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United Airlines

United Has a Pornography Problem

United Has a Pornography Problem
Jennifer Billock

You’ve heard horror stories about it: people on flights watching explicit pornography in the seat right next to you. Or across the aisle, or in another row… wherever it’s happening, you don’t want to see it or be around it. United Airlines has taken steps to address the problem on their own aircraft.

United Airlines has a problem. A pornography problem. It seems that passengers want to watch porn pretty frequently when flying with United. Passengers have been discovered watching porn in close quarters to children, and crew has been accused of sexually harassing women. It’s gotten so bad that it landed the airline on a watchlist.

The 2019 Dirty Dozen List

The Dirty Dozen List is maintained by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE)—and United ended up on the list in 2019. The list named 12 contributors to sexual exploitation in the country; it shared a spot on the list with companies like Amazon, Twitter, and HBO.

“Sexual harassment includes but is not limited to, unwanted sexual advances or attention including physical actions, speech, and viewing pornography in-flight,” the NCOSE said on its website about the problems at United. “While cases of these actions have occurred on virtually every airline, United Airlines aircrews have apparently received ineffective training due to consistent failures in addressing sexually harassing actions, speech, or pornography-use. For example, United Airlines appears to have struggled with protecting flight crews and passengers alike from sexual harassment.”

Getting Clean

In response to getting put on the Dirty Dozen list, United recognized it has a problem, and then took measures to fix it. The airline made efforts to focus on training in order to fix the problem.

“Sexual harassment, inappropriate behavior, intimidation or predation have absolutely no place anywhere in our society—including, and especially, in our industry and on our aircraft,” United said in a statement. “In 2018, we strengthened our training for flight attendants to recognize, address and respond to instances of sexual harassment of any kind on board our aircraft and will continue to adapt and enhance this training moving forward. We recognize the need to continue the discussion among all of our workgroups to further ensure that our policies reflect our values and safeguard those traveling with us.”

As a result of United’s effort to put staff training front and center, the NCOSE has decided to remove the airline from the Dirty Dozen List for now.

View Comments (23)


  1. IBJoel

    February 6, 2020 at 1:00 pm

    Rarely do I cry “think of the children” or “indecency”. But yikes, like what are you doing?!

  2. NavSTL


    February 6, 2020 at 2:38 pm

    1) Do not expose children to porn. It’s always heinous and often criminal. 2) Take the “watchlist” part with several billion grains of salt, as the publishing organization is opposed to adults exposing themselves to porn and or something remotely approaching it (like the SI swimsuit issue), consistently conflating “sexy” with sexual exploitation.

  3. Gigantor

    February 7, 2020 at 2:16 am

    Sounds like an airline to avoid…

  4. whitethunder

    February 7, 2020 at 9:58 am

    Who watches hardcore porn on an airplane??

    I thought this was about in flight movies, I would say of course no-one should be allowed to do this on their own device, you do not have any expectation of privacy in an airplane, save it for when you are home

  5. glob99

    February 7, 2020 at 5:21 pm

    So you can’t watch a PG-13 show because there may be an under 13 child on the flight?

  6. peterk814

    February 8, 2020 at 4:33 am

    Birds and the bees?

  7. D2travel

    February 8, 2020 at 5:00 am

    Ugh, that’s disgusting, can’t imagine a normal person watching porn on their personal device in such a area. Once it’s been discovered, flight staff should remove that person’s device and return it once they leave the aircraft. Shame this even has to be addressed! WTH has happened to travelers????

  8. MimiB22

    February 8, 2020 at 5:38 am

    Whitethunder wonders who watches hardcore on a plane? The man sitting next to me on a recent flight. But I’m not a shrinking violet. I first turned to him and said, quietly but firmly, “If you don’t turn that off, I’m calling a FA and will make it clear you’re sexually harrassing me”. “Oh, come on”, he said, ‘watch it with me or are you a prude?” At that point, I reached up for the call button. He realized I wasn’t going to be a good sport about his porn and he turned it off. Needless to say, it was not pleasant for me sitting next to his creep the rest of the flight, but at least I’d spoiled his fun and luckily he fell asleep.
    I have to wonder… what kind of jerk would watch porn on an airplane where it can be seen by anyone including children? The kind of person desperate for the cheap thrill they get by watching the people react to their provocations. They may feel emboldened amongst strangers. They may even have pedophile tendencies if they’re doing it with kids near by. Airlines need to take a zero tolerance stance.

  9. jrpallante

    February 8, 2020 at 7:25 am

    There are many things people do that simply should not be done in public. If I saw somebody watching porn on a plane where others could see, I would pull out my camera and post my first video on YouTube.

  10. mbgaskins

    February 8, 2020 at 7:33 am

    Wow. Yes it is disgusting that someone would watch porn on a plane it is equally disgusting that these people are trying to impose their morals on their fellow passengers.

    Sexual harassment. What a joke. Just don’t pay attention to it. Just a bunch of nosy busybodies.

    People around me are watching movies, reading, and working on stuff. I don’t pay any attention to what they are doing, reading, or watching and have no idea what they are doing. It is easy to do if I only focus on me and what I am doing.

    Of course this is completely different if children are around. It becomes the adults responsibility to not expose the, to that filth.

    I am so sick and tired of claims of sexual harassment that aren’t. It is the same as racism. The terms are so over used that it has diluted them to the point they al’ost have no real meaning anymore.

    Yes there is true sexual harassment and true racism etc and we need to focus on those. We don’t need to peek inside someone’s window to see them watching porn then claim they are sexually harassing us.

    Let me be clear that watching porn on a plane is disgusting but maybe we should take more responsibility ourselves instead of claiming victimhood and just ignore it.

  11. Tino

    February 8, 2020 at 7:41 am

    I’ve watched some pretty hard-R rated movies on the in-flight entertainment before, so I guess that makes me a disgusting criminal deviant.

  12. Alefson

    February 8, 2020 at 7:41 am

    Seems like a PR piece for NCOSE. I am missing info how to contribute to them. Maybe they have enough money already?

  13. Dougingb

    February 8, 2020 at 7:46 am

    I have a semi-serious question. What happens if someone is watching gay porn on the plane? Would anyone complaining about that be accused of homophobia??

  14. m44

    February 8, 2020 at 7:53 am

    The problem is EXPLOITATION and ABUSE OF POWER.
    United is not the problem. Protecting children from life is not the solution. Neither nudity nor sex is automatically the porn.
    Following Justice Stewart and his clerk’s attempt to define porn:
    “We’ll know it when we see it”.
    Is it that you do not like what (presumably) he is watching? …war movies? …horror movies? How about the Hallmark channel? I can now imagine your outrage at what he is thinking?
    Now we know that aubuse of power is OK – after all it was just approved by the US Senate. We can only try to deal with the exploitation.

  15. Open Jaw

    February 8, 2020 at 8:37 am

    MBGASKINS: Are you kidding me? Watching porn is not only disgusting, but criminal. The viewer should be thrown off the plane, banned for life from flying and locked up. Porn should only be viewed in private, and a plane is never private. Period! As for imposing my morals, I have the right to impose my morals on you if you lack the morals to grasp the fact that porn must never be shown on a plane. Moreover, I do not have to ignore what other passenger is doing when he or she is committing a crime.

  16. Morgacj2004

    February 8, 2020 at 1:45 pm

    Regarding the comment: “Yes there is true sexual harassment and true racism etc and we need to focus on those. We don’t need to peek inside someone’s window to see them watching porn then claim they are sexually harassing us.
    Let me be clear that watching porn on a plane is disgusting but maybe we should take more responsibility ourselves instead of claiming victimhood and just ignore it.”

    Excellent view point. Exactly my thoughts.

  17. dro45

    February 8, 2020 at 2:55 pm

    mbgaskins, I’m glad I don’t know you.

    You really expect an 8 year old girls to “take responsibility” for herself. Disgusting.

  18. NavSTL


    February 8, 2020 at 3:45 pm

    @mbgaskins pretty sure “mind your business” would not be considered an appropriate demand if someone had their own privates out in view of strangers; why should it be the expectation if you’re showing someone else’s digitally-delivered privates to strangers?

  19. SpartyAir

    February 8, 2020 at 11:25 pm

    m44, you are an idiot. There was absolutely no abuse of power. That comment had no business being posted in this thread as it does not apply to porn on a plane.

    I’ve been 1K or platinum for several years on United and never saw anyone watching porn on the plane. Is this really a problem on United, or are United passengers taking it upon them selves to report bad behavior more than passengers on other airlines?

  20. rworne

    February 9, 2020 at 7:44 am

    I’m shaking my head reading this.

    United had on its IFE various seasons of Game of Thrones, and one episode had an extended full screen shot of some guy examining his junk for warts.

    Back in the old days (’98-99), I used to bring my portable DVD player on flights with my own entertainment. I never watched anything pornographic, but I do recall when the nude scenes came up in Fast Times in Ridgemont High, necks were craning in the seats around me. No one complained though.

  21. fahrradman

    February 12, 2020 at 7:57 pm

    Nothing but click bait. I’ve flown about 2000 flights in the last 15 years. How many flights have I seen another passenger watching porn? Zero. I’m sure it happens but so infrequently to be considered a statistical anomaly. Anyway, when it does happen, I would think the correct response would be to summon an FA and I would suspect in 99% of the time they would handle it appropriately.

  22. RUAMKZ

    February 13, 2020 at 2:33 pm

    I agree with it being “click bait” sounds like United is being “singled out” when this stuff happens on all airlines(when it even does). The chances of people viewing porn on flights is extremely low.

  23. White Eagle

    February 14, 2020 at 10:05 am

    Not surprised that UNITED made the porno problem list…UNITED is just an all-around trash airline…allows porno on flights, steals PAX’s miles, puts customers in non-reclining seats half-glued to the aft bulkhead…etc., etc., etc. Trash from start to finish…the Unfriendly Skies of UNITED…

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