On the Fly

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
On the Fly TV Poster Image
Reality show is amusing promotional vehicle for Southwest.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The series shows the trials and tribulations of airline travel primarily from the customer service agents' point of view, with some messages about patience, the benefits of being friendly, and the value of having fun on the job.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The agents appear professional and calm most of the time. Customers are sometimes rude.


Angry passengers sometimes yell and curse when they are frustrated or feel they are being treated unfairly.


Suitcase mishandling leads to the damage of bras and other intimate apparel.


Words like "hell" are audible. Stronger cursing is bleeped with mouths blurred.


The series is a promotional vehicle for Southwest Airlines. Its logo is prominently visible throughout the show and all the central characters are Southwest employees.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that On The Fly is a promotional vehicle for Southwest Airlines and focuses on their customer service and behind-the-scenes operations. Frustrated passengers often swear ("hell"; stronger vocab bleeped with mouths blurred), and at times yell at agents. Outside of this it's pretty mild.

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What's the story?

ON THE FLY is a reality show featuring the behind-the-scenes customer service operations of Southwest Airlines, an airline known for its friendly, playful customer service agents. Based in major airports like Baltimore and Denver, viewers get to watch as their agents deal with customers who are frustrated or angry about things ranging from flight delays to the accidental destruction of their luggage. It also shows how they deal with certain emergencies. It isn't always easy, but they work together to satisfy their customers and get them to their destinations safely.

Is it any good?

The series is a remake of the reality show Airline, and serves as a promotional vehicle for Southwest Airlines by offering a voyeuristic look into the world of air travel from their customer service agents' perspective. As a result, much of the show focuses on how professionally the agents handle difficult situations and clients, and how impossible some customers can be when things go wrong.

While it underscores Southwest's efforts to deal with issues in a positive way, it also reveals some of the problems that airline customers continue to face when flying, like poor communication from supervisors and contradictory airline policies. Some folks may find it fun to watch, but frequent flyers may find the problems a little too realistic.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the reasons why an airline would agree to be showcased on a reality show. What makes this line of work interesting? Is it the passengers that are supposed to make it entertaining?

  • Do you think employees act differently when the cameras are rolling? Why or why not? Why do you think customers agree to be shown on this series, even when they're acting poorly?

TV details

  • Premiere date: May 24, 2012
  • Network: TLC
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • TV rating: TV-PG
  • Available on: Streaming
  • Last updated: September 30, 2020

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