Friday, April 09, 2010

A few words for Qantas

To date, we've taken four Qantas flights with the girls: round-trip to Sydney and round-trip to Melbourne. On all flights, the in-flight entertainment was shown on the big screens and the screens running along the ceiling in the aisles rather than individual screens with personal options. This is no surprise on any domestic airline, and in itself, is no reason to complain. But the movie choices. There is a problem with those.

On the flight to Sydney, the movie was "Wolverine". It was so violent and scary that it made the girls cry. We did our best to distract them, but it's a bit hard to hide the images when they are projected on a wall-sized screen two seats away (and several smaller screens all around the plane). Thankfully, on the other Sydney flight, they were sleeping for the most part so I don't remember the video at all. On the way to Melbourne, the movie was "Nine". While I personally enjoyed that one, I did not enjoy my four-year-old daughter watching the preludes to sex (no actual sex shown), the scantily clan women of his fantasies and the strip tease/dancing scenes. But our flight home from Melbourne took the cake. That movie was "The Lovely Bones". I was so upset about that one that I complained to the flight manager onboard. I needed to know how the films were selected, given that you have no opportunity to opt out of viewing. This is a movie about a girl who is raped and murdered by her neighbor, and then the fall-out with her family paralleling her own afterlife story. NOT APPROPRIATE. No, the actual scene wasn't shown, but our children are not dumb. Ellie understood (even without access to sound) that something very upsetting was happening and became distressed. There was scene after objectionable scene, not least of which was when the father was brutally beaten with a flashlight and then a baseball bat...all for everyone on the plane to watch in horror. We tried everything we could to keep Ellie's eyes off the (multiple) screens, but she saw far more than I could possibly accept. Only on walking her to the back of the plane were the images out of view, but they were there again as we went back to our seats. At many points, it was bad enough that we physically covered her eyes, but you know how it is with making something forbidden. It became all the more engrossing. Having not seen the movie previously myself (in an active choice to opt out of the content), I was distressed by what I saw and would have wished not to have seen it...and that's from a 33-year-old woman. My daughters are 4 and 2! Qantas, I am appalled. I know you try to be current with movie selections, but how about The Fantastic Mr. Fox for a midday family flight rather than THAT?!

I lodged a formal complaint onboard and have subsequently done so through the customer service site. I have no issue with these movies being shown as options on personal screens. But when there is no way for anyone to opt out, the issue of appropriate content MUST be considered. No amount of editing can make appropriate a movie about the rape and murder of a young girl. Qantas, you messed up big time with that one.


Karly said...

Wow. That is completely unacceptable! I'm so sorry that the girls were exposed to that. I know that if it had been Sam, I would be furious. Let us know what happens with the complaint...maybe they've had more and there will be some change.

Anonymous said...

OMG that is so horrible! I am so sorry for all of you, and all of the other children and young adults on board. AND the adults who did not wish to see it. Qantas better "straighten up and fly right" (pardon the pun), or I will never support them as a customer. Not much of a threat, since I never fly, but you all DO and I am proud you let your voice be heard. That's my Jennifer!

Anonymous said...

Good grief...'inappropriate?' That is an understatement. I'm shocked that they would show this and the stewards could (and should) have simply turned the movie off at the first complaint. This is something that no small child should see and I would never choose to see it myself. For heaven sakes, there are plenty of family-friendly movie options at the moment.

Corina said...

Wow...I hope those few words you gave them were good ones. Those choices are unbelievable!
I am sorry you have had some not so nice coments on your blog. I am really enjoying reading your perspective on Australia and most recently your experience of Melbun.