The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Flightplan flies into air rage

Washington, Oct. 2: They have long been depicted as frivolous flirts and “trolley dollies”. But angry American air stewards and stewardesses say they are boycotting Jodie Foster’s latest Hollywood thriller, Flightplan, because of its unfavourable portrayal of their profession.

US flight attendants claim that the film, which features Foster as a mother whose six-year-old girl inexplicably vanishes in mid-flight, portrays them as brusque, insensitive and officious.

Not only do the on-screen flight staff refuse to believe Foster’s story as she frantically searches for her child, but one of them features in a sinister plot twist that casts doubt on the profession’s trustworthiness.

Federal air marshals, who have been widely deployed on domestic American flights since the 9/11 terror attacks, also come across as gruff and unsympathetic.

Although the storyline has been widely criticised as outlandish by US reviewers, Flightplan is proving a big hit with filmgoers and has taken more than $24 million since it was released last weekend, making it number one at the box office.

But three trade unions representing about 65,000 of the 100,000 flight attendants on US airlines have urged their members not to buy tickets for the film in protest.

Their leaders denied that they were taking a fictional film too seriously. The portrayal was not only insulting but dangerous, said Patricia Friend, the president of the Association of Flight Attendants.

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