Thanks to the comedians of the 80′s and 90′s, airline food has gotten a pretty bad reputation. But on a recent transatlantic flight with a reputable airline I started to wonder how inflight entertainment hasn’t come under the same scrutiny.
Unless you’re sat in First Class, where most airlines garner you with roasted deep sea crustaceans and blow jobs on request, the entertainment in economy class is pretty shocking for this day and age; the choice is poor, the screens are tiny, the sound is tinny and don’t get me started on the “made for airline” editing.
The flight I was on was roughly ten and a half hours long, which works out at about four films including time for take off, meals, trips to the lavatory and landing. Normally, having the time to just sit and watch four films in one day is an absolute godsend but on a plane it’s one of the worst things in the world.
My flight had a choice of five films; “Just Go With It”, “Win Win”, “Never Say Never”, “Rio” and “The Maiden Heist”. Of those films I had heard of three, was going to purposefully avoid two and was offended by the inclusion of one. In the inflight magazine, “Rio” was listed as the kid’s choice, which raises the question of who “Never Say Never” was for? Who picked these films?
I’ll admit that I hadn’t heard of “The Maiden Heist”, a Morgan Freeman film in which three security guards try to steal artworks from the museum they guard and “Win Win”, a Paul Giamatti vehicle in which he plays a struggling lawyer and high school wrestling coach who finds a kid who could help his team win their first tournament in years.
After a much needed nap I started with “Win Win”. Despite the tiny screen and constant whirring of the plane’s engines, I absolutely loved it. Or did I? Was the fact that I was tired and in need of entertainment heighten my perception of the film? Had the altitude lowered my standards? Or was it that weird cheese paste thing I was digesting? Well, I watched five minutes of “Just Go With It” and turned that shit off, so no, my standards were fine.
Anyway, as good as “Win Win” was, it had been edited for the plane. Having only seen the film at 35000 feet I can only assume that Paul Giamatti doesn’t repeatedly shout “Holy Shint!” in the normal version. On the way home I watched “Cedar Rapids”, which was full of classic dubbing like “horse” instead of “whore”, “cheese and rice” instead of “Jesus Christ” and “buzzard” instead of “bastard”. They even went as far as to cut out a plot element in which an employee dies under what I can only assume was sexual circumstances.
Not only is the choice of films poor, but so is the equipment you watch them on. The tiny screens you watch is totally at the behest of the person whose seat they’re built into and there’s absolutely zero room angle them to compensate. On our return flight I was really excited to see that “Rango” was the “kid’s choice”. Despite the urge to watch it, I didn’t want my first time with this film to be under such crap conditions; it deserved better. And I had to pay an extra £5 for the privilege of pausing and rewinding, so if you’re a penny pincher and you need a piss, you’re going to miss out. You got an extra three films for the price, but one of the was “Hall Pass”, so, pass.
Considering the amount of time you spend on flights, especially ones where you fly over an ocean or continent, the airlines really need to update their entertainment systems in economy class. Just because I can’t afford to pay for First Class doesn’t mean I should be subjected to hours of crap I can’t even watch properly. How expensive is an 8-10 inch LED screen and a 1TB hard drive with a huge collection of films? If you have one, for the love of God, take your iPad.