American Airlines Flight Attendants Ask for Help in Policing Porn
Currently, crews are responsible for monitoring passengers accessing adult material online during flights.
FORT WORTH, Texas -
Posted Sep 11th, 2008 09:18 AM by Todd Lewis
With wi-fi now available on some airlines, the flight attendants' union for American Airlines has discussed the option of a filtering process being installed to block passengers' access to adult sites during flights.
Union leaders from the Association of Professional Flight Attendants met with officials from American Airlines this week to discuss the matter, but did not make a formal request to bar any specific sites, a union spokesman said.
"We've heard a lot of complaints from flight attendants and passengers" about travelers pulling up objectionable Web pages, union rep David Roscow, who didn't cite any examples, told reporters.
American Airlines is currently offering Internet access on 15 Boeing jets that fly 25 times each day between New York and Los Angeles of San Francisco or New York and Miami. The program currently has no restrictions on what sites or information passengers can access.
The "vast majority" of travelers use good judgment in what they look at, said Tim Smith, a spokesman for Fort Worth-based American. "Customers viewing inappropriate material on board a flight is not a new scenario for our crews, who have always managed this issue with great success."
Smith noted passengers have able to take adult magazines and DVDs onto flights without restrictions, and that crews have been able to resolve instances where other passengers take offense to those materials, Smith said. The union id not object to DVDs or magazines during its discussions with American Airlines representatives.
No specific recommendations were made on how to block Internet access to adult material during the talk. But some union leaders said they want to avoid what could be possibly difficult situations between crews and passengers.
"Why should they [flight attendants] be put in the position to police, deal with the people offended and in a position to view objectionable material in their workplace?" said Frank Bastien, another representative for the flight attendants' union. "I don't know what the solution is, but we should try."
American is not the only airline offering Internet access on flights. JetBlue also offers the service, but employs filtering software. Other airlines, like American, leave it up to flight attendants to monitor.
"Our policy is to provide Wi-Fi capabilities the way customers are most familiar using [them] at home, office, coffee shops and on the road - with unfiltered connections that allow customers to get what they need, when they need it," Smith wrote of the company's decision in an email to news outlets.
American Airlines' Internet access on transcontinental flights began on Aug. 20 and is in a three- to six-month trial period. At the end of the period, American Airline officials plan to evaluate feedback, including the number of actual incidents involving adult material.