How to avoid Air New Zealand's Richard Simmons "Fit to Fly" disco safety video in flight

By John Walton, April 1 2011
How to avoid Air New Zealand's Richard Simmons

Air New Zealand's new Richard Simmons safety video is ridiculously funny -- at least the first time you see it.

Of course, if the airline carries through with it and actually installs it on their aircraft, frequent travellers with the airline will get heartily sick of spandex and disco lighting.

Just imagine getting to the airport for 0730 for the business shuttle from Wellington to Auckland (which we reviewed a couple of months ago and rather enjoyed) and being confronted with unnaturally energetic lycra-clad loons lurching about on the screen in front of you.

It's enough to make you want to "step, step, step" right off the plane.

But some Air New Zealand flights won't have the new videos, and we're more than happy to help you figure out how to book seats on those flights. No April Fool's day joke!

Trans-Tasman flights

Aim for Air New Zealand's larger Boeing 747, 767 and 777 aircraft. The plane shown in the safety video is a smaller short-distance Boeing 737, which hints that the video may well be kept for smaller aircraft.

The airline also recently produced special videos for its new flagship Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, so it's more unlikely to put the new video on those planes. (We've reviewed Business Premier, Premium Economy Spaceseat and Economy Skycouch seating on the new 777-300ER to help you make your decision about what kind of ticket to buy.)

To check which flights to New Zealand have these larger aircraft, hover over the flight number during the booking process.

Top tip: Wellington Airport's short runway means that the largest aircraft that regularly flies in and out is the Airbus A320, so travellers to New Zealand's capital are plumb out of luck for larger aircraft and may have to resort to the earplug defence.

Domestic New Zealand flights

Aim for the turboprop (propeller-driven) Q300, ATR72 and Beech 1900D aircraft flown by Air New Zealand subsidiaries rather than the mainline Boeing 737-300 and Airbus A320 jets where you can. 

Turboprops don't have entertainment screens, so the safety demonstration is manual and (unless the crew get really into it) won't involve calisthenics of any form.

You can tell which flights use turboprops by the flight number. Air New Zealand mainline jet flights have three digits, while the turboprops have four-digit flight numbers.

Turboprops flights are also usually slightly longer than jet flights, although New Zealand is small enough that the extra speed of jets doesn't really make that much of a difference.

We hope this advice will keep you from looking like you're doing "the duck" when you hear the safety video come on at the beginning of your flight.


John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.

10 Mar 2011

Total posts 526

The best way to avoid seeing the video is to not fly Air New Zealand.... At least with Qantas you only put up with John Travolta at the beginning and end of the video.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

24 Nov 2010

Total posts 60

a bit over the top but at least AirNZ has a sense of humor, not like Qantas staff getting all riled up for being called 'team' instead of 'crew' members

05 Sep 2011

Total posts 66

Seems to be pot-luck whether you avoid this video. Last month I flew WLG - SYD return, both flights on A320s. One way I got the Richard Simmons 'Fit to Fly' video, but on the return I got their 'Crazy about Rugby' safety video.

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