Delta Air Lines Backtracks On Inflight Entertainment Censorship

This week, airlines have been on the receiving end of criticism for omitting scenes certain scenes from their inflight movies. Delta Air Lines was one of the airlines that censored a lesbian love scene. However, the airline has now made a U-turn on its controversial decision.

Delta B767
Delta is changing its stance on inflight content. Photo: Tomás Del Coro via Wikimedia Commons

Etihad and Emirates were two of the other airlines that received a backlash for the edits, following comment from the film’s director Olivia Wilde. The celebrity replied to a tweet from a viewer who mentioned to her that a lesbian sex scene from the movie Booksmart was cut. Despite the edits, scenes involving non-lesbians doing similar activities were still shown on the flight.

Change of heart

However, The Guardian reports that the first of the carriers to revise its approach is Delta. The airline had also omitted certain homosexual scenes from Rocketman, a film about the life of Elton John. Now, the airline has announced that it will keep these scenes within the films.

“We are working to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” a Delta spokesperson said.

Emirates Boeing 777-200LR
Emirates is another airline that is under fire for its decision. Photo: BriYYZ via Wikimedia Commons

Heavily addressed

Delta states that the situation occurred after a third-party vendor presented it with edits to choose from. Out of the versions presented to Delta, the airline chose the heavily edited one. The firm added that incidents such as this won’t happen again.

“Studios often provide videos in two forms: a theatrical, original version and an edited version,” Delta shared as per The Guardian’s report.

“We selected the edited version and now realize content well within our guidelines was unnecessarily excluded from both films. We are working to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

“The studio has agreed to provide a special Delta edit that retains the LGBTQ+ love scenes in both Booksmart and Rocketman that will be on our flights as soon as possible.”

Delta Air Lines Airbus A350
Delta affirms that a situation like this won’t be repeated. Photo: formulanone via Wikimedia Commons

Sensitive area

Despite Delta tending to the issue, it is unlikely that Etihad or Emirates will change their decision. Both carriers are backed by governments of the United Arab Emirates, a nation where LGBTQ+ rights are heavily suppressed. Therefore, with the airlines being so closely linked with the state, they will be reluctant to change their policies.

Nonetheless, it was surprising that Delta, a carrier that operates in the largely open nation of the United States originally censored these scenes. There was also a recent report of a passenger receiving a homophobic slur on her luggage while it was in Delta’s care. Subsequently, it took negative publicity for the airline to rethink its strategy regarding inflight entertainment. However, Olivia Wilde is happy to put the inflight movie situation to rest as she thanked the company for its statement.

Simple Flying reached out to Delta for comment but did not hear back before publication. We will update the article with any further announcements.

What do you think of Delta’s approach to this situation? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.