Home Airlines “Adult” Movies & Kids On Planes: Should Airlines Draw A Line? Where & When?

“Adult” Movies & Kids On Planes: Should Airlines Draw A Line? Where & When?

by SharonKurheg

Not long ago, we reported how it was discovered that Delta was playing an edited version of “Booksmart” on its flights that had, among other things, the removal of a lesbian kissing scene, while kissing scenes between males and females remained uncut.

The ending of the story was that Delta hadn’t requested or given permission for that edited version to play, and not long after that, they started playing the intended version of the film on its flights.

When we posted our article about this on our Facebook group, we got a lot of feedback from our members. Paraphrased, the gist from most of them was they wished airlines would remove all love scenes, violence and adult language from in-flight entertainment because of the young children on the flights.

Meanwhile, a couple of weeks later, this thread came up on Reddit (heads up that some of the 4,000+ replies have some adult language). But mainly, the issue was that a mother on a plane demanded that a man turn off “Game of Thrones” (which includes lots of scenes of a sexual or violent nature) on his own device because her son could see the screen (Note: said woman and child were 2 rows behind the man, who was wearing headphones. So take that as you will, but that part of the story isn’t really in reference to this post).

And that’s when conversations become interesting…

It’s one thing when a plane shows a movie that’s, let’s say, rated R but has been edited to remove certain words, visuals or situations. That’s been going on for decades. From How Stuff Works:

But with the explosion of in-flight entertainment choices comes a new twist on an old dilemma. When you turn every seatback…into a movie screen, how do you make sure that potentially offensive content — graphic violence, nudity and culturally insensitive gags — isn’t thrust in the faces of kids or the unsuspecting passenger in the middle seat?

You do what the entertainment industry and airlines have always done; you censor them. For the biggest blockbuster movies, studios themselves create an “airline version,” which is scrubbed of the bloodiest violence, the steamiest love scenes, as well as any references to plane crashes or terrorists.

It’s another when said (unedited) movie is on a passenger’s own device and there’s a stranger’s child next to or behind him, who can see the screen. There seem to be two camps of thinking about it:

I’m an adult and this is what I want to watch. Being on a plane is no different from viewing happenings while walking around in public & it’s your job to keep your kids distracted from things you don’t want them to see

Granted, I don’t think these people mean they like to watch porn on planes (although maybe they do. Actually, I did some Googling and yeah, some do.). I think they mean they’re old enough and want to watch the unedited, original versions of R-rated movies. It’s not their responsibility to ensure a child doesn’t watch the screen along with them, the same as it’s not their responsibility if a kid sees a hetero couple making out at the mall or a gay couple exchanging a kiss at a restaurant.

Watching a movie like that while on a plane is inappropriate, especially when there are children who could inadvertently see it

It’s an issue that’s been going on for over a decade. Parents who have younger children understandably don’t want to have to explain the love scene being played in the tablet next to them, and more refined adults might not be comfortable with the person next to them watching Alive or something about Flight 93. Even I might feel weird if someone in the seat next to me was watching porn during the flight.

I suspect the general feeling of people in this camp is that adults who watch “adult” movies, even on their own devices and with headphones are, are being self-centered and not thinking of their fellow passengers.

What do you think?

Should passengers be allowed to watch whatever they want on a plane? Is it up to parents to ensure their children don’t see what they don’t want them to see? How do the airlines have a role in all of this? Should they set limits? Where should the line be?

I have my own opinion of this, which is sort of a mashup between the two. What do you think? I’d really like to know.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


Chris W. December 5, 2019 - 6:29 pm

Porn no on a plane no. Maybe in bizz class when you have privacy. Anything else yes. Happy that KLM showed the sixty greys movies. Raise kids with seeing stuff. (Im 39 have kids 15 and 17). They will otherwise in secret. I am more worried about guns as sex.

Christian December 5, 2019 - 9:57 pm

Well said. Violence is much worse than moderately adult sexual content. It’s a European perspective more than here in the USA, and obviously works better.

Shane K. December 5, 2019 - 6:49 pm

@Chris W. I’m with you – kids need to see way more guns than sex. They need to be taught how to shoot safe and straight. Sex doesn’t have to be safe or straight.

Shane K. December 5, 2019 - 6:51 pm

Oh, by the way, I’m 48, and have kids that are 22, 20, 17, 15, 13, 13, 11, and 9. They all can shoot safe and straight. There are more guns here in Montana than people – best place on earth to live!

ChuckMO December 5, 2019 - 7:06 pm

It’s a slippery slope. How do you know if the adult sitting next to you has religious views that oppose the movie your watching? With kids its different to an extent. If I were sitting next to a child and wanted to watch the IFE, I personally would try not to watch something too explicit. Then again, I paid for my ticket like everyone else and maybe I want to watch a flick that has some violence or some sexual content, do I not have that right? Try to use common sense for the most part.

HockeyCoachBen December 5, 2019 - 7:30 pm

The question becomes if we edit movies or censor what people can watch on their own devices while on planes, where do we draw the line? As previously mentioned – sex, violence, foul/offensive language – seem to be a grey area. But what’s to stop an airline or whoever from deleting scenes with LGBTQ, political, or religious content that they personally may object to? Heck, even possibly deleting product placement scenes that may be for competitors?

To me, if you start down that road, you need to be prepared to pull all entertainment options. It’s an all or nothing proposition, I think. You can’t pick and choose what’s ok to watch for someone else!

Jimmy December 6, 2019 - 1:38 am

All the kids I know won’t look up from their screens for anything, so it’s a bit of a moot point.

Jinxed_K December 6, 2019 - 11:41 am

The title made me think people were watching porn on their devices.
I think if the airline is offering it in the cabin, then it should be fair game to watch it. Personal devices, as stated above could become a slippery slope.
It also feels like it’s mainly a US issue with violence, language, and nudity in programming… my non-US friends keep complaining how the US seems to overdo the censorship and general prudishness of viewers.

SharonKurheg December 6, 2019 - 12:03 pm

Some people do indeed watch porn on their devices. But even stuff that’s rated R is not really intended for children, so…


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