The other day a reporter I know sent me an email looking for a quote about a family-related topic she was writing about for her travel column. I agreed. At issue was whether or not airlines should show movies in-flight that contain violent content, considering there are almost always some young children on board.
The topic was newsy because last month Rep. Heath Shuler, D-N.C., and Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C.. introduced the Family Friendly Flights Act which would require a separate seating area for kids and families “if a covered air carrier provides publicly viewable entertainment screens on which violent in-flight programming is displayed.”
The bill was prompted by the outrage of a parent names Jesse Kalisher who was flying with his kids in a plane that showed the movie King Kong. “The children were sleeping, but Kalisher was upset that, if the kids were awake, it would have been impossible to shield them from scary scenes in a movie rated PG-13 for violence,” the column says.
That movie does have some really scary scenes. I saw it on cable TV and I definitely wouldn’t want my three-year old watching that movie.
Kalisher would like the airlines to agree to show only G or PG-rated material during flights, but the airlines don’t seem interested in complying. He gathered a group of like-minded parents and now we have the Family Friendly Flights Act. “Ideally we’d like airlines to self-regulate and come up with a system that provides entertainment that appeals to adults but doesn’t terrify children,” Kalisher said. “This legislation will at least require airlines to make sure kids can’t see the monitors.”
I would be in favor of a family-friendly section in airplanes. As my friend Meredith pointed out, maybe the airlines could throw in a perk and hire flight attendants who actually like children. And I have an idea, maybe in the family-friendly section, there could be a normal place to change diapers, instead of on the floor, which I’ve had to do. Or in the impossibly small bathroom where your baby looks at you like you’re crazy the whole time you’re trying to keep him balanced on the changing tray and deal with the diapers.
But back to the column, I kind of waffled. One the one hand, I agreed with Kalisher that it’s hard for parents to keep their kids from looking at the movie screen and I said that it is up to the airlines to show content that won’t traumatize some of the passengers on board. But then I also said that I didn’t think the airlines should be required to show only PG and G-rated films. I guess I don’t think the world should have to stop and step aside just because my kid is coming its way.
So basically, I contradicted myself. What do you guys think? Should airlines be required to show kid-friendly films or is a family-friendly section the way to go?