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Press Release

June 12, 2008

PTC: United Airlines Fails to Provide Family-Friendly Entertainment for Young Passengers


LOS ANGELES (June 12, 2008) – At the United Airlines shareholder meeting today, the Parents Television Council™ implored the company to clean up its in-flight entertainment so that the company’s youngest customers are not assaulted with inappropriate, adult content that their parents are powerless to keep them from viewing.  The following are excerpts from the statement that PTC President Tim Winter gave at the meeting:


“In addition to being a shareholder, I am also a customer. As a Premier Executive Mileage Plus member, I took nearly 50 United flights more than 100,000 air miles last year alone.


“Mr. Tilton, everyone in this room is aware of the immense external pressures facing United today.  Many of those pressures are outside your control. I wish to address something today that is fully within United’s control.


“In the past year, our organization has received a shocking increase in the number of complaints from parents and families who are frustrated by the video programming displayed inside the airplane cabin.  I’m not talking about programming that appears on individual viewing monitors, though that remains a problem with unaccompanied minors.  My primary concern is about what appears on the dozen or so overhead monitors, where even the most vigilant parent is powerless.


“In a Denver Post article last year, United touted its loosened restrictions on what types of movies can be shown on jets equipped with overhead screens, which all passengers can see.  A United spokesman expressed delight that you were airing material that was more adult-themed than what other airlines would allow.


“But the public has expressed such outrage that the Congress is now involved in this matter.  Legislation is pending which would regulate what can be shown in an airline cabin.  Mr. Tilton, the only reason Congress is getting involved is because the industry is acting irresponsibly.  An airline cabin is not a theatre we can walk out of, nor is it a television that we can turn off.


“I’m not suggesting that video programming must cater to a five-year-old, but neither should it be patently offensive to families.  United is not attracting customers because of graphic and violent video programming; but you are losing customers because of such material.  And with over a thousand clinical and medical research reports showing the harmful effect of sexual and violent images on children, there is a social cost to airing this material, especially to a captive audience.


“This is an industry-wide issue and change needs to start now.  We recently addressed American Airlines shareholders and Chairman Arpey is willing to address this issue.  Will you please join us, Mr. Tilton?


“I urge you to seize a business opportunity that is fully within your control.  I urge United to be a leader by cleaning up in-flight entertainment and making the skies friendly once again.”


To speak with a representative from the Parents Television Council, please contact Kelly Oliver (ext. 140) or Megan Franko (ext. 148) at (703) 683-5004.



The Parents Television Council™ (www.parentstv.org®) is a non-partisan education organization advocating responsible entertainment. It was founded in 1995 to ensure that children are not constantly assaulted by sex, violence and profanity on television and in other media. This national grassroots organization has more than 1.3 million members across the United States, and works with television producers, broadcasters, networks and sponsors in an effort to stem the flow of harmful and negative messages targeted to children. The PTC also works with elected and appointed government officials to enforce broadcast decency standards. Most importantly, the PTC produces critical research and publications documenting the dramatic increase in sex, violence and profanity in entertainment. This information is provided free of charge so parents can make informed viewing choices for their own families.




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