Do Not Remove From Aircraft

I’m going to Helsinki this weekend (sadly by ferry not by plane) but I have a guest post by Simon Rockman for you which is, I think, delightfully different.

I worked with Simon in the previous century (!!!), way back when the Internet was a new and shiny thing. He was the go-to man for anything to do with phones (and if you are looking for a phone for someone who is older or partially sighted, I highly recommend his fantastic Fuss Free Phones). He’s somewhat obsessed with eccentric cars and always helpful on any number of technical subjects. It was Simon who highlighted my encounter with a Tiger Moth to the Register which brought a number of new readers to Fear of Landing.

But somehow I never knew about his special aviation collection. When he told me about it recently, I just had to share it with you. It’s an odd and unusual set that you have to see to believe. Here’s some of the highlights with something of an explanation by Simon

Do Not Remove From Aircraft

I don’t remember when I started ignoring the simple instruction not to steal the flight safety card in a plane. And I don’t know why.


I do know that the first one was Concorde, and the why for that is pretty obvious, but it was many years before I purloined the second one. So it’s not as though that supersonic press trip, Stanstead to Paris and back, was the seed of my dark secret. I suspect that my Concorde card is the least rare. Stealing anything with a Concorde logo from the plane was pretty much par for the course. But why would I want to refer back to instructions on using a Titian Airways Bae 146-200 escape slide?

Just some of Simon's cards
Just some of Simon’s cards

And it’s not as though my collection is an exhaustive log of my flying. I spent four years commuting monthly to Chicago, working for Motorola, and a further eighteen months flying to and from Copenhagen for Sony Ericsson and yet there are only a few SAS cards, one United and no American Airlines even though I was a million miler on American.

Perhaps the commuting routes were too mundane. Since starting my own business at Fuss Free Phones, my commute is by bicycle from Finchley to Hoxton and, although navigating North London roads may be more dangerous than air travel, any flying at all seems exciting.

BA Compilation
BA Compilation

I can say that British Airways has the best produced cards, and that none of them use photographs of real people. The closest is Alitalia where there are 3D rendered pictures of people.

Using cartoons helps with one of the problems the designers have. How happy should the people look? No one is going to look like Daniel Ricciardo on a good day when being told to remove high heeled shoes.

But pictures of people looking worried are not the ideal either. Singapore avoids the problem by not showing faces. The girl on the SAS cards is of course blonde and attractive, with the cartoon of her blowing to the whistle being almost suggestive. Or perhaps that’s just me.

SAS girl
SAS girl

At least one of the cards was pilfered for me. I’ve never been on an A380. If I was a proper collector I’d be scouring Ebay for the card from a TWA DC3, and I’d know the value of my cards.

I’ve no idea. I’d like to think that, when my great grandchildren pop up on the equivalent of Antiques Roadshow in 100 years’ time, the cards might be of interest but I’ve just googled the value of my grandmother’s second world war ration books and they were probably worth more back then on the black market than they are today.

More of Simon's cards
More of Simon’s cards

Of course rarity helps, and you can expect that with electronic devices becoming ubiquitous the printed card will go.

Easyjet has already replaced the cards with stickers on the back of the headrest in front – which makes it a bit tricky to read in the brace position. So it may transpire that the prize of the collection is not the Air France Concorde card, but the Easyjet 737-700.

Simon has a lot of these
Even more flight safety cards

Thanks to Simon for letting me share these. Note: this is not a recommendation to start your own collection! But tell me in the comments, do you have a favourite?

Don’t say the SAS girl!

I’ll be back with a new piece next week.

Category: Fun Stuff,

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