Funny skies

So I flew on Southwest Airlines over the weekend for the first time for a friend’s wedding. (It was not possible to drive that far and get back in time for work Monday morning.) When the flight attendant started reciting the safety features lecture I was surprised because it was actually funny. Who knew that that you could actually make light of something so serious. I first thought that the purpose of the humor was to get people to actually pay attention to the content of the message instead of ignoring it and reading or sleeping or whatever. The person next to me told me that this happens quite a lot on Southwest, they really do want their employees to wing it – so to speak. Just so the information is in there, they don’t really care how it is delivered. Which got me to thinking why would they let them do it, doesn’t it hurt the brand?
One side benefit of all the humor is that, for people like me that hate flying, it is a nice distraction from the anxiety that builds up to take off. I mean, all the seriousness of the safety features and the oxygen masks, seat belts, how to open a window and find the exits if the plane fills with smoke, those are pretty sobering thoughts. And not all that comforting. So interjecting some humor in the whole thing not only serves to get people to listen (how many times some people have heard the lecture must be mind-boggling), but also gets them to relax a bit before takeoff. Now if they could only extend their humor to turbulence, that would be a real help for me because that is the very worst of the whole flight. And lately, I don’t know of too many people that have commented on how smooth their flight was.
This is the topic of another conversation, but Southwest Airlines must be pretty confident in their employees to let them go “off scrip” and entertain. Might not be a bad place to work…in a desk job!