Starting April 1 United Flight Attendants Will Be Allowed to Show Personality During Announcements

Southwest Airlines is known for the personality of its flight attendants, and the way they lyricize their safety briefing often goes viral in social media. It really shows their corporate culture of fun.

On American Airlines I once landed to The Commodores “Brick House.” But I’ve never heard a flight attendant go off script.

About the only time I’ve seen United flight attendants deviate from ‘the script’ when making announcements was to recite The Flight Before Christmas.

Delta on the other hand has this rapping flight attendant.

United communications past master Brian Sumers shares the news that the airline’s flight attendants will be permitted to show their personality when making in-flight announcements starting April 1.

I suppose this is either a good thing or a bad thing, depending on the personality of the flight attendant. However there’s a non-zero chance it’s a step in the right direction building a greater culture of service. It’s tough to put yourself into the announcements and then not take pride in the rest of the flight.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Great. More lame attempts at humor to disrupt the peaceful cabin. As if it wasn’t bad enough listening to credit card hawking, full rundowns of the beverage lists and pilots rambling on playing tour guide and reading off all their flight data (seriously…who cares about the runway numbers, altitude, barometric pressure, etc etc). Please just SHUT UP !!!!

  2. @frank – it has to be…unless UA is foolish enough to think that this will fix their customer service issues…

  3. Each passenger onboard an aircraft, have a different and unique flying perspective and experience

    I think that the onboard announcements have to be simple and clear

    In my opinion, only the safety announcements and, a very basic, onboard service announcements should be made

    Many passengers in any flight have a 15-20 hours day journey

  4. I’ve always thought that the Southwest style is inappropriate for what are supposed to be important safety announcements. Many people who are travelling are not fluent English speakers. By allowing the FA’s to ham it up and insert extraneous attempts at humor, the ability of limited English speakers to understand the safety announcements is limited.

    I’ve always thought that allowing the announcements to be delivered the way they are is an implicit admission that the airline thinks the safety announcements are not that important..

  5. “15 – 20 hour journey”?
    Haha, not if you are flying MIA-DFW using AA mile savers.

  6. I agree with James. Please spare us the pathetic attempts at comedy and theatrics. Just read from the script as required by the law and leave us in peace. Please.

  7. I fly SW frequently and enjoy the humor. How many of us that have flown many times listen to the announcements anyway? One of my favorites is the announcement from a SW pilot: Welcome to (whatever city). Get out! My family and I had a good chuckle. But then, we have a sense of humor.

  8. Sometimes it can be fun to have another emotive surprise linked to a brand.

    I still remember 30 years later a specific Air Inter flight.

    It was the last one hour domestic flight landing in Paris Orly departing 11pm on a sunday evening from one the countryside city of France and landing at midnight.
    (at that time it was still possible to do so as there were no curfew after 11pm in ORY)

    So basically us the passengers were ending a nice week-end and coming back for another working week.

    The Air Inter steward announcing the safety instructions, living in Paris, choosed a specific tone of his saying over the microphone in a humoristic way of mocking the parisian tone of voice.

    It was fun because it was so exagerated and so real at the same time.

    Parisian can feel they are above other citizens being in the center of the universe compared to those countryside people.

    It was performed very well.

    And it meant some sort also of self-mocking of ourselves in Paris.

    We all appreciated that to relax during this flight.

    I am not sure if I will appreciate that on a 7am monday morning business flight.

    But I still remember that Air Inter flight.

    So yeah why not from time to time.

  9. The pax don’t take anything about safety seriously now! This will REALLY make the crews look stupid and only there to be at their back and call from vodka tonics to picking up toenail clippings!

  10. When a long onboard announcement is made, nobody pays attention

    Many of us enjoy a quiet flight

    Being funny is a gift not everyone has

  11. Yet another brilliant idea from the ‘new’ United…..the announcements already make our ears bleed. Tell us the flight time, basic safety features, and weather forecast and leave people alone!

  12. Reading the comments, I realized that people will complain about any and everything. I think United is doing a good thing. Employees should be given some freedom at work. Especially since they have to deal with a lot of stuffy, corporate customers all day.

    On a personal note, I enjoy flight attendants who make the announcements fun. That’s why I almost always fly with Southwest. I like the fact that they are much more relaxed. It helps me not think about the plane crashing when I listening to them talk about the oxygen masks and flotation devices.

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