Lion Air Bans People From “Documenting” Flights

Filed Under: Other Airlines

Update: Garuda Indonesia has backtracked on their policy changes. Will Lion Air follow?

Earlier I wrote about Garuda Indonesia’s very, very bad logic. A popular Indonesian vlogger was on a Garuda Indonesia flight from Sydney to Bali in business class. The flight wasn’t great, as they ran out of alcohol quickly and didn’t have printed menus.

The vlogger shared his experience, and rather than taking the feedback to heart (or just ignoring it — either would have ended better for them!), Garuda Indonesia made the situation 10x worse:

  • They banned people from “documenting activities on the plane”
  • They were in disbelief as to how the passenger was somehow presented with a non-printed menu
  • The vlogger was summoned by the police over defamation of Garuda Indonesia

Long story short, the Streisand effect is in full force, and management isn’t thinking straight, clearly.

Indonesian low cost carrier Lion Air is getting involved here as well. You’d think they’d take the opportunity to say “hey, fly with us and take all the pictures you want.” Nope, instead they’re following Garuda Indonesia’s lead.

Kompas is reporting that Lion Air’s Corporate Communications has today announced new restrictions on “documenting” flights. Using Google Translate:

“If the institutions or individuals who will carry out documentation are required to ask permission from the company first. Then the company will provide policies.

In the operation of each flight, Lion Air always adheres to and applies safety culture. It is this commitment that confirms Lion Air must prioritize aspects of flight safety and security (safety first).”

Indonesian aviation is starting to sound a whole lot like post-9/11 aviation in the US, in terms of everything being considered a security threat.

Now here’s the thing — Lion Air has had more than their fair share of safety issues, to put it mildly (and I’m not including the 737 MAX accident, which I don’t think they were at fault for). If they’re so disillusioned that they think any aspect of safety is compromised by people “documenting” flights, then, well, I’m at a loss…

This is all just pure, stupid madness. One airline does something really stupid, and another airline follows.

(Tip of the hat to @skullcmdr)

  1. Rightfully so! Flight-transports are commodities nowadays and passangers should not constantly be harassed by wannabe reviewers with selfiesticks.

  2. Usually the lion FAs are pretty big air heads. You can tell their lack of experience. But on the other note. The in cabin product is usually always the same. Just bring your own food and enjoy the low fares. Also on another note. You can usually get your baggage through on lion at most Thai and Vietnamese airports. Where in air Asia you will need to pay for the same carry on. The lion employees are all briable at the check in desk except in Indonesia from my experience. Now they make you pay for cabin baggage but they don’t offer a online option to pay for that baggage with a foreign credit card or even paying with the bar code at 7-11. So to pay for cabin baggage on this airline. You must arrive at the airport 4 hours before your flight. But if you bribe the employees. Savings can be had on this airline over air Asia.

  3. Now, when will we read a drama on this site about a Lion Air flight get diverted because some vloggers.

    The more you hide the more you get exposed.

  4. This blog is moving more and more toward commentary and opinion and less and less on value arbitrage and general news (reflecting changing blogosphere business trends).

    Why apply Western values in a situation where it may not apply? This post actually provides some validation as to why both airlines may have some validity with their new policies, and why the collapse of traditional media structures is not a good thing.

  5. I can only they have increased the number of ppl who will have plenty to say….just stay out of the police jurisdiction..

  6. Huge reminder for all foreigners than Garuda Indonesia group and Lion Air group are currently doing a duopoly mark-up for all flights in Indonesia. The situation is so bad (because they own 80% of all airline companies in Indonesia) that the Indonesian government has to consider foreign airlines to fly in regional Indonesia–a decision that hasn’t ever been considered again in nearly 2 decades.

    If that doesn’t tell you of how bad Indonesian airline management currently are, I don’t know what will. Truly the dream of ultra-capitalists and the nightmare for all not in charge.

  7. Unless the cabin crew is performing a copyrighted version of “Swan Lake” in mid-air, I’ll be filming every single part of my flight including trips to the restroom. What else are you supposed to do with a GoPro 7?

  8. Going by my recent trip on their KL-based arm Malindo, this probably has more to do with trying to hide the shabby planes, inedible food and pathetic lounges.

  9. I wonder how many people here criticizing such a policy would be OK with other people filming them while they are working?

    Obviously a site that makes its living doing reviews is going to not like having its activities curtailed in any way. But I have to say I get miffed when people point a camera or phone at me without asking. Whether it is against any rules or not, I find it rather rude and invasive.

    If you would not film a sales person in a store serving you, or a bank teller providing you with cash, or a waiter serving you in a restaurant, then why is it OK to film FAs doing their jobs?

  10. The Indonesian carriers are not unique at this moronic way.

    In Europe this stupid madness is present on flights (especially long-haul) of Iberia – the national carrier of fascist Spain. I flew MAD-SCL-MAD and on the both flights (especially on the return flight) cabin crew threatened me with the police, shouted at me and were openly rude to me. I think, the most exact word for Iberia cabin crews is “BYDLO”.

    So, I think, everybody should put their personal ban on these moronic indonesians and spaniards and choose another airlines

  11. @Tom
    Virtually all airline reviewers (including Lucky) do not photograph passengers or the flight attendants nor use their real names (unless given approval). They photograph / video the hard product and the meals and amenities. They review the soft product (service of flight attendants and crew).

    There would be nothing wrong with reviewing any business if that same criteria is used. I could be wrong but go back and check Lucky’s reviews

  12. This is another proof of cartel practice among two.

    Secret meetings have been set up regulerly around place in jakarta.

  13. Hi fellow Tom

    Yeah, I can’t see how an image of a menu or an amenity bag hurts. My problem is more with the ethical issues raised by everyone thinking that they can record anyone, anywhere, which seems prevalent with the advent of smart phones in the last decade or so.

    Whether on-board service is a proprietary and competitive advantage that should not be subject to exposure is a debate we could have. But there are lots of places that ban photography.

  14. Couldn’t agree more with @TRR above. Obviously Garuda and Lion think they can get away with this type of stupid rule because they practically owned the Indonesian aviation market. You just can’t avoid them if you wanna move around the country, unfortunately. However, until such time that the Indonesian government actually moves ahead with allowing foreign airlines to serve domestic routes, I consider that to be a HUGE hypocrisy as the government is the one that started all of this anti consumer move by re-regulating domestic ticket prices (read: jacking up prices) in the name of “safety” where the government is trying to shift the focus away from the impotency of their own safety /compliance department in light of the recent numerous safety incidents.

  15. Tom,

    Lucky does great reviews, but unfortunately there are a number of clowns, including a well known one on flyertalk who have no shame taking pictures of others, usually because they want to be condescending – though hypocritically blur themselves out.

    Your principle is right, but it is certainly not followed by all.

  16. How do I know Lion Air sucks?
    Any airline that would consider hiring me as a pilot DEFINITELY sucks.
    A few months ago I sent my 40- year aviation resume out as a joke and they wanted to interview
    I’ve never flown any aircraft in their portfolio and am 59.
    In fact , I haven’t flown professionally in 30 years.

    OK, you’d feel safe because I look like a safe pilot. However it might take awhile to get to your destination because we’d taxi all the way. I haven’t figured out the over-water part yet.
    Maybe I’ll float an oil rig and tugboats can push us.

  17. @vladimir. So the Iberia crew just decided to contact the police on a whim ? No. Because you clearly something to cause a disturbance. Whilst it’s ok to film food , out of the window etc it’s not ok to film the crew You should always ask In fact if you bother to check , in done countries it’s illegal to film an individual due to privacy without their consent.

  18. Flew AA from DFW-LHR last week. The FA had a cow that someone took a couple of pics of their own seat.

    Fortunately she didn’t catch me doing the same. 😉

  19. @loungeabuser

    If you have all the licenses they require I am not surprised.
    You do not have to have TR on their airplanes, sometimes airlines prefer NTR as this gives them leverage to bond you with TR cost.
    Besides this is exactly proof of pilot shortage, especially in Asia.
    I would strongly recommed you to try the same with US regionals, however they typically expect currency. Apparently Indonesian do not. Read a bit about employment T&E to understand why they are eager to interview anyone with a valid license and a pulse 😉


  20. Whereas Garuda is still ok to fly, Lion is not.
    I have done 2 flights years ago and that was enough to never do it again. They are comparable to AA.

  21. @Sholay: If you can get the airplane started, I’m absolutely sure I could take off, fly, and land it.

    I forgot to mention our trip would be by tug, since I doubt I could start the airplane.
    As to actually flying for hire, I couldn’t get enough umbrella liability to cover potential liability.
    I’d never give flight instruction again for this reason. The student would have to pay $500/hr to even get me interested, and there are much better instructors with recent time.

    Regional? No way I’m staying in crappy hotels.

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