Flight Diverted and Parents Detained After Voicing Concerns Over PG-13 Inflight Movie
When it comes to murder mystery characters, James Patterson’s Detective Alex Cross is on the top of our list, but we definitely do not want our kids watching him in action. So we can totally understand why one family asked a United flight attendant to see about turning off their monitor during a flight from Denver to Baltimore when the PG-13 movie Alex Cross was the in-flight entertainment. Considering their kids were only 4 and 8 years old, it sounds pretty reasonable to us.
According to The Atlantic, the parents were told there was nothing the attendant could do about turning off their screen, so they made a request to higher authority. “We asked if the captain has the authority to address this issue, but received no response,” the unidentified father writes in a passenger report posted by The Atlantic. “Throughout these interactions the atmosphere was collegial, no voices were raised, no threats, implicit or explicit, of any kind were made.”
The parents say they did their best to distract them from the movie, since the airline was unable to help with keeping the kids from seeing the violent thriller on the screen at their seats. “The flight continued without incident, while my wife and I engaged our children to divert their attention from the horrific scenes on the movie screens,” he writes.
Little did the family know that an hour later, the flight would make an unscheduled landing in Chicago for “security concerns."
“After landing a Chicago police officer boarded the plane and, to our disbelief, approached us and asked that we collect our belongings, and follow her to disembark,” the father wrote. Apparently, the captain called on Chicago police, two Border Protection officers, and several United and Chicago O’Hare managers, and an FBI agent, who interviewed and ran background checks on the family.
The dad pointed out two major issues he has with the captain’s decision. “First, the abuse of power by Captain [XX]. We understand that airline captains can and should have complete authority. However, when this authority is used for senseless, vindictive acts, it must be addressed. Second, and of even greater concern is United’s decision to inflict upon minors grossly inappropriate cinematic content, without parents or guardians having the ability to opt out.”
We can’t help but see this issue from both sides — on the one hand, parents have to be able to make the call on what their kids can and can’t watch — and we’re not sure why the airlines would make such a huge deal about closing one screen on the plane in the family’s row.
On the other hand, after everything our country has been through, it’s not strange for authorities to be overly cautious, regardless of how annoying it might be for passengers. After all, the only thing worse than our kids watching violence would be for them to have to experience it firsthand. And obviously, we cross our fingers that never happens.