People are reacting with horror to finding out that Southwest Airlines gave every passenger on a recent flight to Hawaii a ukulele and made them take lessons on how to play the instrument at 38,000 feet.
“This would be my nightmare situation,” commented private jet flight attendant Jacqueline on Twitter, with every other being in firm agreement. “That’s gonna be a loooooong flight,” commented Paloma, while KJ said they were “horrified and yet intrigued”.
Southwest pulled off the stunt with the help of Guitar Center who gifted 175 ukuleles to all the passengers onboard a Southwest Airlines flight from Long Beach to Honolulu on September 16 – the Mitchell MU40 Soprano ukulele to be precise, complete with a Hawaiian print case.
Once in the air, Alexandra Windsor and Ryan Miyashiro from Guitar Center led the passengers in a group lesson where they were taught to play the Hawaiian classic – Hello, Aloha. How are you?
And no, none of the passengers knew about the stunt before they boarded the plane and the lesson really did take place mid-flight. Brandy King, a senior director of public relations at Southwest said the lesson formed part of a ‘Surprise and Delight’ event that is meant to “create memorable experiences”.
“Today’s celebration of Hawaiian culture and Southwest hospitality underscore our everyday commitment to serve and celebrate the spirit of Aloha,” King continued.
Perhaps aware, however, that a mass ukulele lesson has the potential to divide opinion, a Southwest Airlines rep assured us that all the passengers put their gifted ukuleles away after 20 minutes “since they had already mastered how to play”.
Southwest first started flying to Hawaii in 2019 with an inaugural flight from Oakland to Honolulu. Unsurprisingly, however, the airline had to scale back Hawaii services at the start of the pandemic in March 2020 before adding back a slew of existing and new routes to the islands.