What's up with all the safety manuals, Eli?

On March 1st, 2009, I was boarding a Qantas Airlines flight from Syndey to LA on the way home from my second season working at McMurdo Station in Antarctica. It was late and I was tired. I sat down in my seat and pulled out the in-flight safety manual for something to stare at blankly. It only took a few minutes before I found myself a hearty chuckle. Qantas Airlines: NO FURBIES

Do you see it?

Nestled in there amoungst all the normal things that everyone knows you aren't supposed to use on a flight, like, a radio or a walkie-talkie, was a cute little FURBY. "Oh geez," I must have said to myself at the time. And right there next to the Furby was a Tamagotchi!

Qantas Airlines: NO FURBIES

I couldn't help but picture a hypothetical passenger boarding their long flight from Syndey to somewhere in SE Asia, settling in, pulling out their Furby, and then one of the flight attendants walking by, shaking their head, and then pointing at the in-flight safety manual. So fucking funny. So fucking funny, in fact, that I slipped that safety manual directly into my backpack.

And so began my collection of in-flight safety manuals.

They are such an interesting exercise in design, primarily because they don't usually contain many words. They have to convey all of the important safety information using only pictures! Each one has its own little charm and character, but there are similarities across the board.

For example, from now on you'll probably start noticing that in all the sections about inflattable rafts, there's always a circle-with-a-line-through-it around a high-heeled shoe, because, you know, they could pop the raft and then everyone dies. You'll also notice how strange the children always look, like tiny old people:

Weird kid standing on a plane

That arrow and strap through the legs feels weird to me. And that hands-on-the-shoulders longing stare deep into his mother's eyes? How are they so calm?! The plane is about to or has already crashed!

Weird kid on a plane

That little guy reminds me of me when I was his age. So dapper.

Anyhoo, if you ever find yourself on a flight with a safety manual in your hand and you're wondering, "Does Eli have this one?" you can always just check the Master List. If I don't yet, feel free to snag it for me.

😘✈️🤓✈️😘