Saturday, April 6, 2013

Fly The Un-Friendly Skies

United Airline's overreaction to a family's concern over some inflight entertainment led to a flight being diverted over "security concerns."

A family of four was traveling from Denver to Baltimore with two young sons, ages 4 and 8. During the flight, the PG-13-rated detective film "Alex Cross" was shown on drop-down monitors across the plane.  The family worried about their young children seeing inappropriate content in the film, which features scenes of torture, dismemberment and extreme violence.

"Alarmed by the opening scenes, we asked two flight attendants if they could turn off the monitor; but both claimed it was not possible," the family said.  After some back and forth between the family and the flight crew, the family reportedly relented to the movie being shown and did their best to engage their children to keep them from watching the movie.

"We asked if the captain had the authority to address this issue, but received no response," the children's father said. "Throughout these interactions the atmosphere was collegial, no voices were raised and no threats, implicit or explicit, of any kind were made. 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."

But shortly after that, the captain announced the flight was being diverted to a Chicago airport due to "security concerns."   When the family disembarked, they were questioned by law enforcement officials then booked on a new flight.

The family argues the captain overreacted to the incident.  "We understand that airline captains can and should have complete authority," the family said. "However, when this authority is used for senseless, vindictive acts, it must be addressed."

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