Should There Be Restrictions on What Content You Can or Cannot Watch on the In-Flight Entertainment System?
L et us say that you are a passenger on a flight who decides to watch a movie provided by the airline on its in-flight entertainment system aboard the airplane. A flight attendant stops by to request that you watch a different movie because your seat mate is uncomfortable with what you are watching.
What would you do?
FlyerTalk member Dafuq recalled this incident after watching the movie Nonstop starring Liam Neeson and Julianne Moore. I never watched the movie; but this is the synopsis as provided by the Internet Movie Database:
An air marshal springs into action during a transatlantic flight after receiving a series of text messages that put his fellow passengers at risk unless the airline transfers $150 million into an off-shore account.
The passenger seated next to Dafuq asked what Dafuq was watching but did not directly express her discomfort. She apparently informed the flight attendant, who then requested that the movie be changed.
“In the end I just stopped the movie as I felt no point arguing or escalating this matter or making it a big deal since people were already staring at me weirdly”, posted Dafuq.
Unlike the female passenger, I would have not been uncomfortable. I even posted in this article about safety videos on July 11, 2014 that “I would have no problem watching an airline disaster movie while in flight.”
I suppose I am weird that way — but that is just me; and I digress as usual.
My thought is that if the airline supplies it for passenger use on its equipment, then the passenger should be able to use it — whether what is supplied is a movie on the in-flight entertainment system or reclining a seat…
…but I want to know what in the world that woman was doing looking at a different in-flight entertainment system other than the one assigned to her seat. Dafuq would have had to have been using headphones; so unless the sound was unusually loud — which in and of itself would be annoying — the female passenger would not have heard the dialogue and the sound effects from the film.
Before you say “since when is it the business of another passenger to determine what I can and cannot watch?”, consider this: what if the passenger next to you was watching pornographic movies on a personal electronic device such as a tablet or laptop computer? What if you had a child nearby while that was happening? Does that change anything?
What about this story back in December of 2013 where a mother of two young children posted a petition wanting American Airlines, Austrian Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and NBC Universal to stop showing violent and sexually inappropriate movies and television programs on drop-down and bulkhead screens aboard airplanes? This was after she allegedly witnessed several movies with French dialogue showing scenes with domestic abuse and sexual situations accompanied by English subtitles laced with profanity. Does the mother have a concern legitimate enough to warrant what other passengers should and should not watch on the larger shared movie screens or monitors? What readers of The Gate posted in the Comments section was quite an interesting discussion, which I would like to continue here.
As I indicated before, I do not believe there is a clear bright line which should dictate what is suitable and not suitable for the viewing by all passengers. Could it not be argued that Elmer Fudd shooting Daffy Duck squarely in the face with a shotgun in cartoons created by Warner Brothers 75 years ago is too violent for children?
I know when I watched those cartoons years ago, I did not have a sudden urge to go shoot someone with a real gun. I prefer shooting people with a camera — but that is just me…
…and as I once confessed, I still enjoy those old Warner Brothers cartoons. Rabbit Seasoning is still one of my favorite cartoons — especially starting at 1:59 with the “pronoun trouble” part — but once again, I digress.
In my opinion — whether pertaining to the debates over seat recline, who is entitled to the armrests, obese passengers on an airplane, or this kerfuffle over what you can and cannot watch aboard an airplane during a flight — civility, politeness and consideration for fellow passengers should be practiced and exercised by everyone, as they can go a very long way towards a more peaceful, relaxing and comfortable flight. If the passenger seated next to Dafuq was truly uncomfortable, she could have at least said so directly instead of involving a flight attendant and not place Dafuq in an awkward situation, in my opinion.
What are your thoughts?
Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.