Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Bill to Restrict In-Flight Movies

By MATT RICHTEL Published: September 26, 2007
SOURCE: New York Times

Under federal legislation introduced yesterday, airlines that show adult-themed movies on overhead screens would be required to create seating sections to shield children from graphic content.

The legislation was prompted by complaints from parents and others who said airlines were increasingly showing movies and television reruns with sexual content and violence to in-flight audiences that include children, said a spokesman for Representative Heath Shuler, Democrat of North Carolina, one of two authors of bill, the Family Friendly Flights Act.

Andrew Whalen, the spokesman, said circumstances made it difficult for parents to do their own policing. “When you have a captive audience and a giant screen, how are you going to tell your 5-year-old not to look?” Mr. Whalen said.

Children’s advocacy groups and flight attendants assert that young people are subjected to movies rated R and PG-13 despite efforts by airlines to edit the films.

Recent images have depicted a man shooting his wife in the face, from the movie “Fracture.”

Mr. Shuler cited a constituent who was angered to have to try to shield her children from scenes in “Last Kiss,” in which a married architect is tempted by a beautiful student. The constituent also complained that “The Last King of Scotland,” about the brutal Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, was playing on some flights.

Federal broadcast laws do not apply to in-flight entertainment, and airlines are not required to adhere to motion picture ratings. Mr. Whalen said legislation would not apply to individual screens in headrests.

Under the bill, co-authored by Representative Walter B. Jones, Republican of North Carolina, airlines would not be allowed to show movies in general seating areas that are rated PG-13, R, NC-17 or that are unrated. It would also preclude television shows rated V, for violence, Mr. Whalen said.

Mary Clark, a spokeswoman for Continental Airlines, which showed the edited version of “Fracture,” declined to comment.


I found this cool bit of history, too! Oh, how far we have come. Or have we?

Aeromarine in-flight movie, 1921

Aeromarine showed the first in-flight movie during the Chicago Pageant of Progress exposition in August of 1921, beating Imperial Airways that showed a movie in 1925.
(From "Aerial Age Weekly" of August 29, 1921)

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