Mikey Tongko-Burry, a Virgin flight attendant, gave one last farewell safety video performance before the company was taken over by Alaska Airlines, which purchased the carrier last year.
The Virgin crew member, who lives in Brentwood, California, became an internet sensation after the airline debuted a video aired by filmmaker Jon Chu in 2013 that uses dancers to illustrate the pre-flight safety instructions.
Now that the carrier is being absorbed by Alaska Airlines, the safety video will change and Tongko-Burry will have to adapt his routine accordingly. “So many thoughts and emotions as I gave my last performance of the VX Safety Demo this afternoon. It's been a wild and crazy #VirginAmerica ride. Love you all for sharing this journey with me,” he said.
Passengers on the flight also commented on the flight attendant’s performances, praising Tongko-Burry’s enthusiasm and commitment. “Not all heroes wear capes! Ty Mikey for making our flights awesome' and another person tweeted: 'You'll be a living vessel for this song once it's retired (btw I want to hear this!),” one passenger wrote.
The video of Tongko-Burry’s final performance was posted by passenger Hunter Walk, who wrote, “Virgin America Safety Film being retired next week so our flight attendant danced it for us.” As of Monday afternoon, the clip had been viewed nearly 900,000 times.
Even Archer star Aisha Tyler thanked Tongko-Burry, "I will miss @mikeytburry's 'safety dance.' Only he could make passengers laugh, clap AND feel safe and taken care of in his very special way. I was lucky to experience one of his onboard performances! 🕺🏾⚡️"
And New York Times technology reporter Mike Isaac wrote, “I’ve had this guy on my flight before. He has perfected the routine. Tru hero.”
Virgin America ceased to exist in April, but its safety video has lived on until now. The last time it was shown was on Sunday. Tongko-Burry has been a Virgin America crew member since 2011. Since then, he’s performed the safety video countless times.
The five-minute clip includes dancers and former contestants from So You Think You Can Dance and American Idol who act out the in-flight safety regulations in hilarious fashion.
“The most important aspect of any safety video is that people actually pay attention to it. Too often the dry, perfunctory safety messaging used in the past was tuned out,” Chu said when it was filmed.
“We don't care how you deliver it, as long as it's imparted to passengers,” added FAA spokesperson Alison Duquette.