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Departing from Jeddah – a pre-flight supplication

Pre-flight announcements are different all over the world, and as well as the differences from airline to airline, there’s a cultural specificity to many of them.

Before an internal flight from Jeddah to Riyadh, a supplication to Allah for safety in travel is broadcast after the regular safety announcements you’d expect to hear on a flight – a sonic feature unique to the Muslim world.

This recording was taken on board a flight by Saudia, the national airline of Saudi Arabia – first, we hear all of the usual announcements, before a booming, reverb-heavy voice offers up the supplication right before takeoff.

City version:

This recording was reimagined by Andy Billington, who writes:

“I was inspired by the theatre of flying and the unnatural act of battling gravity in that liminal moment as the plane coasts towards the runway and begins the ritual for take off.

“That moment when you are all seated. Safety messages are presented as fact in many languages.

“You begin to coast towards the runway and the sun comes in through the small window as the plane turns. People are preparing for their journey with differing methods of distraction, music devices, iPads or other more ancient methods such as a book.

“All the while anticipation builds as the plane continues its take off ritual. Imagine being able to hear all of the different musical devices at once, mixed in with the theatre of flight (which still feels unnatural to me).

“We all sit ready to leave land in a pressurized metal tube. Everyone switches to flight mode.”

Memory version: