Why are Virgin Atlantic introducing emotional warnings on flights?

Why are we more likely to cry on a plane? Could it be that travel is nearly always an emotional experience? Are we, with so much time at our disposal, more inclined to watch weepy films? Is it because you have just said goodbye or are looking forward to new adventures? Maybe it’s the immersive experience of watching with headphones and not sharing your screen? Medically it is well documented that the lower air pressure of an aircraft can cause changes in your mood, personality, behaviour and cognitive functioning. That might well have something to do with it. The truth is nobody knows for sure. But one thing is certain. Whatever the reason, a chat between friends will confirm that movies unlikely to bring you to tears on the ground often have you welling up at 30,000 feet.

This is why we have introduced special notifications before weepy movies to let you know that you’re about to see a tearjerker. With emotions running 38,000 feet high the notifications reassure you that crew are on hand to help.

Heart-wrenching blockbusters such as Lion, Moonlight and Bridget Jones’ Baby are among the most popular films we’re showing on board this summer – however, the highs and lows of the movies have led to a few sneaky tears on board.

The lighthearted warnings appear before a selection of 13 movies, and advise customers to have their tissues ready and press the call button if they need a shoulder to cry on. It’s the second time we’ve added the emotion notices – we also introduced them in 2011 to coincide with a particularly heart-wrenching collection of films.

Carly Swaine

Carly Swaine

“It’s well-known that emotions are heightened on a flight, and we often spot customers shedding a tear over a movie,” said Carly Swaine, a member of our cabin crew. “Many of our customers are jetting off on adventures such as round the world trips, honeymoons or visiting distant relatives so it’s not surprising that movies create stronger emotions in the sky. There are a few real tearjerkers on board at the moment so the notifications help reassure customers that it’s fine to let their feelings show, or to call the crew for a cup of tea.”

Our top five tearjerkers on board this summer are:

1 Bridget Jones baby

2 Moonlight

3 Sing

4 Collateral Beauty

5 La La Land

Content which is unsuitable for children or nervous flyers also displays a warning, and all movies feature a BBFC classification rating.

inflight emotional warning

About Dave Gunner

Dave is the co-editor of Ruby, the Virgin Atlantic Blog. He has worked at Virgin Atlantic for over two decades. In that time he has amassed some truly epic memories but never lost his fascination with the airline world. Dave's on a mission to bring you some great insights into our people, planes and planet.
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