Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Flight Attendants as Censors

Flight attendants aren’t censors, but we are sometimes put in the position of having to act like we are.  I hate it!

If you are watching an adult movie (I don’t want to call it pornography, but if the shoe fits), and there is nudity of sexual scenes that can be viewed by others in the cabin, I will tell you to turn it off.  I don’t care what you watch in private, but my employer cares about what you watch when there are other customers around.

If you are reading a magazine that has nude photos, I will ask that you close it and put it away.  No matter how tasteful those photos may be.  You will need to read it another time, as my employer cares about what you are reading when other eyes may happen upon it.

If you are listening to music with profanity in the lyrics, I will ask you to put on your headset or turn it off. You can listen to your stereo as long as those around you cannot hear it.  My employer doesn’t care what you listen to.

If you are engaged in a loud conversation, especially if you are using words that cannot be aired on television, I will ask you to lower your voice.  I believe in free speech, and appreciate your desire to express yourself.  My employer insists that you express yourself in a manner and at a time that does not offend other customers.

If you are wearing a t-shirt (or some other article of clothing) that contains an offensive graphic (usually sexual) or phrase (usually profanity), my employer wants it removed or covered up while you are on the plane.  You have probably been told that prior to boarding.  If you forget during the flight, I will gently remind you and expect you to comply.

Most passengers seem to accept these requirements, even if they may personally disagree.

Here’s a new twist:  What happens when the graphic deemed to be offensive is a tattoo?

It seems that the Australian airlines Jetstar required a woman who had a tattoo of a naked couple engaging in sex to cover it up during flight.  

The passenger has written to the airline complaining that she was embarrassed when the flight crew asking her to wear a jacket to cover up the tattoo.  EXCUSE ME!  If you’re not embarrassed to be sporting a tattoo of people having sex, I’m having a tough time believing that being required to put on a jacket is a big deal.

Oh well, at least it was just a complaint.  Here in the U.S. it would be a lawsuit.

Via:  IAG Blog


Ava said...

I find your job responsibilities interesting. I tend to be one of those flyers who listens to everything the crew tells me to do. I respect your position...love your blog.


JoeyC said...

You *definately* know there's a problem when you have to tell people to stop watching PORN in a place where hundreds of other people dwell.

I was raised by my mother and father to have some decency.

People need to be ASHAMED that they would do such a classless, piggish, utterly unbelieveable acts.

If I were you, I'd shove them in a cabin closet and lock them in there. Then, upon landing, open an exit, and throw them out onto the tarmac. Make sure they can't move, so when the aircraft pushes back, he'll get run over a few times.



Astroprof said...

Yeah, that is just common courtesy. OK, maybe not as common as it should be. A problem that has developed around here is when people are driving down the road watching porn on their in-car DVD players, and everyone else on the road can see it.

It is really a shame that you have to be put in this position of getting people behave nicely.

Paul said...

Worth noting that with the Australian woman, a guy a few rows up from her had a shirt with a profanity in large writing on it "F***" and also she had straps on her top that obscured most of her tattoo... but yeah I still think its a bit much to complain about it.

Fly Girl said...

Ava: Thanks. You sound like a pasenger that I love to have on a flight.

Joey: You'd think people would understand, and want to watch their porn in private.

Astroprof: First the plane, now the car. What's wrong with the privacy of your own home?!

Paul: I hadn't heard about the t-shirt. Thanks for adding some more info into the mix.

Jerry said...

As I recalled, the tattoo did not actually depict a sexual act, as confirmed in this report. I think that puts it even more on a level with the t-shirt with profanity that did not get censored. I don't really know what I think of all this, because I'm from the Netherlands, and nobody would even give this kind of thing a second glance there (or maybe they would, but nobody would complain or act). Just thought I'd add the extra info.

Fly Girl said...

Well my curiosity is up. One person's intimate embrace is another's sexual act, I guess.

Speaking from the flight attendant point of view, I cannot imagine why a crew member would take on this battle without something prompting it. We have way too many other things to worry about. I'm wondering if another passenger complained, or how "graphic" it really is.

I'm pretty liberal about this stuff, but am sensitive to the issue when there are kids around, or people complaining. Unless something was truly x-rated, and visible, I wouldn't take on that battle -- unless someone or something forced me to.

Jerry said...

The earlier report actually has a picture that shows what was visible from behind the strap. Based on the picture I'd be surprised if there was more than bare breasts visible even when fully exposed. Can't really say what prompted the issue; I just have a hard time imagining: 1) another passenger having spotted the picture without straining to see what it was about 2) actually having been offended by it. But you have to keep in mind that not everyone judges these things the same.

Traytable said...

Will have to go read the report first, but i will say that Jetstar (JQ) have had issues with their wish for a 'family image' previously. They deemed a television ad originally intended for them with 'sxy stewardess' pillow-fighting 'too risque' even for them

(See www.lynxjet.com to see the ad I mean)

Will comment further once I've had a talk to my mates in the know....

Flygirl said...

Just add this to the list of job requirements and duties! People never fail to amaze me and disturb me! I've happened upon this several times...men looking at porn on my airplane and when I come back to their row they act like they are reading nothing worse than a Dr. Suess book. Seriously...grow up!

MagicRat67 said...


Have you ever had anyone refuse your request in any of these cases, and if so, what happened? What would happen?



PS - You're doing a great job and this frequent flyer does appreciate all the good work the FA's do in the sky.

Fly Girl said...

Tray: Thanks for the info about Jetstar. If you get some additional info from your mates, I'd love to hear about it.

MagicRat67: No, I've never had anyone refuse. They may roll their eyes, or say that they dont think it's a big deal, but then they comply. And many, many thanks for your kind words. Most flight attendants really do love the job -- and it's because of passengers like you.

Traytable said...

Heya, sorry I've been sooo busy haven't had time to stop back...

I've seen some more reports etccirculating around, I'l ltry find the pertintent ones and send them on...

Haven't heard much from my 'spies' (hee hee) in the JQ camp... I think honestly it was one crew member interpreting a rule (her right to do so i guess) and it's been blown out of proportion.

Kind of like the Aussie woman in Texas who's being charged with assault for tapping a woman on the arm, who was using a phone in the cinema.... what next?!

Fly Girl said...

Thanks, Tray for stopping back.

I know there has got to be more to this story than we've been reading about so far.