Air New Zealand's new in-flight safety video is 'arrogant and disrespectful,' says family of cras

Air New Zealand's new in-flight safety video starring "Entourage" actor Adrian Grenier is being criticized for bringing up bad memories of a fatal 1979 Air New Zealand crash.

Air New Zealand's new in-flight safety video starring "Entourage" actor Adrian Grenier is being criticized for bringing up bad memories of a fatal 1979 Air New Zealand crash.  (Air New Zealand)

Air New Zealand’s new in-flight safety video isn’t sitting so well with some New Zealanders.

The video, which was filmed in Antarctica and stars “Entourage” actor Adrian Grenier, is being criticized for bringing up bad memories of a tragic Air New Zealand flight that crashed into Antarctica’s Mount Erebus in 1979, killing all 257 aboard, reports News.com.au.


Air New Zealand’s video — which the airline debuted on Wednesday as “The World’s Coolest Safety Video” — wasn't filmed at the site of the crash and does not reference it, but instead attempts to highlight the “important climate and environmental science underway" in Antarctica. Nevertheless, it hit too close to home for families of the victims, and has been the subject of backlash since it was announced.

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Air New Zealand debuted "The World's Coolest Safety Video" on Thursday, which not only serves as its newest in-flight safety video, but aims to highlight the environmental issues facing Antarctica.  (Air New Zealand)

“To be on board and confronted by a safety video you’re obliged to watch set in Antarctica is beyond ironic,” said David Ling, the son of a woman who died in the crash, told the New Zealand Herald over a month ago, when plans for the video were announced. “It is the ultimate insensitive insult to the families, both immediate and wider.”

Ling added that the idea was “crass, arrogant and disrespectful.”

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The video, which stars "Entourage" actor Adrian Grenier, was called "crass, arrogant and disrespectful" by the son of a crash victim, even before it debuted.  (Air New Zealand.)

Another woman, who says her grandfather died on the flight, called it “gutting” on Twitter.

It is gutting to my family that Air New Zealand has so willingly chosen the very place my grandfather died to detail their safety procedures. Why? Because your administrative procedures caused your Air Nz plane to fly into a mountain with my grandfather on it. #Erebus

— KateOnTheGo (@KateOnTheGo) January 28, 2018


Lewis Pugh, an Antarctic environmental advocate, has added that he has qualms about the video portraying Antarctica as a “recreational playground” rather than a continent that needs protection. He has also called for Air New Zealand to withdraw the “deeply disturbing” video because of its connection to the Mt. Erebus disaster.

"There will be sons and daughters and mothers and fathers who now get on an Air New Zealand flight and have to watch this safety video," he said during an interview with Radio New Zealand.

"Everybody in New Zealand knows about this flight. This safety video was filmed just a few kilometers away from Mt Erebus. It's an extraordinary decision" on Air New Zealand’s part, he added.

[email protected] - you have one of the most beautiful countries in the world to shoot a safety video in. And you choose Antarctica? Not only is it the site of a plane crash, it is the site where YOUR plane crashed. And you use it to show people what to do if a plane crashes. #PoorTaste https://t.co/3niKj8Jv6W

— LewisPugh Foundation (@LewisPughFDN) March 2, 2018

Several commenters on Twitter appear to agree with Ling and Pugh’s assessments, but not everyone felt as strongly about the video.

Traumatising family of Erebus victims unnecessarily.

— Stuart Broughton (@Broughton68) March 1, 2018

When I hear Air New Zealand and Antartica I think Erebus. Pretty much the opposite of safe.

— Watchmefly99 (@Watchmefly999) March 2, 2018

November 28, 1979, I still remember my Mum’s reaction when she learned Flight 901 crashed killing her Aunty and Uncle.. gutting

— verycourageous (@nzdavidh) March 2, 2018

That’s what I’ll tell Mum when she’s triggered by this video and grieving the loss of her family on flight 901, “get a grip Mum...”

— verycourageous (@nzdavidh) March 2, 2018

great video, I hope you are so careful with the environment. Congratulations.

— Nena (@Nenabear3) February 28, 2018


Air New Zealand has since stated that it had reached out to the families of the victims and received “very positive responses” about the video. The airline noted, however, that it was not able to track down every family affected by the 1979 tragedy.

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Air New Zealand claims the video received "very positive responses" upon being screened for family members of the victims.  (Air New Zealand)

“It was important to us that immediate family members of those lost on Mount Erebus were among the first to be told about the filming project in Antarctica and we have reached out to family members registered in our database directly to share details of our upcoming safety video and the rationale behind this,” said a spokesperson for the airline, per News.com.au.

A representative for Air New Zealand was not immediately available for comment.


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