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TODAY   |  March 01, 2013

‘Harlem Shake’ on plane draws FAA scrutiny

Members of the Colorado College ultimate Frisbee team, who filmed themselves doing the “Harlem Shake” on an airplane, talk about the FAA investigation into the incident, saying they asked permission from flight attendants to perform the stunt.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> meanwhile, the harlem shake craze has become a hit online.

>> now it's drawing the attention of federal investigators . stephanie gosk is here with the details. good morning, stephanie.

>> good morning, guys. anyone who has spent any time on youtube recently has seen someone doing the harlem shake . there's even a version done here at the "today" show. now authorities wonder if some kids may have taken it too far. on an airlines flight high above the rocky mountains , there are shakes on a plane. just like every other version of the viral dance craze , this harlem shake is contagious. looks like they're just having some fun but this clip has triggered a federal investigation. the faa wants to know whether or not the plane was at an altitude where seat belts are required by law. the colorado college ultimate frisbee team that came up with the idea says they asked for permission and this was meant to be a joke.

>> why not go for it? have some fun on our flight to san diego .

>> there is, after all, a dancing banana . frontier airlines wrote, we have a policy not to comment on things that are under investigation by the faa , but i can tell you that all safety measures were followed and the seat belt sign was off. an aviation expert told nbc news that the faa has no official policy for something like this, but they may be concerned that a plane filled with people dancing in the aisles could potentially block access if something were to happen in the back of the plane. this isn't the first time the harlem shake has stirred up trouble. six high school hockey players in minnesota were suspended from school, missed their final game and fined $75 by the police. the parents are furious over what they called an overreaction. the superintendent eventually apologized. the fine was dropped. still, the majority of youtube clips posted are harmless and most are pretty hilarious. another from colorado college earlier this month, signature dancing banana is there in the background. but in the air, on a plane, even a banana has to obey the seat belt sign. the harlem shake is causing some problems overseas as well. group of students in tunisia got into a scuffle with conservative muslims who tried to stop them. the education minister in that country says the students could be expeled and some faculty might lose their jobs. natalie and matt?

>> three of the college students from that frisbee team are with us now. good morning to you guys.

>> good morning.

>> matt, i understand you were the brainchild of this. now, what was your reaction, you know, of the flight when -- the flight crew when you actually told them you had this idea and you wanted to do this?

>> they were genuinely very excited. everything -- before we did anything really, we were making sure and checking in with the flight crew , making sure everything was safe and approved by them beforehand.

>> when you say the flight crew , do you know if the flight attend attendants pass this had by the pilot and co-pilot on that flight?

>> we actually only interacted with the flight attendants . i interacted with them from the moment i stepped on the plane, asking them to make sure it was okay. i don't know if they were checking in with the pilot. i would assume so. it is his flight. but i really can't speak for him.

>> it looks like a full-on dance party on that plane. some of the video, it almost seems like the plane is kind of shaking there. did you have any hesitation at all about doing this while the plane was in the air, connor?

>> well, we were really -- we talked to the flight attendants all the time and we were really aware of what they were telling us. in essence they were saying everything was a go. we weren't really aware. the video looks shaky, matt's holding a handheld camera. he's not doing a good job of holding it in place.

>> i know this is going to make me sound like an old stick in the mud. maybe that's because i am. if you're an elderly passenger on this plane or any other passenger, perhaps afraid of flying to begin with and all of a sudden this happens around you and starts you and someone ends up having a heart attack or passing out, what would we be talking about this morning? do you think we're right up against that line of it's all fun till someone gets hurt?

>> for us, it was never about anything more than trying to have fun.

>> i know, but what about some unsuspecting passenger on the plane?

>> so we were really talking to everybody. as a team, we were spread out across the whole plane, in contact with everyone around us and it was like we really were in touch with everybody. if something was going on with someone, we would have been ready for it. the flight attendants were in on this. it wasn't the kind of thing where it was just happening. we really were aware of everyone on the plane.

>> the flight crew even allowed you to use the p.a. system to tell the other passengers.

>> now that the faa is investigating this, do you have any regrets about how this went down?

>> no.

>> we really were being safe the whole time. so it wasn't about nels anything else than having fun on one of our really important tournaments this year. no regrets.

>> gentlemen, i hope you did well on your ultimate frisbee contest, by the way.

>> thank you.

>> take care, guys. gavin nashbar, connor crowley and matt, thanks.