Vietnam’s low-cost carrier VietJet Air was fined about $1,000 for an inflight bikini dance staged last week to celebrate a new route. No crew members were involved in the stunt – the dancers were reportedly recruited from a local beauty pageant.
Dancing on Planes
This is hardly the first time an airline has pulled a stunt on a plane. A couple of years ago, the flight attendants of the Philippines Cebu Pacific were the stars, dancing their way through safety instructions to the pounding beat of Lady Gaga.
Most of these stunts are purely for publicity’s sake but some are spontaneous and others are hatched by passengers. Here are some of the more outrageous examples.
Rapping on Southwest
Southwest is known for many things: free bags, decent deals – and also for stunts like the Rapping Flight Attendant. That was the nickname bestowed on crew member David Holmes who first gained fame back in 2009 when he took over his plane’s PA system to sing the flight safety instructions. His aim was to make passengers pay attention, and did they ever: the video of Holmes’ song was an immediate, viral hit (by the way, Holmes still works for Southwest).
Sometimes, passengers get in on the act. Earlier this summer, sometime singer/sometime reality show star Flavor Flav took over the Southwest PA system to cheerfully tout his new restaurant in Las Vegas. Fellow passengers, perhaps appreciative of anything that’ll break up a boring flight, applauded enthusiastically.
Outrageous Airline Ads
Southwest often displays a genius for getting attention. Back in the 1970’s, one of its more outrageous executives once gave away free bottles of booze; later, it was hot pants on flight attendants that gave the fledgling airline a needed boost.
Today, its witty advertising performs a similar function – such as its 2010 campaign featuring big bellied baggage handlers.
However, few airlines can top Air New Zealand when it comes to over-the-top ads. In 2009, the carrier’s television commercial touting no hidden fees featured actual flight attendants on planes – in uniform – except, the uniforms were painted on. The Kiwis’ campaign was called “Nothing to Hide.”
Virgin: Best Air Stunt Ever?
However, some of the most amusing stunts ever seem to originate with Virgin empire founder Richard Branson, who has donned a space suit and even dropped his trousers for reporters – all in the name of publicizing the Virgin brand.
One of his cheekiest stuntsever occurred in 2000, when rival British Airways was holding a live televised press conference to announce sponsorship of the London Millennium Wheel. A sharp-eyed Virgin employee noticed the giant Ferris wheel lying on its side so Branson quickly swung into action, hiring a blimp to fly over the site bearing a customized banner reading, “BA Can’t Get It Up.”