Airline Says 'No Photography' on Flights

Airline Says 'No Photography' on Flights

Recently, NPR featured an article about a woman that was kicked off an American Airlines flight for singing a Whitney Houston song, but there was something else that caught the attention of at least one of their writers. During the video, crew members can be repeatedly heard telling people they aren't allowed to film or photograph onboard the plane.

American Airlines official statement is, "The use of still and video cameras, film or digital, is permitted only for recording of personal events. Unauthorized photography or video recording of airline personnel, other customers, aircraft equipment or procedures is strictly prohibited." So as you can see, there's a fair amount of 'gray area' in a rule like this.

NPR goes on to mention that it isn't the first time something like this has happened. Recently, a travel blogger was kicked off a United Airlines flight for 'taking a single picture with an iPhone.'

It seems to me like the airlines are trying to cover their backsides from unflattering media under the guise of "potential threats." If you want to deal in a business that relies heavily on leisure and travel, you're going to have to accept the occasional picture or video. Then again, you could always ask Beyonce's publicist how that whole 'censorship of images' thing is working out.

What do you think?

[Via NPR]

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Morgan Moller's picture

I'm waiting to see how they're going to freak out with Google Glass.
"Sir take off those glasses, or we'll have to throw you out"
-"But It's for reading!"
"Then you are forbidden from reading on this 12-hour flight! Or see clear for that matter!"

Scott Stuart's picture

I only fly as a last resort anymore. I'll drive almost anywhere in the eastern half of the US, rather than deal with the heavy-handed ness and disregard for customers shown in the Airline industry. I'd rather take an additional day of travel to take a train if its going where I need to be for long distances.

For the most part,I agree. But you can thank govt, esp TSA, for most of the absurd rules, regulations, and procedures. None of it has anything to do with security.

Really? You must have very little free time working for Homeland Security and Fstoppers... I agree our procedures can be annoying and tedious, but there are reasons for them. Just because you don't understand why something is the way it is, doesn't mean it isn't protecting you. People seem to only want to talk about these security measures when they fail, but plots are intercepted every day. I'm sorry that means you can't take full video or a full size hairspray on a plane. Get over it.

well then, perhaps the reasons should be explained to people...and don't just say "security reasons", that's not an explanation

people tend to co-operate better if they know the reasons why

Psssst, troll...

"Get over it" is never a good response. Especially when you're trying to defend an organization best known for sexual assault, theft and general jerkiness.

You must work for Homeland Security to understand a security policy? Interesting.

I really dont get why photographer and photographers are pinned as terrorists by homeland security and other "security agencies". Since the department of homeland security was formed everyone uses secuirty reasons when they cant justify a measure out of laziness. Stop using the secuirty blanket of potential threats to hurass people.

Some if the requirements are rule based, but what I have noticed is some airline employees use the security fears to avoid having to deal with service issues. They promote the idea that if you complain, you will be thrown off the plane. The vast majority aren't like this, but there are still several that I have seen since I travel all the time. The thing I find really funny is that they use this stick to deal with unruly passengers when a real terrorist is probably the least likely to be unruly since the threat of being thrown off risks their mission.

I witness events are disputable and can be considered inaccurate. Photos and video are indisputable so it would seem that the only reason that the airlines do not wish you to take pictures or videos is because they are doing something they do not wish made public. Or just wrong. You ever wonder why airlines do not have security cameras in the cabin? You would think that would be a good thing since that would support there case in litigation. Think about it. Also read Great reading from a commercial pilot who writes about the airline industry in a very down to earth honest way. Good reading.

Sile Skelley's picture

That's just ridiculous. People are taking pictures and video all the time, even if they aren't being totally obvious about it. This is a surveillance society. Traffic cams, store security cams, phones, computers, tablets, & traditional cameras are ubiquitous in society. We should all accept that when we leave our homes, we are likely on camera somewhere. It's unreasonable for a company to expect their customers NOT to document their experiences.

Rob's picture

United does the exact same thing, AND they break guitars.

Will not be flying AA ever that's one thing for sure.

In a way I can understand, privacy is a big thing now, and the other passengers may not want you waving a camera/iphone around snapping shots. So maybe that is part of the reasoning. But photographing out the window or of your family should be ok, and by the legalese of it's official rule, it seems to allow for such things. Its a hard world to make rules for, because everyone has their own idea of what's right and wrong, or acceptable and not acceptable. Hopefully they use common sense to "police" their rule.

Those things are still OK. Trouble with common sense is, that it is biased towards what we perceive - indeed limited to what we've observed. I'm just saying even if the airline was ran by saints and used by monks, accidents would still happen. It's almost a habit.

I think this is pretty clear. Being a professional in the video/photo business this makes perfect sense to me. I have to have releases and permission to record or photograph people, places or things. Otherwise I can get into trouble. They are simply stating you don't have permission to record or photograph airline personnel, their equipment, or other passengers. You don't have their consent. Seems perfectly fine to video or photograph yourself, your friends and family and out the window. Don't see what the big deal is. They just put it in writing.

I work for an airline. I understand about wanting to record and photograph all these events. Everyone wants 1 million hits on youtube or an instagram photo. One thing to remember, the bad guys watch these as well. You can gleam much from videos like this. Stuff I will not mention. She are up on the headline story. It really is for your protection. Now please raise your tray tables for Landing!

I usually take Instagram photos of airline interiors, the food they serve and my wife sitting beside me or as she walks along the aisle. Sometimes, I would request for a photo of a group of flight attendants during downtime in the galley where they rest. Sometimes I would ask for a souvenir photo with them. Now they don't always grant permission, in fact, more often than not they will refuse. Sometimes they will stop me from takign snaps of the airplane interiors. But they would always do so in a courteous way so I don't get offended. So what if I'm not allowed to take pictures? No big deal. It's not a big loss to me. I'm okay with it. I let them do the job they were told to do. Although for a passenger to be kicked off from a flight . . . that's rather hard.

I don't think the passengers who got kicked of were as courteous as you when they were told to stop. We do seem to confuse disappointment with rights I guess. People say yes and people say no - nothing new.

Never did like AA. Looks like I'll be flying Southwest from here on out.

Don't even take their flight. They can even tear my light stand apart in just one flight.

It's their plane - it's not just about what you want. Also, I think for every 1% of airline passengers who want to record and blog everything they do and moves, the rest would be glad if they knew people weren't taking surreptitious photos of them - it isn't a public place.

At the same time there shouldn't be anything wrong with anyone taking a snap that is allowed and ideally shouldn't be punished for it incorrectly. However, I doubt these people just took one snap and were rapidly removed. I bet some arguing took place, I also bet getting their flight was more important in retrospect.

I don't like getting told to stop taking pictures by anyone either. I get the feelings of frustration and indignation too, but they are just feelings - people and organisations still have their rights - rights that in these times are becoming increasingly tested.

It isn't about rules really, or the influx of technology, or the generation - it's about attitude. Does it really need to be your way? Is this really, on the scale of things, THAT bad?

If it is, then sorry.

I am always surprised over the stupidity that many companies shows by setting rules like this.

Simple solution - I will take my business elsewhere. Video and photography are part of the 'fun' of travelling the world.

The primary complainers would be the ones in an uproar if an unflattering photo or video wound up in a public forum. Keep your photos/videos personal. Others don't belong there unless they approve it!
Children get upset by sensible rules.

Most of the time these regulations come to light when some sort of situation occurs on an airplane, not when you're taking pictures outside the window or of your traveling companions. Everybody wants that youtube video fame but how would you feel if it was a family member or friend who was having a meltdown on the aircraft, being escorted off? Being publicly splashed over the internet for the world to see? Did you get their permission to tape them? I don't think so.
For those that insist it is because the airlines and their employees have something to hide- do you know any workplace that would allow you to come in and tape them doing their jobs? Because you know you are sitting in their office, their very transparent workplace, and I don't think I'd like it either.

As a flight attendant I understand where this rule is coming from. I personally don't like being recorded and photgraphed without my permission and will ask people to stop if I notice them doing so. I however rarely refuse a passenger if they ask to have a picture taken with me. I also worked at a pool that had to ban photography because we had a couple of perverts come in and take pictures of children in their bathing suits. We would allow parents to come on deck after swimming lessons were over and take pictures of their child only. As mentioned by another airline employee, we always have to be vigilant of 'suspicious' behavior, and taking pictures of the aircraft and our procedures could be seen as 'information gathering' for someone who is planning on doing something against our airline. But with all the being said, I honestly think this rule came into effect after other passengers complained about getting their picture taken without their consent. It's a fine line to walk, to protect peoples privacy but also allowing creative freedom. From what I understand, the rule isn't completely prohibitive, still allowing people to take pictures of their friends and family while on their vacation. This may have been the best balance they could find between the two.

Just like in YOUR house, you can tell people not to take photographs. An Airplane is their house.

That simple logic doesn't cut it. I'm not an intruder.They've demanded a $700 entrance fee from me into their house.