As media director for in-flight content at Virgin Atlantic Airways, Lysette Gauna selects the movies that passengers watch as they jet around the globe. And Gauna makes sure that they see the whole movie, naughty bits and all; she refuses to edit out the sex and violence—standard airline practice. On Virgin, passengers get a choice of at least eight films. Parents can block channels so kids won't end up watching, say, the erotic French film An Affair of Love. (Which Gauna highly recommends.) Otherwise, anything goes. We asked Gauna about her unusual approach.
Q: Why did you opt out of editing in-flight movies?
A: We should treat our passengers as intelligent adults and respect the directors who made the films. I find the plots of movies that have been edited for airlines very amusing. Such as the infamous scene in The Crying Game, which was cut by some airlines. The movie must have made no sense at all. Why bother, I say.
Q: Have you been inundated with complaints about nudity?
A: We show a film with people blowing each other's brains out and hear not a whisper. But show a woman's breast and someone writes in.
Q: Has there ever been a movie so explicit you wouldn't run it at all?
A: No. If a movie is good but racy, we let viewers know. They decide.
Q: Are these films the most popular?
A: No. Big-star, blockbuster movies are. If we think they don't live up to the hype, we're quite honest in our reviews. We'll say, "We know you'll want to see this, but we think it stinks." We also show art house movies and short films.
Q: Any movie you refused to run simply because you hated it?
A: Eyes Wide Shut.
Photography Courtesy Virgin Atlantic Airways
This article was first published in September 2002. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.