Delta Flies Back to the Past

Big side pony-tails, Rubix cubes, leg warmers, and Tang. Who wouldn’t want to reminisce about the 80’s on a flight to Barbados? In an attempt to hold the attention of passengers, last week Delta released a throwback safety video to be played before every flight. Instead of the generic flight attendant pointing two fingers at the exits, Delta’s safety video seems as though the flight is taking place during the 80’s, and it has the hairspray to prove it. Delta’s unorthodox safety message is perfectly themed, being set in the 1980’s. Today, there are countless distractions provided by mobile devices that can draw airplane passengers’ attention away from safety precautions. Not only does Delta take hold of passengers’ attention right off of the bat with the somewhat obnoxious 80’s theme, but they also reference a time when people did not get frustrated about Wi-Fi connection, but about their Rubix cube. A time when the most pressing distraction from the real world was whether or not you could beat you high score on your Asteroids Atari game. The video that Delta released has humorous references, but also does not skimp on the important messages about safety and airplane precautions.

            Leslie Scott, a delta spokeswoman, stated that “We want people to stay engaged while watching such an important message. We knew it was something that would resonate with many of our most frequent travelers who have an emotional connection to that decade (Allen, 2014).” Scott notes an important insight about Delta flyers. Middle-aged adults, who are the majority of the people buying Delta airline tickets, will have a connection to the time period triggered by the safety video because they lived through that decade. Therefore, not only does the video catch the attention of flyers because it’s unusual, but because those watching it will remember characters from the 1980’s, like Alf.

            Adding to Delta’s one-of-a-kind branding strategy, the video also acts as a tribute to the very first Delta safety message, which was shown in the 80’s (Delta, 2014). Delta does not plan on stopping at this eye-catching 80’s sentiment though. Delta strives to please the “most frequent of frequent flyers” by updating their safety videos with new scenes, so that passengers do not see the same message too many times. With one 80’s star-studded video, Delta has strengthened their customer relationships as well as their brand identity. Air travel is not perceived as the most relaxing or entertaining task, but Delta has made the stress-filled obligation just a little more bearable for their flyers.            


(2014, Jan 29). Must watch Delta airlines’ trip back to 80s in safety video [Web Video]. Retrieved from

Allen, K. (2014, Jan 31). Delta travels back to the 1980s for in-flight safety video. Retrieved from

In flight safety video // 80’s rewind. (2014, Jan 28). Retrieved from

4 thoughts on “Delta Flies Back to the Past

  1. I think Delta’s video is a great idea! They are taking advantage of an interesting means of communication to make their message more effective. I think if I was a passenger, I would at first be turned off because it seemingly makes safety into a light-hearted situation but later understanding the concept makes me impressed with Delta.


  2. I love this idea! Everyone loves to reminisce and remember times that were a little less stressful, and what better time to do this than while traveling. I think Delta targeted their audience accurately to fit the people who fly most frequently.


  3. I really like when brands revive past techniques and messages, and I agree with the comment above that people love to reminisce so the instructive video has an emotional appeal.


  4. Lots of respect to Delta for this out of the box idea. I love it when corporations don’t take themselves so seriously. I can honestly say that I would give the safety video full attention if it had a bad 80s theme. Hopefully I fly Delta soon and can see it!


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