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Family Kicked Off Plane for Whining About In-Flight Movie

A United Airlines flight from Denver to Baltimore was diverted last February after a family complained about the movie that was being shown on-board. According to the Daily Mail, a family with two young children complained about the PG-13 movie that was being shown on the plane’s monitors, and repeatedly insisted that the movie be turned off.

After the flight attendants denied their request (stating that it was not possible to turn off just the television monitor near the offended family), the family escalated their complaint to the captain. (Read the family’s version of the incident, submitted to The Atlantic, here.)

Instead of dealing with the irate family, the captain opted to divert the flight to Chicago, and have the family escorted off the plane.

The movie being shown (on drop-down television screens scattered about the cabin—not individual seat-back televisions) was the 2012 flop Alex Cross. While I too, would be offended that the airline chose to show this disaster of a Tyler Perry/Matthew Fox film, the beauty of an in-flight movie is that you can choose not to plug in your headphones, and no one is forcing you to watch it. Couldn’t the parents have told the kids not to watch the screens, and distracted them with some other books or entertainment they deemed suitably educational, rather than causing a big stink and inconveniencing everyone on board?

I’ve been on flights before when R-rated movies are offered on seat-back televisions for flyers to watch if they choose—should no one sitting near a kid be allowed to watch a racy or violent movie just in case the child should catch a glimpse?

However, the captain definitely overreacted as well here—diverting the plane seems excessive.

Who do you think was in the wrong here? Tell us in the comments!

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