Airplane Etiquette: What Should You Do When The Jerk Next To You Is Watching Porn?

PCWorld examines an interesting problem: What to do when the jerk next to you is watching hardcore porn on his laptop? Or what can be done about jerks who let their kids watch movies with no headphones? Can the airline do anything to stop jerks?

According to PCWorld’s investigation into several airline’s “Contracts of Carraige”… not much can be done. From PC World:

Airlines do have rules regarding passenger conduct, however vaguely worded they may be. For example, American Airlines’ Acceptance of Passengers states: “American may refuse to transport you, or may remove you from your flight at any point, for one or several reasons, including but not limited to the following.” The document goes on to list seven examples of behavior that may cause you to be kicked off a plane, but only number six comes close to addressing the offensive behavior described in the Times: “Your conduct is disorderly, abusive, or violent, or you…refuse to obey instructions from any flight crew member.”

Is it disorderly to watch pornography on a laptop in full view of the person sitting next to you? It happened to one passenger, and she told the New York Times about it:

Recently, [a female airline passenger] was in a window seat on a full flight from Newark to San Francisco, next to a man who opened his laptop on his tray table and began watching a hard-core pornographic DVD.

“It was hard to ignore, with him sitting that close,” said [the passenger], who finally got up and asked a flight attendant what could be done, since she didn’t want to engage the man. The answer: Nothing.

We guess that the only thing you can do is ask the jerk to quit watching porn. PC World asked a retaired airline captain of 36 years his opinion on the matter:

“The ticket you purchase gives you seat space on a flight in the cabin area for which you paid. If the passenger meets the criteria established during the financial exchange for that ticket and the flight departs, they have the right to go on that flight. The entire time on board the aircraft they must comply with the federal regulations governing passengers and crew on air carrier aircraft. The porn viewer does not appear to have been breaking any of those regulations.”

What do you think? What would you do?

Airline Passenger Code of Conduct, Part 1 [PC World]
(Photo: mamamusings)

Comments

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  1. 160medic says:

    I would say in a loud voice “Wow is that Backdoor Bonanza? Wow look at that you like guys too huh!!”

  2. Pelagius says:

    “She didn’t want to engage the man.”

    Exactly. How about “Hey buddy – could you save the spank material for your hotel room?”

  3. deweydecimated says:

    i would demand a change of seats.

  4. bpotterr says:

    Can’t the airline just say that pornography interferes with the plane’s navigational systems? It works for keeping people off their cell phones during flights.

  5. Jerim says:

    He may not have broken any flying regulation, but it is certainly criminal to view a porn DVD in public. She should have found a cop after landing and reported the man.

  6. joemono says:

    I guess he wanted to keep his groin in an upright and locked position. Yuk yuk.

    I like the idea of bringing unwanted attention to the guy.

  7. Papercutninja says:

    @160medic:

    Yup, i think embarassment is the best way to go, if the airline staff are unable or unwilling to do anything. What a creep. At least take it to the bathroom.

  8. Tengaport says:

    And I thought the guy reading a Playboy a few seats away from me was pushing it. Watching porn on a laptop is highly inappropriate in a public setting (are airplanes considered public?). If there are children present couldn’t the viewer be charged with some sort of a crime?

    It seems so strange as I never knew porn was watched as a form of entertainment – I thought it was just a sort of means to an end.

    When watching movies on a flight that have any form of nudity or questionable content I usually either cover my screen or fast forward through those parts as a courtesy to my fellow passengers.

  9. bluemeep says:

    Is directly asking him to turn it off out of the question?

    That aside, isn’t there some kind of indeceny clause that could be applied here? What if a kid wandered up the aisle and saw it? There’d be absolute hell to pay from the parents, I’m sure.

  10. exkon says:

    You all seriousness, if the person is just watching it without doing things they should be doing while they’re alone, then I don’t see a problem with it.

    Just like if someone was watching a hardcore horror movie with lots gore, like Hostel or what not.

  11. dbeahn says:

    I’d think that watching porn on a plane with the screen in full view of other passengers would violate some sort of decency law, or a law about (if there are kids on the flight) exposing children to that content.

    Call Sam Jackson – “No more MU******CKING PORN ON A PLANE, MU******CKER!!!!!!”

  12. alpha says:

    Oh just wait till they start allowing cellphone use on airplanes.

    No, it’s not anywhere near as bad as porn, but just imagine how disruptive and annoying a bunch of people talking on cellphones in a confined space is gonna be.

    I’d probably ask him once to not watch it and then if he didn’t comply go with the “make it public” route.

  13. Trai_Dep says:

    I’d ask quietly for him to watch something else, in a slightly disparaging tone.

    If he didn’t switch it to something else, I’d tell him that if he didn’t switch it immediately, I’m going to rub one out and spew it across his lap. His keyboard. His chest. Hopefully his face (but only if he was watching REALLY good porn).

  14. QuirkyRachel says:

    First off, eeeeewwwwww. I mean, what a****** watches that in public sitting next to someone.
    I like the idea of embarrassment. How about saying something (loudly) like, “Wow! I guess after Brokeback Mountain everyone’s getting into good ol’ man on man action! Is this your favorite?!”
    But seriously, aren’t there laws against subjecting minors to indecent acts or something?

  15. JRuiz47 says:

    Everybody just needs to cut the porn-watcher a break. Comcast/Time Warner/Microsoft/EA Sports must have gained control of his laptop and forgot to clean the porn off before issuing it to this guy.

  16. Hoss says:

    There are rules, and there is common sense. The function of a stewardess, among saftey things, is to ensure people are comfortable. If someone says they are uncomfortable, it’s in your control to walk over to the offending passenger and say softly “please don’t do that”. If the pervert objects or says “don’t do what” — I would think a polite human would more directly and in a tone that others hear say “don’t watch porn in public please, it’s quite offensive”. If the pervert is an expert in in-flight laws and tells you that they are not in violation of anything, say “ok, be a jerk” and walk away. I dont think it would get that far — others would hear this and step in

  17. pinkbunnyslippers says:

    @160medic: LOL that is fantastic.

    Not to pick on the non-confrontational folks here, but if you’re so bothered by something, yet it bothers you to speak up, too – well then, guess you should just learn to suck it up. Tattling went by the wayside in the 1st grade…

  18. rewinditback says:

    I’m curious… how is one ticketed for driving while watching porn… but nothing can be done about watching porn in public (with children present on this flight i assume)?

    while in US airspace, you must comply by US federal law… such as decency laws. I’d assume that watching porn falls under that sort of decency.

  19. FatLynn says:

    I think she should get over it and not look at his computer screen. I bet she would have no problem doing that if it were a screen full of sales figures or boring work e-mails.

  20. Hawkeye1659 says:

    Who the heck would want to watch porn on a plane without being able to do what people do when they watch porn? What a rude ass though. I’d side on being as loud as you can to embarrass this jerk.

  21. rewinditback says:

    why was my previous comment deleted?

  22. Shadowman615 says:

    Does anybody else think there’s something very creepy about a man sitting next to a woman he doesn’t know on an airplane (or anywhere for that matter) and watching porn? That seems to be sexual-predator-like behavior.

  23. TomK says:

    What’s wrong with a little pornography? If people could see sex and nudity in public and not be all freaked out about it, we would be a much healthier culture. Maybe, as a culture, if porn was a little less scandelous, then we would see less of things like paris hilton and faux news babes lying to americans by exploiting peoples fears relating to their repressed sexuality and insecure masculinity.

    And images of sexuality are much more damaging to children when adults overreact, and make a huge deal of it, then if they were to ignore it or be disinterested or explain what’s going on without histrionics. A 5 or 6 year old who sees a bit of porn is going to be much more fucked up by his screaming mother flipping out, then by the actual image.

  24. mdkiff says:

    I didn’t even watch my DVD of “Lost Season 1″ because I thought it was inappropriate to watch an hour-long episode about a horrendous plane crash while on a flight. I’m in for embarassing him – or pointing out nearby kids to the flight attendant.

  25. beyond says:

    Ask them to stop. Loudly. I bet that will work!

  26. Peeved Guy says:

    @exkon: All I can say about your comment is that I hope you’re joking.

    @trai_dep: That was disgusting… but hilarious.

  27. G-Dog says:

    I’d keep pressuring him to stop, hoping he gets angry with me and throws a punch. I’d then use the money from the settlement to pay off my student loan.

  28. banned says:

    If Americans weren’t so retarded when it comes to sex then a) the girl would not have been offended and b) the guy likely would not have seen the need to watch it on a plane. Lighten up people, everybody has private parts and we all know what the other sex’s look like also. Most civilized countries allow full nudity on tv, then again, they have health care too. Maybe its time to wake up and take your heads out of your asses!

  29. Skyoodpov says:

    I think the guy should be able to discreetly watch his porno on the plane. Yeah, its gross. Yeah, he is a scumbag. But no one should be watching his screen but him. If you don’t like it, don’t look.

    At the same time, if someone were watching porn next to me, I would make it my personal mission to make sure everyone knows it. Thats more because I am a jerk though…


    I had a woman yell at me on a plane to Kentucky one time, because I was reading a Maxim Magazine, and she found it “offensive”. I just ignored her. I wish I had had a playboy or something with me. I would have apologized profusely, put the Maxim away and pulled that out.

    Jeebus people, mind your own business…

  30. silenuswise says:

    This is actually surprising to me, considering we just had that case a few months ago about the couple being ordered by the airline attendant to stop kissing and caressing each other on the flight. If anything, I would think the airline would use the argument that other commercial businesses make: we reserve the right to refuse service to customers. For instance, airlines don’t need to fully respect the First Amendment, since it’s not a public space. If I bring a radio inside of a clothing store, they can kick me out regardless of whether there are explicit signs prohibiting that particular behavior. I don’t see why an airline can’t just say “no porn” and be done with it.

  31. alleeum says:

    Your rights end where mine begin.

    You have the right to watch porn until it starts interfering with my right -not- to watch it. Applying the “reasonable person” test (Gosh, the wonderful things you learn from Law & Order), I think it safe to say that any reasonable person–or judge–would agree that an airline passenger watching porn is, intentionally or not, forcing it upon the people next to him.

    He couldn’t even argue that “you shouldn’t look at it if you don’t want to”, as a person’s normal field of vision would overlap that space, making that impossible. And what about the people walking up and down the aisle? If nothing else, did he check ID to make sure everyone on the plane was 18? When you look for the limiting case here, you don’t have to look very far, and there are lots of them.

    But the real point is obvious, and I’m surprised the article didn’t pick up on it. Regular laws still apply in the air. You can’t just pretend you’re the Vatican and make up your own rules. What’s written on the back of the ticket is a rule meant to -supplement- the laws that already exist, not supplant them. If you aren’t allowed to show porn to the unsuspecting or unwilling public here on terra firma, you can’t do it at any altitude. Certainly, we expect the rest of the laws to apply up there.

    Bottom line: If she isn’t allowed to strangle him for it, he’s not allowed to shove porn in front of her face.

  32. Peeved Guy says:

    My main issue with this creep doing this is if kids could see the movie.
    The argument that its just nudity is disingenuous at best. If the dude was looking at a playboy or something, I would be miffed and ask him to stop, but I wouldn’t get pissy with him. But if he is watching some chick get a “colonoscopy” from “Tree Trunk McGurk”, I am going to have a big issue with that. It’s my job as a parent to teach my sons the proper way to treat women (amongst other things), and I don’t think that a hardcore porn movie would be the best example of treating women respectfully.

  33. nweaver says:

    Given that airlines have been noted for hastling playboy readers, the flight attendant could have easily asked the person to shut off Big Boy Bangers 47 or whatever crap he was watching.

  34. TinaT says:

    It’s all good and well to say no one else should be looking at the screen, but if she’s in the window seat, she can’t help but look his way whenever she wants to stand up. It’s a public space, and there are laws against public indecency. Whether or not you agree that there should be such laws, the laws do exist, and the airline was wrong to say they could do nothing.

  35. chimmike says:

    it is this simple:

    An airplane is a privately owned transportation method. Therefore, the owners (or representatives thereof, i.e. flight attendants) can make decisions on what is or is not allowed. The flight attendant simply could have told the gentleman he needed to turn off the porn. If he did not comply, they could have removed him from the flight.

    Same goes for kids watching dvd’s without headphones. That’s why they make you use headphones for the movies, because NOT EVERYBODY WANTS TO HEAR IT!

    Remember people. This is key: Airplanes are not government entities. Therefore, you do not have every god-given right to do whatever you please on an airplane. If you don’t do what they say, they can kick you off. And it’s not discrimination. They’re running a business. It saves money pissing off one person instead of letting many get pissed off so that one person isn’t.

  36. SadSam says:

    So US Airways can demand that a woman who is legally breastfeeding (while sitting next to her husband) her baby to cover up but another airline can’t tell a jerk to stop watching hardcore porn in a full flight.

    Somehow that doesn’t jive.

  37. Peeved Guy says:

    @rewinditback: Are they being deleted, or is there something wonky going on with the site?

  38. banned says:

    @Peeved Guy:

    Porn is hardly more disrespectful to women then any sitcom with the stay-at-home moms. Any porn I’ve seen, the woman is consenting to everything so exactly how is that disrespectful??

    I think it is more disrespectful to try to push your views onto others on an airplane, basing your arguement on the fact you have children. What about my right to fly and not have to listen to screaming children?? Perhaps they shouldn’t be there at all!

  39. KSE says:

    All the people saying he should be arrested “if a kid walks by.” What if he’s watching some movie that happens to show nudity, or has a sex scene without the “hard-core” aspect to it? Or say the guy is watching some French cinema (that’ll likely meet all the criteia above) should he still be thrown in jail, or do you just want him thrown in jail because you don’t share the same tastes as the guy?

    How about R-rated? Should those be illegal to watch in “public”…NC-17? Unrated movies?!?

  40. ThyGuy says:

    I believe he should be able to watch the porno, because technically, you’re not in a public area. He paid for that space and should be able to do whatever he pleases, as long as he doesn’t violate the airport rules. If I was watching a porno and you started harassing me, I’d report YOU to the stewards. I think it would be hilarious if they told you to stop bothering me.

    If you don’t want your kids to see nudity, put them in a caged room and make them clean themselves with their clothing on, ban all animal (because they are NAKEDS, OMFG!) and do everything in your power to isolate them until your death, which they will be so deranged that they will live in a mental ward, naked, and getting sponge baths from the nurses.

    I’m laughing at you right now!

  41. MissDemeanor says:

    Ask the flight attendant for a bible, then start reading it aloud, facing the porn watcher.

  42. Skyoodpov says:

    @TinaT:

    I disagree with what you consider public. I am pretty confident it is legal for me to read a playboy in public, because there is an expectation of privacy that no one should be reading over my shoulder. A small dvd player, or laptop should fall under this category as well. I have sat next to people on planes, and been able to not look at their laptop screens when getting up. She most certainly COULD help but look his way.

    Decency laws are crap btw. If I want to stand naked in the middle of Times Square and scream profanity at children for the sake of my art, I should be allowed to. Freedom of Speech.

  43. Peeved Guy says:

    @rocnrule:
    I don’t want to get into a huge aregemnt about the pros and cons about the porn industry, but I think (yes, i know, it’s very subjective) is that porn hardly shows a healthy relationship between a man and woman. I know the woman is consenting (at least I would hope he isn’t watching the other type of porn), but isn’t is rather objectifying the women. I know it sounds a bit cliche, but I really don’t want my kids thinking that all women are just over-sexed & easy

    Your “right to fly”? Are you kidding me? How is flying a “right”? Lemme check the Constitution… Hmm.. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, nothing about flying, though. And by the way, my kids have as much of right to be on the airplane as you do, my friend.

  44. seawall says:

    If the flight attendants didn’t do anything, I’d stand up in the aisle and announce to the entire plane that the man in 14B is watching porn. Let him deal with that if he wants to be public about it. (or just tell the flight attendant he was rubbing his crotch and making advances)

    And don’t give me this cr*p about Americans being prudes about sex. I doubt that Lufthansa flights are full of Germans watching hardcore porn.

    Why must any attempt at promoting decent behavior be seen as a threat to open mindedness or freedom?

  45. Peeved Guy says:

    @KSE: I agree, jail would be an overreaction. Seriously though, is it too much to ask that people just have some common sense and be aware of what you are watching vs. who is present. Save the “racy” stuff for a more appropriate time.

  46. Sasquatch says:

    Perhaps he’s a reviewer for Hustler and had to make a deadline.

  47. OK so:

    1) Breastfeeding on a plane: not ok
    2) T-shirt with Arabic on a plane: not ok
    3) Laptop playing porn on a plane: OK

    Would porn on a t-shirt be ok?

  48. enm4r says:

    If they woman couldn’t simply ask the man to stop, there is a larger issue at hand.

    But seriously, I don’t get it. I wouldn’t watch porn on a plane, and I would prefer that the people next to me not watch it. Howver, if they chose to do so, I’d mind my own business. If for some reason I felt that was not possible, I’d politely ask if they would mind watching something else. I would expect the same out of anyone else, whether it be an extremely gorey movie, or the sexuality of another non-porn movie. After all, I’d rather sit next to a silent porn watcher than an obnoxious kid who feels the need to bounce all over the place.

    Also, I doubt a guy watching a hardcore porn on a plane is going to care if people know. I don’t think announcing it to the plane is really going to matter, and it shouldn’t.

  49. joemono says:

    @RP: Is it Arabic porn?

  50. 160medic says:

    PEEVED GUY
    Constitution did not say that.It is the Declaration of Independence that has those words.Are you one of those maple leafers or something?

  51. chazz says:

    I know that if I did that at work I would be creating a hostile work environment and would be subject to some sort of action. A severe talking to at the least. If a female co-worker reported it the company would have to take action to avoid being sued. I wonder if the airlines and/or other public type businesses could be in the same litigation position. (similar to ones shown in the porn vid no doubt).

  52. bigvicproton says:

    throw up. nothing clears a row faster…

  53. Peeved Guy says:

    @160medic: Curse you and your “facts”!

  54. ct03 says:

    I would have taken out my laptop and busted out a tubgirl/goatse slideshow for the remainder of the flight.

  55. macpiper says:

    a couple things here.

    has anyone thought that the guy’s job might be in the porn industry? although, i’ll agree watching it on a plane is a little weird.

    why couldn’t she just read a book or the inflight magazine instead of watching what was on this man’s laptop? sounds like she might have been a disgusted in the fact that she was into watching what was on this man’s computer.

  56. fhic says:

    I’d ask him politely and quietly to turn it off. If the response was anything less than what I desired, I’d accidentally spill my tasty beverage on him and his laptop. And it would probably be a nice caffeinated sugary beverage, and plenty of it. Oopsie.

  57. ancientsociety says:

    First, if you’re bothered or offended, and you fail to speak up, then you need to suck it up.

    Second, what’s with the homophobic comments here? I.E. When you “out” him, you should say “WOW, YOU LIKE GUYS TOO.!” I think that speaks to how messed up our society is about alternative sexualities.

    Third, the guy shouldn’t be watching porn on a plane. Not the time or place for it. I’m sure if someone politely asked him to stop, even if he’s an a******, the humilitation would probably do it.

    Fourth, I’m REALLY tired of other people trying to impose their views on others under the hollow soundbite of “It’ll hurt the children!” You people need to DIAF.

  58. 160medic says:

    I was just kidding.You are more versed than most Americans.At least you were in the same ballpark.

  59. ancientsociety says:

    Why in the world was my comment deleted??

  60. bbbici says:

    they should make some sort of polarized glasses so only the viewer can see what’s on the screen.

  61. Landru says:

    If it were gay porn you can be sure they would have made him turn it off. (And she would have mentioned it if it were. )

  62. textilesdiva says:

    If the airline really wanted to, they could classify this behavior as abusive: this man is exposing other people, without their consent, to sexual subject matter.

    Of course, I think it’d be a hard sell to most flight attendants, so if ‘have a little courtesy, would ya?’ didn’t work, I’d so totally be busting out my stash of REALLY hardcore stuff that I’ve offended some pretty jaded guys with. Two can play this game.

    …After asking the permission of anyone beside me, and the folks behind.

    And I agree that if you won’t handle things assertively, you have no right to complain.

  63. Peeved Guy says:

    @160medic: As was I, my friend, as was I. And by “in the same ballpark”, you mean “completely wrong”, I would have to agree.

  64. @bbbici: They already make privacy sceens you can slide over top of you monitor so that anyone who isn’t looking at it straight on only sees black.

    Carrying one (some?) and offering it to the person watching the offensive material is an option (you wouldn’t even be asking them to stop watching it) but you’d have to have the right size screen.

  65. I’m sorry but this makes me laugh. Unfortunately, I don’t think there is anything that can be done unless he starts whackin off on the airplane in which case he could not only be removed but charged with sexual misconduct and illegal exposure.

  66. reznicek111 says:

    @ bbbici: Related, does anyone sell ‘barndoors’ that clip on the side of a laptop/portable DVD player to allow greater privacy (like the black metal ‘shades’ on photographic and movie lighting gear)? Something like this would help keep the peace on flights.

  67. Xerloq says:

    So, why am I the first to pick up on the comedy embedded in this clause: “American may refuse to transport you, or may remove you from your flight at any point, for one or several reasons, including but not limited to the following:”

    Flight Attendant: Sir, please stop watching porn.
    Porn Addict: No.
    F: Stop, or we’ll remove you.
    P: Who cares?! Next stop is my destination.
    F: No, we’ll remove you now.
    P: What?! We’re 30,000 feet over Oklahoma City!
    F: We can remove you “at any point…”
    (Laptop shuts off)

    This would work great for any bung-hole who is being a jerk.

    No, you can’t have a parachute.

  68. KSE says:

    So in this thread we have people saying they would call the guy a homosexual, make false claims against him to get him arrested and intentionally break his laptop. Quite a great group of people here. I disagree with your tastes so I’m going to humiliate/falsely accuse/destroy your property.

    So much for live and let live. Get a life, stop caring so much what the people around you are doing, and mind your own damn business.

  69. Xerloq says:

    @rocnrule: If everyone in the world were just like me…

    C’mon, you gotta respect that other people have different beliefs. Part of being in a society is recognizing those differences and being courteous and respectful. The woman could have asked politely, the guy could have gone to the lavatory to watch his DVD. The flight attendant could have made an announcement that the guy was watching porn and that the woman wanted to switch seats with someone who don’t mind. I’m sure TONS of people would have volunteered.

    Personally, I’m reminded of that scene from “Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle” (I think that’s the right movie). The old lady’s response is the way to handle it.

  70. mathew says:

    Trouser Snakes on a Plane!

    I dunno, maybe pull out my laptop and start watching some gay porn?

  71. Karmakin says:

    @Xerloq: I thought the exact same thing.

  72. Thrust says:

    @mdkiff: Are you KIDDING! The first time I saw the movie Alive was on a flight from Edmonton to CanCun. And it was the in-flight movie, DVD wasn’t invented yet.

    And yet nobody asked the most important question… Was it at least a good porno? Singles Mile-High Club.

    How hardcore was it? Somethin soft like Flesh Gordon or Gums, or real raunchy stuff you expect to see starring Paris Hilton?

  73. Skeptic says:

    You have the right to watch porn until it starts interfering with my right -not- to watch it.

    Watching porn on a plane was very inappropriate, especially without narrow viewing angle privacy film on his laptop and completely sealed in-ear monitors (IEMs). Shaming this individual may or may not have worked to get him to stop, especially considering his callous attitude in the first place. And confronting him could have made the rest of her flight sitting next to him even more uncomfortable for the rest of the flight.

    However, your Law and Order law degree has over simplified the concept of dueling rights. In this case, due to the extreme Puritanism in this country over sex you are probably right in this specific context, but only that. My right to free speech, for instance, doesn’t end because of your non-existent right to never be exposed to opposing viewpoints.

  74. axiomatic says:

    OK, playing devils advocate here.

    What if the guy on the plane is actually in the porn industry? How do we know this guy was not doing his “homework” of deciding if he wants to distribute this porn DVD with his DVD distribution business or not?

    Just because your own morals do not agree with the subject at hand (pun intended) does not make his “work” any more or less valid than say someone who works for a oil company.

    I will wholeheartedly agree if he was sitting in front of (or next to) a child. But you adults need to grow up a little.

    Same argument with the TV, if you don’t like it, change the channel, but don’t screw it up for everyone else.

  75. MandM813 says:

    @Peeved Guy: Amen! I don’t get the people on here who feel that they have the “right” to watch porn, no matter where they are or what the situation. Use some common sense people. Asking you to not watch adult material in a confined space that most likely includes children is NOT imposing on your rights and freedom of speech.

    Like someone said, if they can give people a ticket for wathing porn in ANOTHER CAR, how could they not ask someone in the same airplane to stop watching porn? I feel sorry for the lady, it would be really embarrassing to have to ask the guy to turn it off, and then sit next to him the entire flight.

    And honestly, with all the lunatics out there these days, I would be afraid to say something to him. Anyone looney enough to watch porn on a plane might not be the most reasonable person in the world. Just my opinion, of course. But in my experience, Im always right ; )

  76. Pipes says:

    @macpiper: I find your last bit amusing, about “sounds like she might have been a disgusted in the fact that she was into watching what was on this man’s computer.” I’m a female. I watch porn. I’ve been at parties where porn was showing. Hell, I have initiated showing porn at parties!

    But there’s a difference between watching porn in a situation you expect it and on an airplane. I would feel uncomfortable if a man beside me was watching porn. And honestly, I’d have to work up my courage to ask him to stop. If he’s that creepy to be watching pornography in a public place, then I don’t really want to talk to him.

    Of course, if he was a porn reviewer, I would bug him for the rest of the flight about his job.

  77. duece says:

    perfect example of people today with no backbone. I mean seriously if it “really bothers” you but you can’t open your mouth and tell them, the shut the hell up. This is almost as funny as people who walk up behind someone and then just stand there and wait, instead of saying excuse me so they could walk by.
    Wake up, grow up and speak up.. other wise Shut the hell up

  78. Amsterdaam says:

    I would be creepier than he was, we could have a total creep-off.

  79. skyyguy says:

    When I sit next to a prude; I take out my bible, and begin tearing each page into 4 sections.

    For some reason this really pisses people off.

    There is a never ending supply of bibles in each hotel room I stay in.

  80. The Bigger Unit says:

    Enh, to those who suggest “embarrassing” the guy publicly, I doubt he can be embarrassed. He’s openly watching porn on an airplane. He obviously has no social skills or conscience.

    And I don’t mind porn, so fuck off.

  81. silenuswise says:

    @chimmike: Yup, that was my point earlier. I still don’t understand why airlines don’t simply pull the same maneuver they did with the breast feeders and kissers: we’re a commercial airline, and so, like for any other private company, this is not a “public” space. You cannot watch pornographic films, you cannot breastfeed, etc., simply because we say so. Don’t like it? Don’t fly with us next time.

    I’m not saying I agree with this attitude, but rather pointing out that airlines have every LEGAL RIGHT to dictate what behavior transpires on their planes (outside of breaking federal laws, of course).

  82. Skeptic says:

    Wake up, grow up and speak up.. other wise Shut the hell up

    Yeah, that’s how road rage and bar fights get started, by people with your attitude. Picking a fight with your seat-mate on an airplane…what a well, thought out great idea.

    Taking low confrontational approach is a completely legitimate stance, especially in this circumstance.

  83. G.Quagmire says:

    “And don’t give me this cr*p about Americans being prudes about sex. I doubt that Lufthansa flights are full of Germans watching hardcore porn.”

    It’s not crap, it’s true.

    I was on a British Airways flght a few years ago where one of the in-flight movies was Monster’s Ball which I wouldn’t consider hard-core porn, but does contain an extensive sex scene between Halle Berry & Billy Bob Thorton that is about as explicit as it gets and still get an R-rating. It seems that on (at least some) non-American airlines, movies are not edited for content – the scene was shown in full for all to see, including, yes, children. In fact I took special note of a 7-ish year old British girl sitting with her parents in the row ahead of me watching the film. Personally, stuff like this doesn’t bother me and it didn’t appear to bother her parents either.

    So if one person (American) had complained about the content of the film being shown, should they have turned the movie off?

    Where do you draw the line with people consuming potentially offensive content in a public place? What am I supposed to do if the guy next to me is watching a white-power propaganda video on his laptop, or a high school kid is reading an Intelligent Design (sic) textbook? I guarantee you that this kinda stuff is just as offensive to me as porn is to feminists or other anti-porn folks. What are you going to do when planes get wifi? Start blocking websites? You either allow it all, or, well, somebody’s gotta decide what’s allowable and what isn’t. And who is qualified for that job? I submit to you that anyone who wants or would take that job is uniquely *unqualified* to do it.

  84. G.Quagmire says:

    I should add, that if you are on a flight that has published policies against certain behavior, by buying that ticket & stepping on to that plane, you are agreeing to abide by those rules. That being said, I don’t believe that any airline has specifically & publicly prohibited breast-feeding, kissing, or porn watching on their flights.

  85. vkxmai says:

    I think this is an issue we can chalk up to Americans’ puritanical attitudes.

    Once, when coming home from Romania, I was reading a German news magazine, DER SPIEGEL, (Like Time or Newsweek) which had bare breasts on it, while waiting for a connecting flight back to Cincinnati. After spending a month in Europe, I had forgotten how uptight we Americans can be. When I finished reading and put the magazine away, it seemed that those opposite from me were glaring in my direction.

    Personally, I think that an individual watching pornography in a public place is pretty tacky, but I wouldn’t dare tell them to stop.

  86. bilge says:

    Why not join in the fun and blow your load all over his laptop?

  87. Peeved Guy says:

    @G.Quagmire: Isn’t your argument along the lines of “In Xland, they allow the children to work 12 hour days when they are 10 years old. We should be less strict when it comes to child labor laws and allow kids to work beginning at age 8, because they do it in Xland.”

    I realize that is an extreme example, but my point is that just because another country has different mores and values regarding something (drinking, sex, etc.) it does not mean that American values regarding that same subject are worse (or better, for that matter), just different. I don’t see why, if an English couple does not mind their 7-ish year old daughter watches Monsters Ball, I shouldn’t. I;m sure there are plenty of couples in the US that would subscribe to that, too, but I don;t think they are any more correct because they are American. I’d rather have my 5 year old watching Monsters, Inc.

    Extending your analogy just a bit, do you think the reaction to a porn video on a Lufthansa flight would be met with the same reaction if it were a white supremacy video?

  88. nequam says:

    @The Nature Boy: Exactly. This guy seems to be beyond embarrassment. In fact, there’s at least a touch of exhibitionism in what he’s doing. He’s probably getting off on the fact that people are watching him watching porn.

  89. PlanetExpressdelivery says:

    The problem with a lot of comments posted here seems to resolve around the issue of whether or not pornography is protected by the First Amendment.
    [en.wikipedia.org]

    There is a difference between protected nudity and obscene nudity. I believe the offended customer here is obviously referring to obscene material. Yes, the customer viewing porngraphy can be in some trouble because disseminating harmful material to unconsenting adults and minors is against the law, and his screen was not in a private space. His screen was easily viewable to people directly adjacent to his left and right, and possibly people in the aisle.

    I personally believe that this situation can be compared to people who play pornographic movies while driving in the cars. People have been arrested for committing this action, even though some have tried to argue that their vehicle is the definition of a private space.

    Besides, would anybody here want to sit next to anyone else while they’re probably fully aroused?

  90. silenuswise says:

    @G.Quagmire: “I don’t believe that any airline has specifically & publicly prohibited breast-feeding, kissing, or porn watching on their flights.”

    *Bzzzz* Try again:

    no kissing (at least not gay kissing):
    [www.consumerist.com]

    no breastfeeding:
    [www.msnbc.msn.com]

    no profane t-shirts (even movie title parodies):
    [www.homelandstupidity.us]

    Regarding the third incident, Southwest Airlines spokesperson Beth Harbin said: “We do get it occasionally. What someone is wearing, what someone is reading, what someone might be saying and it’s very much a judgment call. But when other customers become concerned we do have to become involved in that and see what we can do to make everyone as comfortable as we can.”

    Again, the point is simple: U.S. airlines, as private corporations, can set their own rules–even indiscriminately and haphazardly–so long as they break no federal laws. You have no more inherent right to say or do what you want in a Southwest airplane than you do in a Wal-Mart.

  91. PlanetExpressdelivery says:

    @rocnrule:
    You’re an idiot Rocnrule. How can you compare “a little bit of nudity” to full on hardcore pornography? Movies with scenes of nudity are protected because they try to tell a story, whereas hardcore pornography is made with the specific intent of sexual arousal.
    Why shouldn’t this lady be offended? Why should this man have no need to view pornography? Are you implying that people should be free to procreate where and when they choose? I’m gonna have to hire a few overweight escorts and some firemen strippers and find out where your kids live. Let’s see if you agree with your own sentiments afterwards.
    I highly doubt that there is one country in the world (civilized especially) that publically brodacast hardcore pornography over it’s airwaves.

  92. suburbancowboy says:

    The lack of respect for others is getting worse and worse every day.
    When I used to take the train to Manhattan every day, I would often watch movies on my laptop. I would never put on a movie with anything offensive in it. I stuck to movies with no nudity or gore. I would be embarrassed if a child or an old lady walked by and saw any nudity, or anything too gory.

  93. axiomatic says:

    @PLANETEXPRESSDELIVERY

    Do not move to, or visit Sweden. There is hardcore porn on regular TV channels in the late hours.

  94. uricmu says:

    This is a slippery slope. What if I am watching an R rated movie that has violence, or god forbid, breasts? What if I want to watch an old superbowl…
    What if I want to watch a normal movie in which men may kiss, but there’s a priest or rabbi next to me?

    If you think about it, we are experiencing this kind of censorship already with the in-flight movies. If you ever watched spiderman on a plane, you probably got the version without the “wet t-shirt scene”.

    On the other hand, I was flying british airways and saw BBC dramas that had complete frontal nudity. The man next to me was watching the same show, while his young son was watching Harry Potter.

    I doubt the guy was really watching hardcore porn anyway. Who would do that in his seat?

  95. royal72 says:

    this is a joke right? have people become that fucking retarded? could it be as simple as turning to the guy and saying,

    “excuse me sir, would you mind turning that off please or watch something a little more pg-13 perhaps? i really appreciate it.”

    or…

    “look at the cunt on her! hey stewardess you gotta see this! how the fuck does he fit both his hands in there!?”

    or…

    “excuse me everyone. can i have your attention please… thank you. i’d like to inform you that the kind gentleman next to me, will be screening ‘fuck my dirty little ass 6′ shortly. run time is approximately two hours. thank you.”

  96. G.Quagmire says:

    @ SILENUSWISE

    Thank you for doing the research for me, because it exactly proves my point. No airline has written or published rules that *specifically* prohibit any of those behaviors – it’s up to the judgment of individual flight crews. So if you happen to get crew member who is homophobic, feminist, or hates kids, then the passengers who engage in gay kissing, porn watching, or breast feeding are going to be treated unfairly at the whim of the flight crew.

  97. Snakeophelia says:

    I would demand that the flight attendants let me switch seats. Not because I’m completely skeeved out by porn, but because I would not want to sit next to a guy who not only can’t wait until he lands in Philly to watch his porn, but is doing so without a privacy screen. That means he’s not only horny but inconsiderate, and quite possibly too limited in social skills to understand that certain adult behavior is not acceptable in all settings, or too sociopathic to care. Just let me switch seats with the air marshal, and everything will be hunky dory.

  98. G.Quagmire says:

    @silenuswise: “Again, the point is simple: U.S. airlines, as private corporations, can set their own rules–even indiscriminately and haphazardly–so long as they break no federal laws.”

    I guess my point was that this is true, but they can’t make up rules as they go along. If it was, the flight crews could seat all the black people in the back of plane and declare a “no shitting in the bathroom because it stinks up the plane” rule.

  99. CapitalC says:

    Americans REALLY ARE too uptight about what’s shown in public – a good example is Michaelangelo’s ‘David’. Some groups find it offensive simply because you can see the guy’s package. It’s a classic piece of art yet his marble penis is somehow obscene. It’s just a naked man for crying out loud. Have these people never seen a naked man before?

    If there’s a breast flashed in the movie I’m watching on the plane, provided I’m not sitting beside a child I think it should be okay. It’s not like I’m intentionally watching something to disturb the person beside me – I wouldn’t watch some terror / horror / gore movie on a flight.

    Watching adult-rated material (hardcore, softcore, whatever) isn’t acceptable in a public place unless you have the consent of everyone present.

  100. G.Quagmire says:

    @uricmu: “I doubt the guy was really watching hardcore porn anyway. Who would do that in his seat?”

    Really. Give the guy a chance to defend himself at least – who knows what really happened. He might have been watching Monster’s Ball or Boogie Nights or other mainstream film that happens to have nudity or a sex scene.

    A couple weeks ago, (because of their well-deserved reputation) everyone was all over the TSA screeners who wouldn’t let that mom take her baby’s water thru security when they only had heard her side of the story.

  101. jaredharley says:

    @everyone who is claiming their first amendment rights:

    The First Amendment doesn’t give you the right to say whatever you want, or any rights at all. Rather, it removes several rights from the government:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    Stating that you can “say whatever you want” because of the First Amendment simply isn’t true.

  102. silenuswise says:

    @G.Quagmire: “but they can’t make up rules as they go along.” Sure they can, and they can apply them inconsistently, so long as they don’t violate civil rights (e.g., racial or sexual discrimination). You have no absolute right to receive the service of a private company.

    “could seat all the black people in the back of plane…” No, they couldn’t, because then you have grounds for racial discrimination, and a bona fide civil rights violation. You’re comparing apples and oranges.

  103. valkin says:

    If this happened to me, I don’t think I could stop laughing at first. Then, I’d be creeped out not by the porn itself, but because there was a strange man sitting in an airplane seat that practically violate personal boundaries they are so close, committing what he probably knows to be a hostile act, next to an unknown female. It’s this, not the porn, that is violating. Depsite the fact that the male passenger wasn’t masturbating, there is little difference between him and a man in a subway car rubbing one off in front of a woman.

    If he worked in the industry, he’d have a privacy screen, folks. This guy was either mentally disabled or enjoying victimizing this woman.

  104. G.Quagmire says:

    @silenuswise: I would say that at least 2 of those examples (gay kissing & breast-feeding) fall squarely into a civil rights grey area. Personally, I can’t make the case that disallowing someone to watch porn on a plane violates his civil rights, but I bet there’s a lawyer out there who would be willing to try, and could probably make a halfway decent argument for it.

  105. The Bigger Unit says:

    @valkin: Beat me to it. Some juvenile commenters on this forum throw around “retarded” like a funny adjective, but the man watching the porno may have been developmentally disabled, and didn’t have the social filters any non developmentally-disabled person would have. Thus, he rocked a porno in-flight.

    Sorry, but it isn’t normal to sit in an airplane and roll out a porno, no matter what you “free rights” folks think. It’s ridiculous.

  106. Kimli says:

    Man, some people have all the luck – in my DREAMS would I be stuck on a flight next to someone watching porn. I can think of a dozen fun things to do in that situation, each more embarrassing to the viewer than the last. I do have a flight tonight actually .. maybe I’ll get lucky!

  107. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    You can watch all the pr0n you want next to me on the plane, just don’t be eyeballing me about my alleged flatulence, sir.

    I would go back to reading my book. However, in the case of ‘no headphones’ I would say something or there might be some accidental soft drink spillage.

  108. G.Quagmire says:

    @The Nature Boy: I don’t think I, any of my friends, or (as far as I know) anyone I’ve ever met would disagree with you that it’s not “normal”. But at what point do you stop allowing people to view any potentially offensive (not just sexually explicit) content in public? And who gets to decide what is allowable & what is not?

    In the specific case of the airlines, since you are on their property & they can make you obey a set of rules, I would say that it is their responsibility to define what is & what is not acceptable. If they don’t, then this is what you get: a guy watching porn on an airplane, a pissed off lady in the window seat, & a bunch of people on the internet debating whether or not he had the right to do watch it i.e. nothing gets accomplished.

    Now that everyone travels with a laptop, iPhone, PMP or whatever & can semi-publicly view whatever content they please, how hard would it be for an airline to come up with a set of rules for acceptable content? Type up a document of do’s & don’t’s, run it by the legal department, run it by the PR department, and done. Make it part of the fine print that nobody ever reads when they buy an airline ticket or part of the flight crew safety briefing that nobody ever listens to. Publish it in the in-flight magazine next to the list of snacks or in-flight entertainment. Just put the rules out there so that next time this happens, the flight attendant can point to something & say “see this? whether you know it or not, you agreed to it. now turn that shit off.”

  109. 160medic says:

    @G.Quagmire:
    No they woul not put the black people in the back of the plane.Thats the safest part of the aircraft,and probably the quietest.The black folks would either be up front(just behind first class)or not allowed on most flights.

  110. EtherealStrife says:

    So wait. For her to contact a flight attendant she had to climb over the guy watching the porno (do I give him the crotch or the ass?). Yet somehow she was too uptight to just ask the guy to turn it off?

    I call BS.

  111. Thrust says:

    Funny how we are ALL focused on the porn part of the original post and nobody had anything to say about kids watching DVDs on a flight without headphones (tho if someone did mention it, I missed it under all the porn). Porn is a distraction, but KIDS are an annoyance.

  112. Michael says:

    @deweydecimated: Seconded. At that point the airline should engage in some above and beyond customer service and provide an upgrade on the spot. Win-win for the passengers, and a win for the airline, because it will guarantee that this woman flies with them again.

  113. GrandmaSophie says:

    I can understand why she didn’t want to engage the guy directly – if he became argumentative, she could end up hurt, or wrapped up in a situation that resulted in *her* getting in trouble with authorities.

    That said, if the attendant wouldn’t help her, I think she should have stood up and said, “Is there anybody here who would like to switch seats with me? I’m afraid I haven’t much taste for the porn video my rowmate is watching, but I imagine there must be *someone* here who would like to watch it with him.”

  114. bosston says:

    Couldn’t you just put a magnet on his laptop when he’s not looking and hope that the hard drive shorts out?

  115. Auntie M. says:

    This reminds me of the time my 80-year-old mother and I were flying, and the guy next to my mother pulled out his laptop and proceeded to watch his DVDs of “Oz.” He was in the aisle seat, and there was no way to not see what was on the screen. Thank goodness we both had brought books…

  116. xredgambit says:

    Yea I would go the route of asking the guy 1st, I meancome on, if it offends you to the extent that you complain, try and reason with him. After that just say loudly put the gay porn away.
    But the laws of the land should apply, unless this flight went over canada then into international water then to LA.

  117. crankymediaguy says:

    As far as I’m concerned, this guy can watch whatever midget-fucking-a-one-legged-chick porn he wants IN THE PRIVACY OF HIS HOME. I truly am not interested in taking away his right to do what he wants, but it simply isn’t appropriate in a setting containing other people who didn’t opt in.

    If you ask the guy to stop and he won’t, the answer is simple: take out your camera and take a picture of his face, explaining that you will be posting this on your blog, along with the details of the story. He can’t POSSIBLY object to this on the grounds of privacy, can he?

  118. Skyoodpov says:

    @jaredharley:

    So essentially the first amendment reads that no law can be instituted to punish me for expressing my opinions.

    That can easily be interpreted as “I can say whatever I want.”

  119. Thrust says:

    The fun here is that we STILL don’t know what “porn” he was watching. Hardcore is a loose term (usually with loose chicks), and if it was just bare tits the chick beside him was just a prude.

    In Canada, the porno movie Flesh Gordon has been dropped from the adult section and places in either SciFi or Comedy (depending on the rental place), and has been re-rated from american X to Canadian PG-13.

  120. WhatsMyNameAgain says:

    People who annoy you…

  121. Scuba Steve says:

    Politely tell the person that you are under the age of 18 and that what he’s doing is illegal.,, or if that’s an impossible prospect, tell the person that you’re extremely uncomfortable with watching that and after all the Taiwanese food you just ate, vomiting is a very real possibility.

  122. a_m_m_b says:

    food for thought: if the woman felt unable to confront him directly, seems the hostile environment case has already been made.

    however, what the heck happened to manners & basic courtesy?! save the porn for personal time or get a privacy screen for it.

    @Xerloq: best solution offered in this thread – love it.

  123. nardo218 says:

    People do this to make the passengers next to them uncomfortable. It’s sexual assault. Librarians get it all the time — some guy is looking at porn on the library computers and he calls over a (young) female librarian and asks her how to find more. It’s sexual assault, really — he’s using his sexuality to beliettle and intimidate her.

  124. FearTheMonkey says:

    This is actually rather interesting. The last time I flew on vacation, my wife & I took Southwest from LA to Chicago. We both had our laptops & actually watched anime movies on the flight. Before takeoff, while we were setting our laptop up, I asked one the flight attendants what they would do if someone wanted to watch porn? He said they don’t do anything to stop them. If it bothers someone, they’ll ask the person to move to another seat – or try to move the person being offended.
    I hadn’t thought about it until I read this story.
    My take is, if they guy wants to watch porn, he can watch porn. If you truly cherish a free society, you’re going to have to put up with the fact that other people are going to do things that offend you. How is watching a sex movie worse than watching a violent movie?? People having sex is more offensive than, say, Saw?

  125. shiznannigan says:

    Shine a flashlight in his eyes. After all, he doesn’t HAVE to look at it, he could easily look elsewhere, right?

    Or kindly remind the guy that, if a kid walks by and takes a peek (hard not to in the confines of an airplane) he is a sex offender. Have fun announcing that to the neighbors!

    While I partially agree that Americans are too uptight about sex, it doesn’t change the fact that they’re the standards of the country. Carrying an AK-47 isn’t a big deal in many middle eastern countries, but I’d rather not see one on a plane.

  126. BongHits4Jesus says:

    Two comments:
    1) On the other end of the spectrum I sat next to a guy on a recent flight who asked the other guy in our row and me whether we would be offended if he ordered a beer during drink service. Sensitive to recovering alcoholics and/or LDS members I guess.

    2) On the First Amendment, everyone does realize it goes waaaaaaaaaaaay beyond what the Constitution says, right? Basically the Supreme Court has classified speech into protected, unprotected, and less protected classes.

    Political speech is the most protected, but may be restricted by the government in terms of the time, place and manner in which the speech occurs. You can protest the war and use the streets to do it, but the city government can restrict you from blocking the streets at 5:30 pm on Thursday.

    Porn is among the least protected speech. Governments can’t ban it outright, but they can pass zoning regs to spread it out or keep it in one place. And although “protecting the children” and “porn leads to crime” might be stupid, specious arguments, those are the arguments that have convinced the Supreme Court.

    But as was said many times before, the First Amendment sets limits on how *government* may limit speech, the Constitution sets no limits on what private entities may do to limit speech (because that’s the market’s job.)

  127. econobiker says:

    In Tennessee it is against the law to watch porn on automobile DVD players so if he landed at BNA with the porn playing, he might get a ticket.

  128. snowferret says:

    You say “Hey asshole, turn of the fucking porn or I’m going to complain to the flight atendant!”

  129. CapitalC says:

    Interesting note to add… I just got off a Japan Airlines flight from Vancouver to Tokyo and one of the films they offered on the seat-back entertainment was “300”. There’s a few boobs in there and an “implied sex” scene and it’s also fairly violent. Sure they have “privacy filters” on them so the person beside you can’t see them (they make the LCD look dark) but someone sitting on the aisle can see other people’s screens sitting ahead of them.

    I don’t really see that as offensive material but I was surprised to see it on the flight.

  130. eli_b says:

    he said fuck the in flight movie…literally

  131. TomInPhx says:

    One answer might be found in the copyright laws, which only permit PRIVATE use of DVDs, but I think the better solution is to scream, “Stop it! Stop touching me!” It doesn’t matter if he did or not. Who’s going to believe the guy with the porn over you? They’ll move him next to the Sky Marshall in Row 1…where there’s no tray table.