Everyone Gets Saved!

I was lucky enough to spend a week in Florence talking philosophy recently, and I flew home with Lufthansa. I tell you what--American Airlines could learn a thing or two about their emergency safety cards from those Germans. (See here for the post in which I poke gentle but vigorous fun of AA for their total mess of a safety card.)

Let's start with what is perhaps the world's most terrifyingly precise set of instructions. Other airlines merely request that you put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others. Lufthansa gives you an explicit timeline for this procedure.


Question: I'm really worried about my child's safety in the event of a loss of cabin pressure. I know you want me to put my own mask on first, but can't I maybe just sort of grab my child's mask at the same time and--

Answer: STOP DILLYDALLYING AND PUT YOUR MASK ON ALREADY. You are wasting valuable time. It takes four seconds for the mask to drop and you to reach it. It should take three seconds for you to put the mask on and adjust it. If you are any kind of a parent-slash-guardian-slash-human being, you will have your adorably androgynous child's mask on no more than three seconds later, with final adjustments to the straps completed two seconds later. That is twelve seconds--the amount of time it took you to ask your original question. Are we clear? If you fumble or fall behind, Franz the flight attendant will wait precisely three seconds before helping with your child's mask. (Note: Please allow extra time to enter your next country in this eventuality, as you will not be allowed to proceed until you can demonstrate your ability to follow these instructions in the allotted time.)

Lufthansa is not just about terrifyingly precise timeframes, though. They also demonstrate their open-mindedness about what sorts of travel companions their passengers might want to save, as in this heart-warming(?) panel:

demon babydoll

Question: I'm an attractive, middle-aged woman traveling with a life-sized baby doll. In the unlikely event of a water landing, may my doll have an infant life vest, too?

Answer: Of course it may! Life vests are available for any infant-sized being, whether that be a living child or an eyeless demon doll who is clearly going to hack any surviving passengers to pieces while they scream for help in the dark, indifferent water.

Lufthansa's broad-minded approach to travel companions is also on display in the following sequence:

tiny gunslinger

Question: I'm traveling with a tiny gunslinger who insists on always being ready to draw, aim, and fire. (In fact, they keep refusing to raise their eyes until they're ready to shoot.) Do you have a life vest that could accommodate this need?

Answer: We here at Lufthansa applaud your travel companion's commitment to efficiency and precision. In fact, we designed our Adult/Child Life Vest with just those values in mind. With its dynamic clip system and its hip-height pull-tabs, our Adult/Child Life Vest will delight the heart--as well as save the life--of any pint-sized gunslinger. They'll be ready to pull that trigger the second they exit the aircraft! "Eyes open, target acquired," as they say. (Note: It is against FAA regulations to discharge a firearm within the aircraft. Doing so may result in a fine and the sudden loss of cabin pressure. If such a loss of cabin pressure should occur, please refer to panel #1 above.)

Lufthansa, you win full marks for clear, intelligible diagrams and--especially--your dedication to including travel companions of all varieties. Except, of course, any variety of color. (Ahem. Yeah. You're really going to want to do something about that.)

Author image

Christina Van Dyke

scholar, mother, and proud owner of the largest couch in creation
  • here and there
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