Flight diverted after family starts argument with crew over in-flight movie

Jordana Divon

Tyler Perry may be happy to learn that his portrayal of Alex Cross in the eponymous 2012 thriller was so convincing that it managed to divert a United Airlines flight from Denver to Baltimore.

As QMI Agency notes, two passengers traveling with their four-year-old and eight-year-old children were so incensed by the in-flight entertainment choice that they started an argument with the crew. That argument ended up with the pilot exiting the cabin to calm the embers of parental rage and the flight subsequently making an emergency landing in Chicago for “security reasons.”

And yes, FBI agents were called in, because, you know, serious threat to national security.

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Back on the plane, the parents had complained of the violent and “sexually explicit” nature of the film that had been playing on the fold-down screens at the front of the cabin, arguing that their children’s eyes needed to be shielded from such debauchery.

They demanded that flight attendants shut the screen off, a demand with which the attendants failed to comply. "Cruising at 30,000 feet, leaving was not an option," the family stated in a letter to the Atlantic.

While there are no reports of how their fellow passengers reacted to this exchange, it’s likely they found the scenario far more entertaining than whatever was on screen. So if they were looking for ways to distract their children from the movie, you could argue that the parents succeeded – at least in this dubious capacity.

Sensing a disturbance on his plane, the article notes that the captain left the controls to his co-pilot in order to quell the growing tide of discord in economy.

Though the parents say the exchange was “collegial” it was serious enough for the pilot to order a diverted flight path to the Windy City.

That’s when border security, police and the FBI descended to question the family before they were placed on another flight.

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United Airlines released a statement about the incident, saying they’d be “reviewing their entertainment policy,” short-form for one of two options: i) there will be no change to their entertainment policy; or ii) future passengers on United Airlines can look forward to Disney films on loop for the entire duration of their flight.

At this point, however, it seems wise to adopt the personal screen option. Or bring books and visors that block out peripheral vision for children.