Should Delta and other airlines censor movies? What about TV shows about airline crashes?

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You may think this is weird for someone who is on a Delta jet often many times a month to “enjoy” watching television shows like “Air Disasters” that vividly depicts what has happened to dozens and dozens of aircraft over the years. The reason I really like this show is it actually makes me feel more safe flying.

Err – what?

How can seeing air crashes do that you ask? Simple! These kinds of programs are all about why air travel continues to be one of the safest forms of travel in the world because when a problem is discovered steps are taken to all but make sure this type of failure (whatever it is) never happens again. If it is a hardwired or technical issue that is addressed. If it is a people problem then policies change to avoid that issue from likely occurring again.

But most airlines choose not to show anything that has to do with an airplane and some kind of disaster even going as far as censoring out parts of a movie that talk about a crash.

Not just this but some moves are just not shown at all like “Sully” that I am ashamed to say I have still yet to see (because I tend to only watch movies on airplanes). Notice what the Economist said in part about this movie:

“Terrorism and plane crashes are still unlikely to be optioned, says Joe Leader of the Airline Passenger Experience Association, an airline-industry group, although Virgin Atlantic allowed “Sully” to be shown.” –

I had no clue the Delta partner Virgin Atlantic choose to show Sully on its flights. Very interesting. Now I personally would have no issue with this movie or any movie showing an air disaster being shown onboard as watching this up in the air would not bother me as it does not bother me on the ground.

old delta crt ife overhead video screen 757 renespoints blog

This was my recent view on a Delta 757

But what about other kinds of censorship since many times young folks are on-board. Personally I am offended by abusive and offensive language and prefer not to watch movies that include this. So when an airline chooses to “sanitize” any kind of movie even a PG one that may have a expletive or two (that does not need to be there) I am all for that and to me it just improves the viewing experience. This is especially important, to me, when you have an older jet with only overhead monitors so the airline is showing the movie / TV show to everyone on-board like it or not.

What do you think about this practice? Should an airline censor or not show any kind of movie that includes airline disasters or crashes. What about removing offensive language or scenes from a movie even on personal IFE? Let us know in the comments below! – René




  1. I specifically would choose UA over many Asian airlines, because in Asia many movies are censored in terms of language and content (particularly Chinese airlines). Don’t like bad language or violence? Pick a different movie, but don’t butcher a movie. I mean, really, a cleaned-up Pulp Fiction? What’s the point?
    Ironically, Etihad does not censor any of the movies, which I thought was funny.

  2. I think more interesting is that Delta decides to scrub the word ‘God’ out of movies. Mind you, I’m not talking ‘GD’, I mean just the word ‘God’.

    Who knew that word was offensive.

  3. There’s a recent court ruling that bowdlerizing movies without consent does violate the copyright. Presumably, when Delta redacted the Air Force One scene from Iron Man 3, it was approved. The studios are very anal about protecting their stuff.

    Besides, bad language is not evil or illegal and the courts (a conservative court too) ruled that the artistic intent trumps the desire for editing. If you permit that, what will they censor next?

    Anyway, I agree that seeing Sully would only reinforce my confidence in the airlines.

  4. Movies are kind of art – so they has to be shown original. Or not at all. No censorship at all, please!

  5. Sure, if I’m offended by the content in a movie, I don’t have to watch it.

    On the other hand, if someone is offended because an airline edits the content of a movie, they can fly another carrier.

  6. This reminds me of a certain Attorney General who wanted to put clothes on some of the statues in DC. Having big brother censor our artwork, whether it’s some government leader or in this case a corporation, is a very, very dangerous step in our free society.

    I know we are somewhat founded by a very puritan bunch but at some point we really need to mature as a country. If you are on a plane and there is a child next to you then exercise discretion with what you watch. But to censor my own private screen using some random conservative opinions is a broad overreaching act of authority.

  7. i have an issue with so many foreign(esp japanese) subtitled movies on our domestic flights

  8. They should feature at least one airline disaster movie in the queue. Maybe they should also feature the movie “Waiting” which is a humorous look at what really goes on inside a restaurant from the workers point of view. It will give an insight as to how Delta really feels about their “customers”. Delta loves the shareholders, hates the flyers.

  9. I personally can not understand by someone who is supposed to be an “artist” and creative needs to use offensive words in the first place. Censor them out.

  10. @The Pixie: I understand and don’t want to be subjected to offensive material either. The problem is who gets to decide what is offensive? I’m really uncomfortable with government and corporations making that decision for us. We fought too hard for hundreds of years to produce and maintain this wonderful free country to turn around and give up freedom of speech so easily.

  11. I almost never watch movies when flying- that screen never seems large enough…A few months ago I did watch en route to LA the terrific Anderson Cooper documentary about his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, and himself. Extremely well done and hopefully not censored. Almost as good as a mystery with an airplane crash or three.

  12. I almost never watch movies when flying- that screen never seems large enough…A few months ago I did watch en route to LA the terrific Anderson Cooper documentary about his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, and himself. Extremely well done and hopefully not censored. Almost as good as a mystery with an airplane crash or three.

  13. @rene – Oh man I got one for ya. I was on an AA positioning flight to DFW in March sitting in an exit row. I fired up GOGO and the bandwidth was insanely good (more on this later…).

    There was a couple in the middle/window seat heading to New Orleans (via DFW) for their wedding (!!!) and we struck up a conversation and they insisted on buying me a drink.

    At some point, the guy brings up the twilight zone episode where William Shatner thinks he sees a gremlin on the wing outside the exit row door and tries to get the Fa to believe him, only to grab the sky marshall’s gun, shoot out the window, and get sucked out onto the wing. I vaguely remembered the episode and thought… hmmmmmm…

    Now back to GOGO – given my excellent bandwidth, something possessed me to google the youtube clip (what was I thinking?) and the three of us watched it. It’s only 2 minutes, but what a trip…

    Holy cow I DO NOT recommend this. Good thing the FA didn’t see us. The guy kept glancing at the exit row window over the wing… oh man you have no idea. But funny. And never again…

  14. I watch most my movies in the air. Do I’m pretty disappointed when I find out I missed an entire scene from a movie it is very irritating. I remember back in the day seeing Independence Day from the VHS. Offence or not I don’t agree with the rationale of showing non G rated movies to general audiences. But that was before the days of IFE, so govern yourself. But the issues aren’t on the airline imo.

    When the portable DVD players come out on board, the adult movie censorship doesn’t get any rebuttal. Guess it’s not about right and wrong but a risk assessment on can you please more people than you drag deplane…

    And what ever happened with finishing your go-go rental on the ground BTW. I need a flight to finish The Accountant

  15. Yes, go ahead and censor it. You can always catch the uncensored version on your own if you care that much. But i doubt people do.

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