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Congressman Joe Donnelly and Concerned Parents Discuss Family Friendly Flights Act at South Bend Regional Airport

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC


Legislation would provide for family friendly seating area in which airlines could not display violent in-flight programming

South Bend, IN- Today, Congressman Joe Donnelly and concerned parents discussed the introduction of the bipartisan Family Friendly Flights Act at a news conference at the South Bend Regional Airport. The legislation was introduced in response to airlines showing movies in-flight that contain extremely violent content on their planes' video screens. Recently shown films include Fracture, Shooter, and The Last King of Scotland.

"Folks who spend all year planning and saving for a family vacation shouldn't have to cover their kids' eyes while an in-flight movie displays content that is inappropriate for children," Donnelly said. "I am proud to be an original co-sponsor of The Family Friendly Flights Act because it enables traveling families to elect alternative seating if they determine that the in-flight movie content is not appropriate for their children."

One airline website states that their publicly viewable entertainment, "…may contain material not suitable for everyone. Parental guidance and viewer discretion are recommended." Unfortunately, while parents can control whether their children can listen to the movies, they have no control over whether their children see the images.

The Family Friendly Flights Act calls for the creation of a family friendly seating section on airplanes from which these video screens would not be visible. Airlines would be required to provide seating in this "family friendly" section for children under 13 and at least 1 adult traveling with the child. Additionally, the airlines and its employees would be required to offer the opportunity to request seating in the "family friendly" section to adults traveling with children.

The legislation affects only in-flight programming shown on the main cabin screens. Individual screens in seatbacks and private portable DVD players would not be affected.

"The Family Friendly Flights Act is very important for our nation because we need to keep our young folks protected from negativity as best as we possibly can," Pastor Givens said. "This bill will help our children develop in a more honorable way and I think that our society and airways will be enhanced in the future if it were to become law."

"While traveling by plane this past May, the in-flight entertainment began and I was very grateful that my children were not with me being subjected to images which I felt were very inappropriate," Shannon Renfrow said. "My husband and I are looking forward to bringing our children on future trips with us and it would be wonderful if we knew we would not have to worry about subjecting them to potentially violent and otherwise inappropriate entertainment while we are traveling."

Jesse Kalisher of Raleigh, North Carolina has been spearheading a grassroots movement to get airlines to offer less violent films. His website,, has brought national attention to the issue.

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