John Travolta’s Qantas Safety Video Cameo: Cheesy or Smart?

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Qantas Airways flight attendants and pilots have taken to the Web to voice their annoyance with a safety-demonstration video that’s introduced by actor and licensed pilot John Travolta.

Although Travolta is only featured for about 35 seconds of the three-and-a-half-minute video, Qantas staff members blasted it as “corny” and “tacky” and urged executives to reshoot the video using a “real pilot” — which likely means a pilot who flies commercial planes and not just private jets like Travolta. Some of the critics even suggested spotlighting Richard de Crespigny, the captain who saved more than 450 passengers and crew when a Qantas plane he was piloting suffered engine failure in November 2010 and Crespigny was forced to make an emergency landing.

(More on TIME.com: See 20 reasons to hate the airlines)

But is Travolta’s presence in the video really that big a deal? There are, in fact, two presumably real Qantas pilots (one male, one female) featured near the end of the video, which is narrated by an Australian woman who humorously notes, “We know you’re more than capable of operating a seat belt, but here’s a few points on how this one works.” Getting Travolta to introduce the video actually seems like a smart strategy to get otherwise jaded travelers to pay attention to the safety demonstration, even if they have seen it all before. Sure, some of Travolta’s lines are pretty cheesy: “This is your captain speaking — well, maybe not today.” But celebrity sells, and when it’s safety that’s for sale, why not? (via Daily Telegraph)

(More on TIME.com: See how many Travolta movies made it onto TIME’s list of the 25 Best Movie Soundtracks)

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