Passenger’s Movie Pick From Plane’s Seatback Entertainment Led To A Religious Scolding

Five different airlines operate between Sydney and Bali. It’s a competitive route. And one of the ways that airlines compete is with great inflight entertainment.

A woman settled into her flight back to Australia by watching Magic Mike where Channing Tatum is a male stripper and he’s apparently got some steamy dancing with Salma Hayek. The woman looked around before selecting it on her seat back screen, says that there were no “kids around” but she attracted attention anyway.

The woman seated beside her “tapped [her] on the shoulder” and handed her a note. Realizing it was a scolding, she decided to get up and read it in the lavatory instead of right beside her seat opponent. It told her to seek forgiveness from Jesus for her sins.

If you want to accept His offer you may pray this prayer:

“Dear Lord Jesus, I realise I am a sinner and I believe you bled and died to pay the price for my sin. I believe that you rose from the dead and you live forevermore. Please forgive me and come into my heart and save my soul. I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Dear Friend, if you would like:

To study the Bible
Someone to pray for you
Help with a personal problem
Someone to visit you
To join a youth group
A Bible
Please do not hesitate to let me know.

A lapsed Catholic, she says she returned to her seat and picked up the movie where she’d left off. Then the seatmate started a conversation with her “about faith and morality” and was “lectured” on “the evils of Satan.” When you’re trapped in a metal tube, you really can’t escape proselytizing. She put on her noise cancelling headphones and ignored the woman until they reached Sydney.

I think there are some things that we can probably all agree cross a line in terms of what to watch on a plane. But sometimes it isn’t so clear.

  • A flight attendant once shared on their Facebook feed a story about a passenger taking such a long time in the lavatory that another passenger expressed concern and eventually the crew started to suspect a medical emergency. After much knocking he came out, iPad in hand. He went in there to watch a movie. At least he hadn’t watched it at his seat.

  • I’m never watching that kind of movie. But what about an HBO or Showtime drama? What movies are ok and which ones aren’t? If it’s on the inflight entertainment does that make it ok? (I’ve scrolled past What about inflight entertainment Mark Wahlberg’s Boogie Nights as an option.)

  • In a premium cabin you usually have a bit more space, and maybe high walls. Does the seat you’re in dictate what kind of movie you can watch?

United Airlines Polaris Business Class

When you report an incident like this you have to hope, that your flight attendant isn’t watching porn themselves. Air Canada once warned pilots to stop leaving porn in the cockpit. And Etihad pilots once wrote up their inflight wifi for being too slow to download porn.

Finally, do you bring your own shows to watch inflight? If so, what shows do you rely on to keep your interest on a long flight? I’m always looking for recommendations and wonder how you handle a more explicit scene?

(HT: Eye of the Flyer)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I watched Yellowstone for the first time on a recent long haul BA flight and didn’t know one of the characters is repeatedly exposed. I was in business class, but it did make you think about who may be walking by.

  2. If it was on the plane’s internal system, that should be ok. If you brought it with you, discretion should be used. Depending on the content. I would have also put on the noise cancelling and ignored.

  3. I would prefer to be seated next to a lady stripper instead. Why do they let the wrong people on flights?

  4. I’ve seen the movie. There’s nothing offensive in it. I would be furious if someone started spouting their beliefs on me. At the same time I’ve watched something on the flights HBO and finally turned it off as I was too embarrassed to watch it with people I didn’t know, very explicit!

  5. Ignore the sky god delusionals. They don’t get to dictate your choice of movie. If they don’t like male strippers they can move.
    Religion is belief in the supernatural based on revelation maintained by dogmatic tradition!

  6. I don’t recall what airline this was or when, but I seem to recall that someone had a policy that entertainment should have a ‘R’ rating at maximum. I do think the inflight entertainment system is a safe harbor though, and I would have complained to a flight attendant if someone had accosted me in that manner

  7. I question the events of this article. The note was printed, not handwritten. It was almost certainly printed before the flights. There are no reports in the article that the passenger was being criticized for watching the film. In fact, I believe the viewer feels guilty for watching the film and projects this insecurity on the events. Based on the description, the passenger could have been reading a newspaper or a chemistry textbook and received the same talk.

  8. I can’t find movies I’m interested in when I fly. I have found some decent music. The passenger said they looked to see if any kids were around and a person said the movie wasn’t offensive. I think I would have my eyes on my own screen instead of my seatmate’s.

  9. The religious woman should mind her own business. Nobody cares about her existential belief system and her coping mechanism dependent on it. Live your life using whatever crutch you need to find peace within yourself and then leave other people alone.

  10. I was surprised to see the amazon prime movie RED WHITE AND ROYAL BLUE as a selection on my flight back from Frankfurt. The lady from the “morality police” would have hated that even more, as it is a comedy about the awkward romance of the son of a fictional US president and the “spare” son of the King of England). Some nudity and passionate (same) sex. Entertaining, well done.

  11. This is why religious institutions need to be taxed. This is simply imposing one’s views and beliefs on another. It is not acceptable. Religion can and should be a private matter. When it is not, it is the root of all evil, hatred, prejudice, and violence, all around the world.

  12. @lavanderialarry: I don’t know what this has to do with wanting to tax religious institutions. The woman who scolded her fellow passenger may be a member of a church, but she was doing her scolding as a private individual.

    The real problem is that she was annoying and harassing a fellow passenger, which should never be done, whether in the name of religion, politics, business, a purported attempt at friendship, or for any other reason.

  13. I just watched “Drive” on United’s IFE this week which has some nudity and a lot of violence. I didn’t even know before I watched it.

  14. If it’s on the IFE then the airline has already determined that it’s acceptable to view, there should be no issues.

    As for the note being pre-printed–that’s not evidence of it being fake. The holy roller types often have such things ready for supposed sinners.

  15. I have sat alongside lots of apparently very religious people as far as attire goes, but I’ve yet to have anyone who is Jewish, Muslim or Sikh try to “convert” me. The “come to Jesus” thing is however a different story, but I no longer run into proselytization efforts from Hindu seatmates.

  16. There are a few TV shows and movies that I will alter my screen direction during certain scenes if it is on my ipad. However, if it is on the in-flight entertainment and the scene remains intact I figure it’s not really my fault if someone is offended. They should choose airlines that won’t offend them. Different if there are kids nearby, but frankly they never look up from their own screens after a certain age anyway.

    However I do have to hop on my soapbox for one moment…

    I’ve always been utterly shocked at the reaction to nudity and sexuality versus violence.

    You could show a movie that has nearly unlimited gore and killing and nobody says a word. Show 2 consenting adults engaged in a behavior (one that was required for each of us to even exist) and it’s considered immoral.

    I recall the “thow shall not kill” commandment. But the “thow shall not expose thy nipples” one eludes me. Hypocrisy at it’s finest.

  17. This is where it’s up to parents to Be or have been good parents. If you’ve taught your children that this type of viewing is not appropriate then there should be no issues. Sure they can be curious but they would know their limits. But no one should be lecturing someone about what they choose to view. Even on a plane.

  18. I was on a flight where the airline inflight entertainment system in economy class had graphic violence and nudity/sex as well as graphic sexual violence. I had already dimmed the screen but also chose to use a pillow to block the view so as not to allow any nearby child to see it.

  19. @Ryan:
    > I’ve always been utterly shocked at the reaction to nudity and sexuality versus violence.

    > You could show a movie that has nearly unlimited gore and killing and nobody says a word. Show 2 consenting adults engaged in a behavior (one that was required for each of us to even exist) and it’s considered immoral.

    Even crazier is the response to non-sexual nudity. We don’t see a lot of it in the movies but there are scenes I would consider G but would draw an R in our prudish country.

  20. I would simply smile at her while ripping the note into a few pieces and drop it on her table or lap. I think she would understand that message.

  21. While I personally wouldn’t have watched it on the plane because it’s rated “R,” and I don’t think plane entertainment systems should be showing “R” rated movies, the movie was on the inflight entertainment system, so as far as I’m concern, the only one at fault is the airline if it’s an unsuitable movie. That said, the other passenger shouldn’t have touched the woman watching the film and frankly should have minded her own business. I wouldn’t have taken the note from her, and if she had dropped it in my lap I would have handed it back to her or tossed it in her lap and told her to stick her note up where the sun doesn’t shine.

  22. @Ryan:
    > I’ve always been utterly shocked at the reaction to nudity and sexuality versus violence.

    Couldn’t agree with you more. People especially Americans go nuts about any nudity but are fine with violence in any quantity. Totally ridiculous!

  23. Some of the European airlines showed Game of Thrones seasons/episodes without any editing out of violence and nudity.

    The gap between editing demands is less now between US airlines and fEuropean airlines than it used to be.

  24. I would have thanked the seatmate for her inappropriate note and behavior and put something extremely violent and profane on my phone and made sure she saw it while offering her a masterclass in deviant behavior and abortion rights AND recommending she find another seat before facing eternal damnation.

  25. Some people make a choice to worship one or more gods of the pantheon. One should be grateful to live in a place where this personal choice is allowed. Certain of these belief systems include obligating the adherents to proselytize. I think this movie-watching passenger was seated next to one of these persons. No need to be offended. When I am in this situation I refuse to accept any literature or engage in conversation, responding “Thank you , but I am not interested in discussing this topic. Have a nice day.” In this case, the person followed up. A second, not-so-polite re-iteration of “I will not discuss this topic” is required. Any further communication on the topic from the proselytizer should be reported to a flight attendant as harassment; the airline should have a procedure for how to deal with an offending passenger. In a free society, we must be respectful that people make different choices, and cannot be offended by or try and change someone’s choice.

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