India Threatens To Ban Airlines That Allow Photography

Filed Under: Air India

India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has today issued quite a bizarre warning to airlines.

Airlines warned about photography on planes

India’s DGCA has today issued an order stating that:

  • Inflight photography without explicit consent is not allowed in India
  • Even though this has been a rule for several years now, airlines have failed to enforce this due to “lack of diligence,” and “such deviations result in compromise in maintaining the highest standards of safety”
  • If any inflight photography violation occurs, an airline will have the route on which the incident occurred suspended for two weeks

Here’s the full text from the DGCA:

1. As you are aware that as per Rule 13 of the Aircraft Rules 1937, no person shall take, or cause or permit to be taken, at a Government aerodrome or from an aircraft in flight, any photography except in accordance with and subject to the terms and conditions of a permission in writing granted by the Director-General, a Joint Director General, a Deputy Director-General or the Director of Regulations and Information of the Civil Aviation Department. This permission is, however, not applicable when such aircraft is landing, taking off or on ground at a defence aerodrome.

2. In spite of these regulations, it has been noted that at times, the Airlines have failed to follow these stipulations primarily because of lack of diligence on their part. Needless to say that such deviations result in compromise in maintaining the highest standards of safety and therefore, it is not to be allowed.

3. Keeping this in mind, it has been decided that from now on, in case any such violation occurs on any Scheduled Passenger Aircraft – the Schedule of flight for that particular route shall be suspended for a period of two weeks from the next day i.e. the day following and shall be restored only after the Airline has taken all the necessary punitive action against those responsible for the violation.

What prompted this order?

Believe it or not, most photography on planes has been banned in India for years. However, as far as I know it has almost never been enforced. Heck, look at the social media channels of just about any Indian airline, and you’ll see all kinds of pictures from inside planes.

Why is the DGCA suddenly taking interest in this again? Well, on Wednesday Bollywood star Kangana Ranaut was on IndiGo flight 264 from Chandigarh to Mumbai.

News crews booked the flight with her, and showed up with huge cameras and mics, looking to interview her onboard. They got up while the plane was taxiing and crowded the aisle to try and talk to her.

India has had strict aviation guidelines during coronavirus, and it goes without saying that people crowding in the aisle to try and catch a glimpse of a celebrity isn’t great for that.

It seems that this is what prompted the notice from the DGCA. The DGCA is also accusing IndiGo of not taking proper precautions, and of allowing too many large cameras on the plane.

Bottom line

Indian regulators are now threatening airlines that don’t enforce no photography policies. While this law has been in place for years, it’s only an event a few days ago that has once again brought this issue to the forefront.

Obviously what happened on IndiGo is extremely problematic, and more needed to be done to stop it. But there’s a difference between a dozen people getting up with news cameras while a plane is taxiing, and someone just wanting to snap a picture out the window during a flight. Suggesting that the latter presents a safety issue is outrageous.

Anyone have any recent firsthand experience with India’s policy of no pictures on airplanes?

  1. If I recall I think this has something to do with airports that are civilian/Air Force combined use.

    It’s still allowed with prior approval. I remember several years ago they changed some part of it but can’t seem to find the document.

  2. Well, the actress that you’ve mentioned is in huge trouble against the whole of Bollywood Industry on account of Bollywood’s infamous underground drug world, mafia, etc, along with the State government of Mumbai. And she has been given high-security by the Court as her office was demolished illegally by the mafia. Basically, she’s like the one-woman army to condemn the things going on in Bollywood and has the whole nation behind her

    (i literally read it all in a news report and i have no idea of whats going on in India relating to this issue, if you are from India, pls enlighten us. Thanks)

    ain’t gon be surprised if i read this –
    ‘It Is bEcAuSe oF tHe PoTuS tHaT iNdIa hAd tO bAn pHotOgRaPhY’

  3. Media would not follow Kangana in normal times.

    She is currently in the middle of a huge news story/conspiracy theory which has gripped India and hence the media was all over.

  4. @Ben:
    On a separate note, I am seeing 5,000 AAdvantage miles one way deals from New York-area airports to Phoenix, Dallas etc. There could be other destinations too throughout the fall and winter.

    Can you please confirm and highlight on the deal? Thanks.

  5. This shouldn’t be a photography issue given the prompt actually comes from that Bollywood star incident. They should enforce the seatbelt policy if they really care about safety.

  6. Sadly this young talented actress is using her position of temporary power to challenge the present leadership of the State she earns her income in for her own selfish gain, she is also wrapped in a massive drug investigation effecting the entire Indian Cinema industry. However that said Indigo is quite a nice airline and works hard to fly people with quality.

  7. Just landed with my first flight in … 9 months … KLM from AMS to MXP and first time I heard in the welcome/safety on KLM that « photography of passengers or crew, is not allowed without prior consent » ?
    Maybe too many bloggers are giving some airlines an hard time lately? Lol
    In a way it makes sense but why now? Nothing related to Covid-19 ??

  8. It is just one of the nonsensical theaters in name of security Indian bureaucracy is famous for. Most of these rules stem from an era where cameras were something you lugged around on your shoulder and have no meaning in an era of cell phone ubiquity. But trust the Indian regulators to carry on and make rules which literally no one will follow in two weeks.


    As an Indian, I can affirm that actress is bat shit insane and is using the unfortunate suicide of a young actor with mental health issues to curry favor with the central government and the party which rules it. Precisely why she has been given that high security. No doubt the demolition of her office was an act of petty vendetta but that is all too common in Indian politics which isn’t exactly known for its fine mannerisms.

    Do actors in bollywood consume drugs? Sure! Big deal! Or are we still obsessed with criminalizing personal drug consumption? And note: the entire drug mafia charge in this case rests on marijuana which anyways shouldn’t be illegal! And never was in India before it borrowed stupid ideas from American drug of war. This case has very little to do with justice or drug mafia, and everything to do with politics, personal vendetta disguised as a fight for justice, and honesty, the all pervasive sexism of the Indian society.

  9. I travel to India once a year for past 15 years or so, and have probably been “scolded” 5 times for taking random photos – always of just scenery from the window or the plane while boarding/deboarding. Is absolute nonsense of course, hell the excellent Vistara even encourage you to send in snap of a #vistaraview of their aircraft. The circumstance mentioned is of course a legitimate thing, but otherwise, its just another case of Indian rules that make zero sense!!

  10. Well, talking photography onboard was even welcomed by the lovely crew of Air India (including with them). Will they ban their national airline then?

  11. Kangana Ranault is the BIGGEST and most bankable actress in Bollywood. Amazing that we are even discussing her on here, but its very related to travel.

    Sushant Singh Rajput’s death (excellent actor), that was originally called a suicide is now being probed as murder by the CBI, along with the murder of his manager, Disha the week before. and the inquiry is now targeting the Chief Minister of Maharastra, his son (Baby Penguin), drugs mafia and the Bollywood mafia gang (nepotism) which Kangana has been calling out for years. It’s not conspiracy at all, and now Kangana has been proven right. The CM tore down her building in Pali Hill as she arrived, but the Bombay court stopped this. – look up this building. Gorgeous inside.

    Many Bollywood stars (that are bigger than most think) travel domestically via commercial, and some private. The press does not follow Kangana because she is fairly low key.

    This ruling is a big deal, and shows just how massive this current case “news” regarding Sushant is. Indigo Air is the only nonstop from where she comes from in the mountains. I do not care for Indigo Air that much, preferring Vistara by miles.

    I love to take pics on planes, but understand the ruling, since Bombay press are out of control.

  12. This is just ridiculous. As stated, it would be outrageous to term an innocent flyer simply clicking pictures of the aircraft/airport terminal for their hobby/personal use/admiration of the aviation industry as a severe threat to security. Makes no sense at all.

    How about the regulatory authorities instead focus on a seatbelt policy where passengers aren’t allowed to get up from their seats until the seatbelt sign has been switched off and crew announce that it’s safe to do so? Since thousands of the general public in India who fly do this as soon as the flight lands, let alone park at the gate…speaking from first hand experience numerous times!

  13. Seems like a joke. There’s a difference between an entire camera crew who ignored crew , removed face masks off, taking out massive cameras and microphones and violated safety by standing during taxing , than an individual taking a photo of their seat/ meal

    Whoever she is, how did they know she was onboard ? Sounds like she planned the entire debacle

    Perhaps concentrate on prosecuting the reporters.

  14. Good. This mania for people photographing or recording others without permission is way out of hand everywhere.

    Basically you should never have your picture taken against your will.

  15. As a frequent traveller to India, there are certain airports which share facilities with the air force. Jaisalmer and Pune come to mind. In those cases, photography on the tarmac is prohibited. Other than that, I have never faced any issues regarding photography (for or against) in India.

    However, I do endorse this in some ways since I do not like to photographed without my permission.

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *