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Taking pictures aboard aircraft
I had an interesting incident today and wanted some opinions of what I should do. I was flying DFW-LAX on AA this afternoon with my wife and noticed that the flight leaving about 45 min after mine was on a 787. Not having the opportunity to ride a Dreamliner before, I checked for availability called the EXP desk, who moved my wife and me to AA2460, seated across the aisle from each other in row 2.
No problem getting on board, finding our seats, all excited taking pictures of the plane and interior. There were obviously a number of other 787 first-timers who were busy taking pictures as well.
Just after take-off I go to the lavatory and after exiting, I snap a picture of the main entrance/inflight refreshment area at door 2L/R. The F/A promptly runs back from the forward galley and tells me that I can’t take pictures on board and that I need to come with her to the front. In the forward galley I have the lead and 2 other FAs tell me that the clearly published policy prohibits photography on board aircraft, and, that they would need to see every picture on my phone deleted that was taken on board or they would confiscate my phone and have me detained upon arrival at LAX.
My first thought was… DO WHAT!!?!? For doing what I and thousands of other enthusiasts do daily?
I clearly respect not photographing airline personnel and crew, TSA/CBP…you know…all the places you clearly aren’t supposed to photograph.
Anyway, not wanting to give them a reason to detain me, I unlocked my phone and they watched me go through picture by picture and delete anything taken on-board the aircraft. Later the F/A returned and said that since I deleted the pictures, the captain said everything was fine. (insert confused look here)
If I wasn’t in a hurry to reach my final destination, I would probably politely refused to surrender my phone and request law enforcement to be present and forcing them to obtain a warrant before doing anything.
My question is, should I write to AA about how I was treated? Even when they are wrong or misguided, I would not have failed to follow crew instructions; however, with no probable cause, why would you have to surrender a phone upon crew demand?
As a post-script, one F/A was professional enough to come back to me and apologize for how the situation was handled and offered to take pictures of me and my wife together. I politely declined, but appreciated the gesture.
Lucky’s now written a blog post about this: