Ed Driscoll

Surely You Can't Be Serious

“Plane Diverted After Family Complains In-Flight Movie Is Inappropriate for Kids,” mommy blog The Stir reports, linking to a story that was quoted by both Fox News and veteran Atlantic correspondent James Fallows:

This is one of the craziest flying with kids stories you will ever hear. A mom and dad were flying from Denver to Baltimore with their two sons — ages 4 and 8. During the flight, a PG-13-rated movie (Alex Cross) was being shown on drop-down screens above the seats. After seeing the opening scenes (apparently the movie includes graphic violence and sex), the parents decided this was NOT a movie they wanted their sons to see and asked the flight attendants to fold up the monitor in the boys’ line of vision. Even though the passengers sitting behind them lent their support, agreeing that the movie was definitely not appropriate for children, the family was told folding one screen was not an option. The parents nicely asked if the captain would be able to make this happen. The flight attendants very nicely told them no.

The next thing the family — and the rest of the passengers knew — the flight was being diverted to a Chicago airport because of “security concerns.”

No — there was nobody having a baby on the plane, no one trying to light a shoe bomb, nothing wrong with the plane itself. Apparently, the pilot decided that the family’s complaint about the movie constituted “grave danger to the aircraft.”

Yet, according to the father, there had been no raised voices, no swearing (parents who don’t let their kids watch PG-13 movies also don’t swear in front of them), and no punches thrown. The parents had remained in their seats and did what they could to keep their kids’ eyes off the large screen hanging in front of them (we all know how easy and fun that can be.)

Upon landing, a police officer came on board the plane and escorted the family off. They were then met at the gate by more Chicago police, two border protection officers, an FBI agent, and airline officials.

Unless there’s another side to this story that hasn’t yet been made public, the word you’re looking for, as popularized by Jonah Goldberg, is “Shweeooo!” The word that United Airlines should be expecting soon is lawsuit. (Which they might want to preempt via a large cash settlement. Just sayin’.)