Saturday, April 6, 2013

Flying — UGH!

It's no secret I don't like flying. In fact, there's not much I enjoy about it, other than the fact that it gets me where I need to be. Just about everything else makes me cringe. I always end up next to some weirdo. On one of my most recent flights, I had to sit catty-corner to a lady who made Pig Pen look like an angel from Heaven. This lady chomped on her fingernails the entire flight, and flicked the chewed up bits on the floor. When she wasn't doing that, she was spitting her chew into a Coke bottle, which she later handed to the flight attendant. It didn't help that her son screamed, "We're going to crash!" as loud as he could when we hit turbulence. My son, Neil is scared to fly, so hearing this kid freak out didn't help him feel any better. The mother said nothing, which wasn't surprising with her mouth stuffed with fingernails and chewing tobacco.

Then on my last flight, the guy sitting in front of me went to use the lavatory. When he came back to his seat, he noticed he had a wad of toilet paper stuck to his shoe, so he scraped it off and left it on the aisle right by MY seat. If that wasn't bad enough — the flight attendants stepped over it for the ENTIRE flight. I should have said something to one of them, but it was just mind boggling to me that they walked over it. I mean, yeah, it's gross, but part of their job is keeping the plane in order. It wasn't until we started descending that one felt they had to pick it up. So, as you can see, it really is no wonder I despise being on airplanes so much.

The other day I came across a story about a family flying on United Airlines. They had two small children with them, who were 4 and 8 years. That, alone, is stressful for any parent. I feel better when I'm flying with just Rick than I do with my kids. I'm nervous for them. I know Neil is scared, so that just adds to the whole discomfort. Anyway, the article is posted as Flight Diverted After Family Raises Concern Over PG-13 Inflight Movie. It explains how United showed a movie called Alex Cross on the flight. I'm not going to go into all the details, so you can check the link if you haven't heard the story. But in a nutshell, the plane was diverted, and the family was escorted off due to "security concerns". Huh? What the heck do they mean by that? I have two issues with this ...

One, this family did nothing wrong and there were NO security concerns. They simply asked if the movie monitor could be folded up so their children didn't have to view the film. Even the passengers around them agreed. They didn't raise a fuss, or even raise their voices. The article says they tried to divert their children's attention during the flight so they wouldn't be subjected to the film. What exactly were these "security concerns" the pilot had? I'd really like to know. It put a lot of people out, and some even missed connecting flights. What did these parents do that was so dangerous to the flight?

And two, curiosity got the best of me, so I decided to check the film out. Alex Cross is a movie about a homicide detective on the pursuit of a serial killer that specializes in torture and pain. You can watch the trailer online. I did because I wanted to see what these parents were so worried about. The first thing I saw was a woman in her underwear, tied up in a bed, with a man sitting next to her with a wrench. Oh yeah, this is going to go well for this woman! Now remember, I'm the wife of a retired cop. I've heard these stories. The stories I've heard really happened. They aren't some made-up story for a movie. I personally would have been upset if this film was playing on my flight. I wouldn't want to view it, more or less have my kids constantly looking up at the screen. I realize you have the option to get headphones to hear the movie, but it's literally impossible not to see the movie at some point even if you're not really watching it. I do not like movies like this. They're very unsettling and disturbing to me.

Why did United Airlines feel this was a suitable movie for their flight? Do they not review films before they play them on their flights? Does United Airlines think it's okay for people of ALL ages to view films that feature women being sexually tortured and murdered? Is this okay with them? It's not okay with me. Like the family, it's one thing to be able to get up and walk away if you don't like something. Being 30,000 feet up in the air doesn't give you that option.

And another thing — why does the MPAA feel this movie is okay to be rated as PG-13? I wouldn't view this as a 48-year-old, more or less want my kids to see it. The IMDb site says it's rated PG-13 for "violence including disturbing images, sexual content, language, drug references and nudity." Call me an old prude, but that should be R rated, not PG-13. Thirteen-year-olds have enough to deal with. They don't need to see this garbage, and no one should be forced to have it thrown in their face on an airplane. Now I don't expect airlines to play The Care Bears, although I personally would enjoy that. There are plenty of movies that are suitable for people of all ages to view, regardless if they're actually listening to the audio.

I have to fly next month, and get this — on United Airlines. Do I ask at the ticket stand what film will be playing? After all, I wouldn't want to be responsible for the pilot to view me as a "security concern" or anything. I do bring a portable DVD player onto planes so my boys can watch movies if they want to. The thing is, they don't always feel like watching them because flying is exciting for them. When a movie is playing, it's hard for them not to look at the screen. I am really dreading this. Sometimes I wish I could fly down below with the baggage. 

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