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In the battle of the airline safety videos, British Airways has delivered a killer blow. 

Last year, the British airline took direct aim at New Zealand's national carrier, saying "Hey, Air New Zealand, you're not the only one with a star-studded safety video". 

Featuring Sir Ian McKellan, Thandie Newton, Gordon Ramsay and Rowan Atkinson reprising his role as Mr Bean, the video was full of classic British dry humour and clocked up almost 25 million views. 

While adopting a similar format, the sequel is arguably even more hilarious. 

Introducing the pre-flight video, its "director", comedian Asim Chaudhry (aka Chabuddy G), says British A-listers were begging for parts. 

"Chabuddy, please let us be part of the sequel," he said, mimicking them in a high wine.

"It's pathetic really. And sure, they've got their Oscars, they've got their Baftas - but what they really want is a Sista - the Society of In-flight Safety Training Awards. They all want to get their hands on the golden wings... I quite fancy some wings actually. Can someone go chicken shop?"

The likes of Sir Michael Caine, Olivia Colman, Naomie Harris, David Walliams and Joanna Lumley are seen "auditioning" in humorous sketches, while simultaneously delivering those essential safety messages. 

The hapless director mistakes three-time Bafta winner Colman, star of The Crown and Broadchurch, for a tea lady and unwittingly offends Lumley.  

The Absolutely Fabulous star is required to tell passengers to remove their high heels because they could rip the emergency slide before delivering the painfully cheesy line "Don't worry, you'll all still look absolutely fabulous without them".

Giving Chabuddy, who "directs" each sketch, a withering look, Lumley asks whether the line is "strictly necessary". 

"Yeah," Chabuddy replies. "Otherwise people won't know who you are."

But it's not all about giving passengers a pre-flight laugh. Besides delivering the safety messages, the video promotes Flying Start, the global charity partnership between British Airways and Comic Relief which has supported over half a million children in the UK and some of the world's poorest communities since its 2010 launch. 

Unlike Air New Zealand's sometimes OTT videos (the one launched last July featured skiing down a pavlova, dipping a marshmallow in a boiling mud pit and a giant kea), the British video, which will roll out from this July, keeps things simple. 

No heavily-edited "fantastical" landscapes a la Air New Zealand, just the all-important safety information delivered with a generous helping of good humour.  

Air New Zealand has become increasingly intent on cramming its own safety videos with "celebrities", moving on from local actors and All Blacks to American stars Adrian Grenier, Katie Holmes and Cuba Gooding Jr. 

While intended to be a light-hearted take on what makes New Zealand unique, they have become increasingly bizarre. In trying too hard to surpass other airlines' videos, or their own, they've lost their sense of humour - to this viewer at least. 

Commenting on the latest video, which shows Grenier on a tour of Antarctica, in a Stuff article earlier this year, Darren Bevan says: "With its collection of bad dad jokes, goofy American tourist vibe and degree of Hollywood privilege, it simply seems to me like the bottom of the barrel being scraped."

But you be the judge. Let us know what you think of the British Airways video, or Air New Zealand's, in the comments below. 

Written by Lorna Thornber. Republish with permission of Stuff.co.nz.

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