Stay Connected to Common Sense
Trapped on a Plane with an In-Flight Movie
Talk about a tricky parenting situation -- you're trapped on an airplane playing a movie on the drop-down screen that's totally wrong for your kids. Whether it's scary, sexy, violent, or otherwise age-inappropriate, there's not much you can do. Parents can ask the flight attendants for special accommodations, but even that doesn't always work. Here are some ways to address the problem.
Check before you go. Check with the airline to see what movie is playing, then check our movie ratings to see what you need to watch out for, and get suggestions on how to discuss it with your kids.
Talk to your kids. Prepare them before the flight. Let them know that they might see images you don't think are age-appropriate for them. Talk about how they feel when they see them, and let them know what they mean to you.
Bring alternatives. Cards, games, books -- anything to keep them from looking up at the screen. And be prepared to be engaged with your kids; they may need extra help to be distracted from what's playing.
Choose a different airline. Learn which airlines have back-of-seat screens, so you can help kids choose age-appropriate material.
Fight fire with fire. It seems silly to play a movie just to distract your kid from the one playing overhead, but it does offer you more control. Load up an iPad or bring a laptop with a selection of DVDs. Airports often rent out portable DVD players, too.
Write to the airlines. Let the airlines know how you feel about this issue. Suggest movies that you'd rather see or other alternatives -- including non-movie options (TV shows, short-subject videos, etc.). You can also file complaints with the Department of Transportation.