‘This is a violation of the Geneva Convention’: Southwest Airlines is mercilessly mocked after giving ukuleles to every passenger on a 6 hour flight from LA to Hawaii and gives them lessons 30,000 feet in the air
- Last Friday, Southwest Airlines and Guitar Center collaborated to present 150 passengers with free $60 ukuleles and taught them to play
- The lesson was not so warmly welcomed on social media with one person even comparing it to a war crime
- Despite the flight time of five hours and 50 minutes, the lesson only lasted for 20 minutes and took place after the drinks cart went through the cabin
- This was part of ongoing promotional effort between Southwest and Guitar Center with the instrument store offering a free trip to Hawaii to customers
The world’s first ukulele lesson at 30,000 feet took place last Friday on a Southwest Airlines flight from Long Beach to Honolulu.
Sadly, the class was not warmly welcomed on social media with one user even suggesting that a war crimes trial would be suitable for whomever okayed the idea of handing out free ukuleles to passengers.
The project was a collaboration between Southwest and instrument retailer Guitar Center. The organizers called it the ‘first ever in-flight ukulele lesson.’ The passengers were taught to play ‘Hello, Aloha. How are you?’ in its entirety.
The flight time between Long Beach and Honolulu is five hours and 50 minutes. There 175 passengers on board for the lesson.
The idea of being on the flight was enough to create a firestorm on Twitter. The Atlantic’s Tom Nichols tweeted: ‘I am a big fan of Southwest, but this might have made me homicidal.’
Passengers were given free ukuleles last Friday on a Southwest Airlines flight from Long Beach to Honolulu
This is one of the many viral responses that the promotion received
In a press release Southwest Airlines said that they were happy to join in the celebration of Hawaiian culture saying it ‘underscores our everyday commitment to serve and celebrate the spirit of Aloha’
User Omri Ceren tweeted: ‘This is why The Hague exists,’ a reference to the war crimes trials that take place in the Dutch city.
Someone else took on that theme, tweeted about the giveaway: ‘This is a violation of the Geneva Convention.’
Another person wrote: ‘What if you didn’t want to hear a cacophony of ukuleles? What if you just wanted to sit in silence for the entire flight and watch TV or read, like a regular flight?’
The promotion seemingly backfired with Southwest getting roasted on Twitter
One Twitter user said that those behind the promotion deserved to be on trial for war crimes
The promotion led to one person suggesting an alternative method of transportation
The ukuleles that were handed by Southwest and Guitar Center are worth $60
There is an ongoing collaboration between Southwest and Guitar Center in which customers at the music store can win a trip to Hawaii
Amtrak even got in on the fun, posting a photo of the Southwest passengers with the caption: ‘btw we have a quiet car.’
While another said: ‘Trapped thousands of feet in the air with 180 people strumming ukuleles they don’t know how to play sounds like the opposite of “fun”…’
A user named Howiszhu tweeted: ‘I would be on the no fly list if this happened to me.’
A passenger who was on board tweeted: ‘My flight was supposed to leave 20 minutes ago and a Southwest employee just busted out a ukulele to entertain us.’
Some people took it more seriously, one person tweeted: ‘You harassed an entire flight for a promotional partnership?!
They went on: ‘As someone with sensory processing issues related to noise, I would literally have been bent double in my seat, arms over my head, sobbing, and having a panic attack.’
Another wrote on Twitter: ‘I AM a music teacher and I would object to this. as much as I would personally like a free ukulele, I don’t think other people should be subjected to that against their will.’
A passenger who was on board tweeted: ‘My flight was supposed to leave 20 minutes ago and a Southwest employee just busted out a ukulele to entertain us’
The lesson took place after the drinks service went through the cabin
The ukuleles that were given to the passengers retail for $60, according to Guitar Center’s website
Although the video shows that most of the passengers seem to be enjoying the lessons, except for a for a few masked individuals who are not playing the little guitars
At least one person didn’t think it was such a bad idea. The user, Joseph_Joe_M, said: ‘Never heard such a bunch of fun-free whiners in my life. This is a great idea and if you can’t take 20 minutes of ukulele practice without it threatening your piece of mind, maybe you should try swimming to Hawaii next time if you need that much quiet.’
Southwest responded to the negative response saying on Twitter: ‘Don’t worry, y’all, everyone put their ukuleles away after 20 minutes since they had already mastered how to play.’
Although the video shows that most of the passengers seem to be enjoying the lessons, except for a for a few masked individuals who are not playing the little guitars.
The group’s teacher, Alexandra Windsor, who is the educational affairs specialist for Guitar Center Lessons, told KTLA: ‘I’ve taught students through Guitar Center Lessons since 2014, but never in an airplane. It was inspiring to see how quickly passengers of all ages picked up the ukulele – many with no musical background.’
The lesson took place after the drinks service went through the cabin.
The ukuleles that were given to the passengers retail for $60, according to Guitar Center’s website. They were also given a free case to keep their new gifts safe.
Windsor told KTLA: ‘The ukulele is the perfect instrument for beginners, and it shows just how fun and easy learning something new can be.’
She was joined on the flight by two other Hawaiian based teachers, Ryan Miyashiro and Ryan Imata.
In a press release Southwest Airlines said that they were happy to join in the celebration of Hawaiian culture saying it ‘underscores our everyday commitment to serve and celebrate the spirit of Aloha.’
Southwest posted a photo of the passengers on Twitter adding: ‘By the time they arrived in Honolulu they were pros.’
There is an ongoing collaboration between Southwest and Guitar Center in which customers at the music store can win a trip to Hawaii. You can enter here. The deadline is September 30.
Portuguese immigrant Joao Fernandez brought the ukulele to Hawaii in the late 19th century. In its native land, the little guitar is known as a branguinha.
The instrument took off among locals on the island where it was rechristened the ukulele, which translate as ‘jumping flea.’
In 1961, the instrument was brought to the world when Elvis Presley famously played it during the movie Blue Hawaii.