discretion of each airline. In the past, varying attempts have been made to make briefing videos more entertaining, humourous even.

However, research has shown that it is incredibly important to strike a balance between entertainment (humour)  and clear messaging. 

Clear communications is best for information retention

Wired Magazine (2019) reveals research on the true value of training-based pre-flight safety video production.

So, three inflight safety videos were shown to a group of 82 participants.

  1. The first video was a standard pre-flight safety video, with a narrator and a demonstration of safety procedures.
  2. The second video had actors demonstrate the safety procedures while wearing aerobic clothes, and dancing in between the safety demonstrations.
  3. The third video was set in the theme of a popular movie and had actors dressed in clothes that matched the film’s environment.

The results? The researchers found that, while humor and movie-based videos increased participants’ moods, it did little to help them recall vital safety information.

Here’s the telling nitty gritty findings:

On average, participants who watched the humorous video could recall 35 percent of the safety information.

The movie-themed video resulted in a 47 percent recollection of the key safety information.

However, those in the standard video group remembered a moderate 53 percent of safety information. While not astonishingly high, it is still the best out of the three. 

To quote the study: Mood was  found to be a moderating factor. For airlines, the delivery of the pre-flight safety briefing prior to a commercial flight is not only an opportunity to inform passengers about the safety features on-board the aircraft they are flying, but an opportunity to positively influence their mood, and hence performance in the unlikely event of an emergency.

How we got the best out of this pre-flight safety briefing video

With this in mind we at Anderson studio focussed on an animated video that followed our tried and tested design methodology: E-ADDIE 

We engaged with our client, asking questions and involving them in scoping the overall video.


It was important to give the safety briefing a voice-over that was clear and engaging.

The script went through several iterations with the client to ensure that the flow, style, and tone were not only compliant but was delivered in a tone that engaged the audience.

The voice over and tone of the script was serious, but also friendly and inviting. This played a significant role in influencing the overall mood.


We then launched into character design and animation-style development.

These two elements were both carefully considered.

We decided with our client each step of the way to design characters that were representative and reflective of the passengers who typically fly with the airline.

We also chose to include humour at key points in the script, to provide a pause moment with “comic relief” that did not distract from the core safety messages and procedures.

Final production

Lastly, all that was left was to ensure that the overall look and feel aligned with the airline’s brand corporate identity, values and aspirations.

This was done through the use of colour, music and text. The mood in the end was serious, but at the same time light, friendly and inviting. The character design and animation style were contemporary, representative and effective in reaching engagement goals.

Need your own animated explainer video?

If you would like to learn more about our approach to creating animations for safety briefings, or other training and explainer video content, please reach out to us.