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The Punchline

Sweatin’ to Aircraft Safety

Katharine Crnko Mar 30, 2011

If you’re flying to New Zealand any time soon you may recognize a familiar face on your flight.

Fitness icon Richard Simmons, best known for his “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” exercise videos, is now reciting the in-flight safety instructions for Air New Zealand.

And if being told how to buckle a seat belt one more time isn’t enough, Simmons is bringing his own enthusiasm to the video, aptly titled “Fit To Fly.”

Of course, the high-octane video features Simmon’s signature retro bedazzled outfits and jazzercise choreography.

What do you do when the oxygen mask is released?

“It’s time to take a breather.”

And if there’s an emergency landing?

Do “the duck!” Simmons cries.

The video also features former New Zealand broadcaster Paul Henry, Amazing Race host Phil Keoghan and netballer Temepara George.

The move comes just a few weeks after a Qantas safety video was released, featuring actor and pilot John Travolta.

As of publication, the video has received more than 1.1 million views.

General Manger Marketing and Communications for Air New Zealand Mike Tod says the success of the new safety video is an example of the power of social media in raising awareness of the airline across the world.

“In a matter of hours the new safety video had become a global hit on YouTube, and was the ninth most tweeted about video in the world yesterday, quite extraordinary when you consider there are 140 million tweets per day,” he said.

The video comes nearly seven years after Richard Simmons allegedly assaulted a man at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport. Simmons was cited for misdemeanour assault after a passenger reportedly recognized Simmons while waiting for a flight and said, “Hey everybody. It’s Richard Simmons. Let’s drop our bags and rock to the ’50s.”

You can read more of Marketplace’s coverage of the airline industry here.

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