No wonder airlines are cutting IFE

Today’s travel article on MSN is about a United flight back in February that was diverted after a parents of young children complained about the movie being aired.

I haven’t seen the movie, Alex Cross, but on no plane have I ever been required to listen to more than the trailer and very rarely are the monitors visible from a few feet away. I think the parents are taking it out on the airline for not providing enough entertainment for their kids. A logical person would see this and determine seat-back TVs are the way to go, but I’m sure United will use this to justify removing IFE.


  1. I thought that all airlines had some sort of PG systems plus editing as well. Not sure why movies like this one need to be presented on any flights.

    And yes, even without sound, “a picture is worth a thousand words”.

  2. This is the synopsis of the movie:

    Dr. Alex Cross is on his last police duty to track down an assassin called Picasso, who’s been torturing and killing rich businessmen in Detroit. Soon when the mission gets personal, Cross is pushed to the edge of his moral and psychological limits to end this once and for all.

    The children in question were 4 and 8 years old. The TV was on a drop down screen that they could see, just by looking up.

    Do you have young children? Do you think that sounds appropriate for kids of that age to see? United should not have show this film to a general audience.

    Maybe you should blog a little more gracefully.

    1. I’ve tried many times to watch movies on those monitors. I have a much better viewing angle since I’m a good bit taller than they are and I can barely see the thing for the life of me. Many times when I get home I rewatch a movie if I liked the plot and I’m amazed at how much I miss.

      Plus I’ve never watched a movie on the overhead that was not edited for language and content so I’m sure the version aired by United was nothing like the theatrical version.

  3. Unreal. The parents should have just taped a piece of paper over the monitor (other passengers nearby are reported to say they were fine not watching).

  4. I agree with Lindsay – I have a 2.5 and 4.5 year old and I would be horrified if this movie was showing on the overhead monitors.

    I bring plenty of other things to divert my children’s attention (including a laptop and an iPod loaded with kids’ shows) but I can’t force them not to look up at some particularly violent moment.

  5. It is clear you don’t know the power that the lure of the tv has over kids – and if you are an 8 year old boy and you see violence chances are you will keep looking at it. It was not an appropriate movie choice for a movie that is broadcast to the whole plane.

  6. grace, you just made 2 assumptions that have absolutely no evidence or meaning to this story.

    Your first assumption has no meaning without more information – in fact I find it completely false in my experience with kids. In fact, it is usually part of why we pick equipment that has IFE when flying with kids.

    I don’t even know how to go after your second assumption…editing for language is one thing, but you can’t remove stuff that is inappropriate for a 4 year old from a PG-13 movie when a main character is ‘a ferociously skilled serial killer who specializes in torture and pain’.

    1. Jason, Someone on Flyertalk mentioned the same thing…his kids are never comfortable watching movies in the plane because they are either too close or too far away from the overhead TVs.
      Would you act in a way that would cause the flight diverted and inconvenience everyone on the plane?

      Do I think it was a great movie for United to show? No. I haven’t seen the movie, nor had I even heard of the movie so I’m just judging based on what I have read on the internet. I’m not defending United for showing it. I’m still waiting for someone on the plane to pipe up and offer another perspective on this. So far it’s just the parent from the flight claiming to be calm and yet a flight got diverted over a movie. You will never please everyone. I was at the theatre last month watching Oz the Great and Powerful. I was next to a girl who was maybe 4-5 watching the movie with her mother. During a few of the scarier scenes the girl screamed “MOM I TOLD YOU I DIDN’T WANT TO SEE THIS.” That was a PG movie (and for the record the mother never took the girl out after that). Other cultures find any kissing to be very offensive (I had an adult friend who stopped talking to me after I kissed a man in front of her. I had no clue how offensive her culture found kissing until Richard Gere’s incident). Many movies have kissing that is usually not edited out and I have not heard anything about flights getting diverted or even of people complaining about movies.

      There is clearly something more going on here than United showing a horrible movie. It’s no wonder many airlines do not show overhead movies anymore. The movies shown on personal TVs are often movies they would not show overhead, yet a kid can catch a glance at one of those movies just as easily. I could also choose to watch Alex Cross on my own which could easily be in the line of sight of a kid and the parent might not even notice.

  7. My son at 4 years old got scared and hid behind the couch during Winnie the Pooh. As an adult you will say WOW what a scaredy-cat! However you watch it with a small child and see how they react during the scenes where Pooh is getting scared of the unknown SOMETHING at the door. The ones of you who minimize this, don’t have recent experience with little people. Having a child showed me how sick American TV options are, endless parade of gruesome murders that’s A-OK but a 1-second view of a nipple is only for adults.

  8. I purchased this DVD and after watching the trailor, I didn’t watch it because of the violence, and I’m 60 so I’ve seen a lot. I kept the DVD, as my husband said he might watch it without me.

    1. An unfortunate side effect of all of this is that Alex Cross is getting plenty of media attention. I thought about renting it to see how bad it really is (I hate gore), but I did not want to support this movie since no one seems to be piping up with any redeeming qualities for it.

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