Norwegian Airlines Gendered Safety Video: Father Absence

I recently flew on Norwegian Airlines from Arlanda to Umeå in Sweden.

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You can always tell if it’s a Norwegian Airplane, because they have famous writers, editors, explorers, astronauts, etc on the Vertical Stabilizer.

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I had the window seat. So when I approached my aisle, I slid right in, until “BAM,” I crashed my head into a tv screen. Wasn’t expecting that to be there (or down). I looked around in a bit of embarrassment before taking my seat, noticing that none of the other tv screens were lowered from near the overhead lights. Bad luck (aka pay more attention).

The pilots were great, flight attendants completed their tasks, and everything was successful. But right before take-off, they went over the Safety Information. Only it wasn’t the flight attendants who talked, it was a CGI-type movie (see here).

The movie has three people: a female flight attendant, a mother, and a child. Throughout the video, the mother is shown to help guide and direct her and her young child towards doing what the airline expects of them, rather than the flight attendant having to show the passengers how to buckle a seat belt.

In that respect, I enjoyed the film, as people (parents) are taking responsibility. Hopefully this will send a message that people should take personal responsibility rather than making the flight attendants repeat over and over: “please turn off your phone” or “please buckle your seat” to dozens of passengers (after just having gone over the material).

However, they left the father out of this safety video plane ride. It amazed me that a company called Norwegian Airlines, that travels throughout Scandinavia (and western Europe for that matter), would choose to highlight gendered parenting.

Scandinavia is known for its progressive stance on including fathers in child care; therefore to exclude them from a video that thousands of people see every day is sending a message that it’s only the mother’s responsibility to manage her child’s safety.

Norwegian Airlines–is that really the message you want to send?