What To Do If You’re Threatened Over Onboard Photography?

Filed Under: Advice, American

Reader John P asked a question in the the Ask Lucky forum regarding a recent flight on American, where he took some pictures of the new 787 cabin.


After seeing John take pictures, the flight attendants demanded to watch as he deleted all the photos on his phone, or else his phone would be confiscated and he’d be detained upon arrival. I’m sharing this short summary upfront, since the question is quite long. Here’s the comment he left and question he asked, which is worth reading:

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.

First of all, the power trips some flight attendants go on, along with the absolute lack of common sense they apply to situations, never cease to amaze me. When someone is taking a picture of an airline seat they’re flying for the first time, presumably they’re trying to take pictures because of how impressed they are, so they can share it on social media, with friends, etc. That’s free marketing for the airline, which you’d think they’d be thrilled about…

But then you have some employees who are on power trips and paranoid, which seems to be what happened here.

First of all, American’s photography policy was updated in 2014 to say the following:

Use of still and video cameras, film or digital, is permitted only for recording personal events. Photography or video recording of airline personnel, equipment, or procedures is strictly prohibited.

The term “equipment” is open to interpretation. Is a seat “equipment?” I suppose it could be interpreted as such, but I highly doubt that’s the spirit of what they’re saying.

I take pictures on planes all the time, and 99.9% of the time flight attendants are totally cool with it, even on American. Many flight attendants even encourage it.

American-777-Business-Class - 39
A (reasonable) flight attendant recently encouraged me to take a picture of American’s onboard bar

But then sometimes you run into those crew members who can’t apply logic to a situation, which is clearly what happened here.

Let’s recap John’s actual questions:

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?

I’m of course 100% on John’s side here, but I think this is an important point to address. Unfortunately in many ways the law doesn’t really apply at 39,000 feet. So while they may need a warrant to search your phone, they’ll have no issues detaining you for disobeying crewmember instructions, since that would be the only potential offense here. You weren’t violating any rules, but once the crew feels you’re disobeying them, they may become even more irrational. Who knows, it could even lead to a diversion. In other words, disobeying crewmember instructions seems to trump all other laws in the air.

Much like you, I would have given in and just deleted the pictures and called it a day. When it’s a passenger vs. a flight attendant, the passenger will rarely win.

Should you write to American about the incident? The only thing which will potentially lead anywhere is if you write specifically about how rudely the flight attendants handled the situation, rather than complaining about them asking you to delete pictures. If you complain about how they acted and they’re called into their manager’s office over it, I suspect the defense of saying “I was just looking out for the security of our plane and enforcing our security policy” will trump all else. Unfortunately this is an instance where I wouldn’t waste my time writing a letter.

Bottom line

Even though it’s ridiculous, flight attendants have virtually unlimited discretion nowadays when it comes to anything deemed t0 be safety related. Yes, sadly this includes things like taking pictures of your seat. Fortunately a vast majority of flight attendants aren’t this insane, but when you do encounter such a situation, I’d recommend just complying, since things will only get worse if you don’t.

While it can never hurt to provide feedback, the flight attendants almost certainly won’t get any “retraining” in this regard, because the airline doesn’t explicitly allow photography of “equipment,” a term which they very much leave open to interpretation.

How would you have handled the situation John P was in?

  1. How would I have handled John P.’s situation?

    Simple – Don’t fly with American! Especially in the first place.

    This is why I don’t fly with American carriers. They’re just known to go on power trips like this.

  2. Any US carriers wonder why customers go to European, Asian and Middle Eastern carriers. I have only had a few bad experiences on foreign airlines where staff is very well trained, cares about the customer, and is almost always polite (even if they cannot help you). For the most part US airline staff are just ok. Nothing great, nothing terrible but just blah.

    The idea that FAs have 100% power in the sky has ruined service levels on US Airlines. FAs know they can half-ass their jobs and nothing will happen. If you do that as a Singapore Airline or Emeriates employee you will get canned.

  3. Boy, reading this gets me fired up. If I were traveling alone, and had no urgent business to attend to, I’d first tell the FA that no, I’m not going to delete the photos, then I’d record the conversation, making sure I captured them saying that I’d be detained if I didn’t comply (noting that this was airline policy I was breaking, and confirming with them that I broke no laws with my photography). I’d show them the photos to make sure they knew I only had photos of public space (no faces or schematics or anything), then I’d tell them: “make your call.” If I were arrested, I’d sue the shit out of American.

  4. I think the law of the air has become totally crazy! Taking a picture of a seat is not a threat. The US is so totally over the top when it comes to security now.

  5. I would comply with their request to delete the pictures in question. Then I would make sure I did not take any more pictures with the phone. Here’s why, the pictures are really NOT deleted. With the proper recovery software, they can fairly easily be found again if you really want them to be. So once the pictures have been recovered, you can start taking new ones without risking “overwriting” the deleted ones.

  6. I honestly would of challenged her and called her bluff. She has no law enforcement authority and you didn’t break any laws under the United States Code. She has no authority to confiscate your phone and you may have a case for her to get detained if she would of actually tried to follow through with her threat.

    Under 14 CFR § 125 you have to obey:
    Signs, placards and crew instructions related to smoking prohibitions must be obeyed under penalty of law.
    Signs, placards and crew instructions related to seat belts must be obeyed under penalty of law.

  7. Ever since a blogger got kicked off a plane several years ago for taking pictures (then using *indiscrete* language), I’ve always let FAs know in advance that I’m interested in taking a pic. I matter-of-factly tell them why I want it (e.g., “I want to show my son this great seat!”). I’ve never been turned down on any airline, and I’ve occasionally received offers from an FA to take the picture with me in it. If I’ve had exceptional service, I sometimes even ask for a pic of the FA(s) that I can attach to the email compliment that I send to the airline (I usually ask to include at least two of them – seems way less creepy that way). If I ever do get turned down, I’ll chalk it up to someone having a bad day and put the camera away.

  8. I am growing very tired of tin pot dictators as travel staff. Liars and incompetents are bad enough; when they go on to be abusive, this is I tolerable. Damn right you should write American on this. Probably ought to be worth a free flight if you write well enough.

  9. Mike O – If you choose to boycott American carriers, how would travel from DFW to LAX, like Paul?

  10. Situations like this reinforce the sterotype to us expats abroad how terrible the US mainline airlines are, and how thankful we are to mostly avoid them. Even if it’s an outlier these types od situations are just bizarre. Glad lucky keeps posting about absurd flight attendant power trips….totally out of control.

  11. RenesBlogSucks:

    Fly JAL. Yes you read right, fly JAL to NRT from DFW then fly to LAX.

    I know its extreme but I completely refuse to fly any American carrier regardless of cost.

    I’ve done it numerous times from JFK to LAX. I flew Cathay from JFK to HKG then HKG to LAX!

  12. What about taking pictures of the plane. Once I was boarding a thai airways flight from Chiang Mai to Bangkok and a lady took a picture of the plane as we were standing in line before climbing the stairs (no jet bridge) and she was asked by the flight crew not to do so.

  13. Lucky,

    When you say “disobeying crew member instructions” the only actual law is when they are regarding seat belts and smoking, right? So even if you stood your ground and the police were called, you wouldn’t have actually done anything illegal. Besides, that’s a federal crime, so, say the Chicago Police would have to call in the FBI or CBP, for example, to actually make the arrest. Seems like way too much trouble.

  14. @Seattle Eric – Since the scenario was photography in-flight: in addition to ensuring that you have time to kill, please check with the other 250 of us on your plane to make sure we don’t have pressing plans, either. While I doubt you’d have any grounds to sue that wouldn’t be summarily dismissed, if you’re the cause of the plane diverting to Cleveland thus causing me to miss my business deal, I can guarantee you I’ll be investigating whether I can sue you for being a dumba$$. If you want to lobby the airlines to clarify/change their policy once you’re on the ground, though, I’ll back you 100%.

  15. I would delete the pictures, but I would also definitely get the flight attendant’s name and write the letter. I can almost guarantee that no good would come of it, but it would make me feel better knowing that at least someone at the airline had to read about my experience. If you had elite status (which it seems like the original poster might have, given that he easily snagged row 2 on a 787 shortly before departure) I bet someone might even take notice.

  16. Hmm, maybe all of you, including Lucky, should have read the question a little more closely. The FAs only went after him when he took a picture of the entrance area. Somehow, you all seem to think that was his seat. I would suggest that yes, his seat is part of the equipment, plus the main entrance area is definitely part of the equipment. Do I think this is a sensible policy, no, but it is the policy and passengers agree to it when they buy their tickets. You don’t get to change the rules after the fact or only follow the rules that you decide are important. Should he write to AA because their staff followed their policy? Perhaps, if he wants the FA to receive some sort of commendation.

  17. Mike O,

    😉 hope you realize this would price as 2 awards under AAdvantage, and lifemiles for that matter. You’d have to purchase 2 separate tickets too or else it’d be arbitrage 😀

  18. “Mike O – If you choose to boycott American carriers, how would travel from DFW to LAX, like Paul?”

    American sucks every time! It’s just insane how bad the attitude is at that company.

    Fly LAX to Love Field and enjoy polite employees on Southwest.

  19. Lawyer here (sorry) – The right to a warrant stems from the 4th Amendment, which prohibits THE GOVERNMENT* from unreasonable search and seizure (i.e., requiring a warrant in some cases). A private entity doesn’t need a warrant.

  20. @Seattle Eric Im with you @JEM whats your point or are you just being an ass. No one is going to divert a plane over pictures and I agree with the others that US air carriers are out of control and yes I’m an American. This security nonsense has gotten way out of control. If the carriers were so damned concerned 9/11 wouldn’t have happened in the first place. Now TSA is too busy hassling 85yr old Grandmas.Luckily I don’t have to travel like the rest of you and for that I’m grateful.Sometime in the next 4mos I’ll fly to Dallas and I will report on the flight.

  21. Do you know what I dislike even more than US carriers? People saying they are going sue everyone. Every annoying thing that happens shouldn’t be grounds for a lawsuit. Get real, he was incorrectly and rudely told to delete photographs. Then another would look into a lawsuit if the plane got diverted? Really? Why not go after people every time there is a car accident that delays traffic and makes you late for a meeting or work? If your kid is sick and need to take the day off of work, trace the source of the illness and sue the parent of the kid to passed it to yours for lost wages. People have truly lost the f#cking plot these days. We share this planet with morons, imbeciles, and lunatics, so sh*t happens. If you file a lawsuit over such things, you are going to be moved to the imbeciles category immediately.

  22. This happened to me on a recent BA Club Europe flight LHR-PRG. I had my GoPro pointing at the window to record the take off roll. The relatively young FA came up to me and said I needed to get the airline’s permission to take any kind of footage onboard beforehand. She said it’s in the BA terms and conditions, but could not find it for the life of me. She didn’t go as far as asking me to delete the video I took, but she was pretty stern in telling me to switch off my GoPro.

  23. If you have an iPhone then your deleted photes will be easily retrievable for 30 days after you’ve deleted them, no app needed.

  24. Frankly, this is where social media rocks. I would encourage John P. to share this post on FB and encourage his friends to do so as well. If the story got picked up by the media, AA would have to look at this situation (this and other incidents) and either defend FA power trips or acknowledge the ridiculousness of the situation.

  25. @RenesBlogSucks — Great handle! If there’s anyone I’d like to see detained for taking photos on a plane in violation of crew instructions, it’s Rene.

  26. @Nolan – exactly.

    On iPhone it’s on by default. go to albums – recently deleted. Poof they’re all there. Something tells me an FA who behaves like this is not savvy enough to know this.

    @Eric Seattle – big talk. No way you would do that…unless you’re dumber than you look.

  27. When you are on an aircraft you are on that carrier’s property, you are not on public property. The prohibition of photography on private property is absolutely legal. AA wouldn’t even need to have a stated policy, they could leave the decision up to the crew. And I personally think it should be the crew’s decision. Ask first.

  28. I totally disagree with the notion that this person should not write in to American. They should totally complain about this outrageous type of behavior. Being told that they need to see you delete the photos? Are you frickin kidding me? If they just said stop taking pictures that would be dumb but fine. However, going that extra step and forcing someone to delete photos that is going a bit far. I would certainly complain about it, otherwise this type of behavior will continue. By the way when I flew CX in first not only did they let me take pictures but they offered to take pictures of me in my seat. I suspect that the AA policy is not meant to prevent the taking the type of pictures described and this is an overzealous FA. Keep in mind you are a paying customer. I wouldn’t have pushed the issue with law enforcement though. For one you would likely be kicked off the flight and two the law enforcement officers would probably make up some bs charges to throw on you and it would end up be way too much hassle even if you are vindicated later. Hence writing the letter to complain about how you were treated is the best recourse.

  29. This is such incredible nonsense. There are so many GREAT FAs out there….and then there are the ones who are bitter, dumb, and….worst of all…. on power trips. Just file a complaint with the DOT and cite the FA’s name (if you know it). Abuse of the FARs by crew causes an unsafe environment for everyone on board. Airlines should be held accountable for their employees behavior.


  30. The comments lump all US Airlines together, please don’t. Isn’t American the only airline this has happened on? I work for Delta and feel free to take pictures anywhere on the plane. In fact, if you ask (and are genuinely excited and curious) we might let you go up to the cockpit and take pictures there.

  31. This sort of behavior makes me really angry… luckily, though, my flight attendants in First in my recent flights on AA’s 777s and Business on their 767’s have been excellent!

  32. Don’t bother writing to American, it’s a joke. When I submit any complaint to American I get a response within 30 minutes saying “thank you for contacting us, we’ve thoroughly investigated your issue and taken the necessary action to correct it…” Yes, within 30 minutes they investigate and correct what was wrong, it’s such bullshit and a total brushoff each and every time, such a waste.

  33. Lucky – thanks for posting a picture of American’s onboard bar. Would never have guessed it was that nice!

  34. @Coldagglutannin – LOL. You’re likely right. What would happen in reality is that I’d experience a dump of adrenaline as I’m faced with this absurd situation, focus on modulating my voice and tone even though anger would be rising, narrowing my vision to a tunnel. I’d stand my ground…until they threatened detention. Then I’d realistically stand down, fume for another hour, then eventually come to realize it’s all outside my control and eventual go back to my book.

  35. I’m with Farnorthtrader on this- the flight attendant didn’t react until the OP took “a picture of the main entrance/inflight refreshment area at door 2L/R.”. He was taking pictures of the approach to the cockpit- that’s what got the reaction. The OP also reports that many other people were taking pictures around them, but doesn’t say the FA did anything about them. Clearly something triggered the FAs and maybe they were overly cautious. But it’s all part of flying today.

  36. Pictures of Seats and bar area is one thing. But taking a picture of a door or exit door – could be a security concern for the crew – as though you may have been “scouting” or “researching” for some evil motive. I’m not taking AA’s side, but I can totally see the security sensitivity with a photo like that.

  37. Make sure your phone is set to automatically and immediately back-up your photos to a cloud service Mine is set to back up to both dropbox and google-drive, so as long as I can stall for a minute or so from the time I take the photo to the time it is deleted, I still retain a copy. Of course, this only works if you have cell service (on ground) or wifi (in flight)

  38. @ John P – Take the pictures off Recently Deleted. Hopefully the flight attendant didn’t have you get rid of them there.

  39. You say it’s a lack of common sense but really it’s the passengers inability to follow rules. So what if it’s a rule that gets broken by others? If their policy is to prohibit photography then don’t be surprised when they ask you to delete the photos.

  40. “This is why I don’t fly with American carriers. They’re just known to go on power trips like this.”

    Not a particularly viable option when needing to fly Dallas to Los Angeles in a timely fashion. And if you have the money to fly private, I wouldn’t expect you to slum it on a blog that’s all about flying in F for peanuts.

  41. To Cedric and all the other “once he took a picture of the door, you can understand the security concerns” sympathizers:

    You can find pictures of every nook and cranny of every major airline. Those pictures are already on this thing called the internet, which can found using this thing called Google. You can find airline service manuals. You can find layouts. You can find pictures of places typically restricted to passengers, like crew rest areas, electronics bays and cargo holds. You can find pictures of airport restricted areas. You can watch flights with Flightradar24 and find arrival and departure flow charts for all major airports. None of these are security threats. Stop sympathizing with the morons that’s precisely the attitude that permits this nonsense to continue. There is no excuse for the flight attendant’s behavior.

  42. Ridiculous policy by AA. Just goes to show that if something is vague and not very well defined, it can lead to all sorts of issues.

  43. On iPhone, deleting the photos only moves them to the “recently deleted” folder.

    Therefore I would TOTALLY comply, walk back to my seat and un-delete them =)

  44. Just delete the pictures and get on with life. You probably lost 2 years off your life due to the self inflicted stress. Don’t live your life frustrated over every problem you encounter. Smile more and be happy.

    There are billions of people in the world who will never have the opportunity you have to fly in a fancy and modern airplane. Enjoy it since you have been blessed with the opportunity.

  45. There will always be individuals in every industry that take their jobs way too seriously, and follow the letter of the manual without any common sense and to everyones frustration.

    They are a pain to deal with as a customer or a colleague.

  46. “Lawyer here (sorry) – The right to a warrant stems from the 4th Amendment, which prohibits THE GOVERNMENT* from unreasonable search and seizure (i.e., requiring a warrant in some cases). A private entity doesn’t need a warrant.” where did you go to law school? a private entity cannot compel you to comply and refusing to comply would be within our rights… so whatever nonsense you just rambled off about it only applying to government search is a moot point….

  47. It’s irrevelant really if the photos are of a seat, or just happen to include a main door or cockpit entrance in the background. Unless you are taking macro (close up) shots of security related panels, it’s very difficult indeed to see any risk at all here (especially since the real security protection on aircraft is all behind fascia and control panels – it’s not out there in the open, other than basic and non-revelatory interface panels). Everything you could happy snap on an aircraft (outside of a maintenance shed or engineering bay) is already in the public domain, often published by the airline itself.

    The reason why the AA guidelines are so vauge is so AA staff can pretty much prohibt any activity (it’ll be done that way to contain distribution of adverse events that might damage AA’s PR, not for safety reasons!). If sewage suddenly runs down the aisle, you can bet everyone will be suddenly be told “photography is illegal”.

    This will just be some crew member annoyed by this shutterbug (perhaps one of their photos accidently caught them doing something not good), wanting to shut them down.

    Despite all this rubbish about “crew being *only* here for your safety”, the reality is that it’s a hospitality role first and foremost, with some *basic* warden/marshal duties. God knows, given how little this safety training is (especially on domestic airlines), I wouldn’t want to exclusively rely on some low paid, basic high school educated, trolly dolly to protect me in an air disaster (pays to make sure to educate yourself on what to do).

  48. Why make a bigger case out of this? This just strikes me as silly.

    The F/A even offered to take photos of them. While overreacting at first, the F/A did apologize for the way things were handled, and offered to “make it up”.

    Making a bigger case out of the situation once again, just seems silly.

  49. @Kieran What a supid comment. Of course the main duty of the cabin crew is safety. That is why they are there.

  50. “The term “equipment” is open to interpretation. Is a seat “equipment?” I suppose it could be interpreted as such, but I highly doubt that’s the spirit of what they’re saying.”

    Actually, I truly feel the airlines, and the airline lawyers, used the word ‘equipment’ deliberately so they would have wiggle room for future incidents. This type of language and ambiguity has permeated our lives, and our only recourse is to hire more lawyers. Our tax code is the perfect example.

  51. How about the possibility of the crew getting in trouble for NOT enforcing the airlines policies. Personally, I am on their aircraft, they can make the rules, I don’t have a problem with that. You did right thing by complying with their request.

  52. iPhone’s got this “Recently Deleted” photo album and I think John’ll be able to recover all of the pics if he’s using one

  53. Attorney here too. Ok, you are detained. Then what? AA would, at best, have some type of civil suit (albeit I wonder what it might be?). AA has no “State” authority re they can’t charge you for a crime. AA can for sure tell a/the relevant agency what.you did and it would be up to that agency to move forward or not. I imagine Google search results showing similar photos of similar equipment would be enough to have any civil case thrown out. It would also fend off most prosecutions for the simply fact that unless it is some horrific high profile “thing,” prosecutors don’t take cases that aren’t a sure thing – wastes limited resources and halts career advancement to lose. That being said, it would be a pita for the photo taker. My $0.02.

  54. @Jay – If it matters, I went to Yale, though any 1st year law student or frankly anyone who paid attention in 9th grade civics would know this. My statement is 100% correct and nothing in your childish rant changes that. Demanding a warrant from a private company is laughable. It’s not even possible for AA to get a warrant. Only the government can get search warrants.

  55. I was recently questioned for taking pics of the interior of an Iberia plane, MAD – BOS. And even though the crew was much more professional about it, it still felt like they thought I was a criminal.

  56. @CAHBFF

    Not sure what they teach you at Yale, but a private entity like AA can not arrest you.. therefore it doesn’t make sense what you’re saying. Sure, the 4th amendment applies only to the government, but the government is the only entity than can arrest you so moot point.

  57. It’s private property, not sure what some of you aren’t getting. Do you think these aircraft are public transportation? You are not free to waltz in and take photographs of everything. I’ll bet every airlines gives some power to the crew to make decisions. If you want to take photos, just ask in advance. That’s all you need to do.

  58. I have no problem with PAX taking pictures of the aircraft, but when your taking pictures of me, then I have a problem. We do have a right to ask you to delete the photos, and if you don’t comply then yes, your not complying with a crew member. Most of us honestly don’t care if you take pictures of one another or the plane as long as it is for pleasure purposes. When your taking photos of FAs and FAs doing their jobs, its not only a distraction but a safety and privacy issue. I’m sure you don’t want random strangers coming into your work taking photos of you. In this day of age its easy to say, but everyone does it but common sense sometimes people.

  59. Was recently on a Delta flight from Panama City to Detroit with my two kids ages 9 and 11. Shortly before closing the cabin door, the flight attendant walked up and asked me if my kids would like to see the flight deck. I asked her if she wouldn’t mind using my phone to take some pictures. No problem. I must say she took some great pictures of the kids and the pilots sitting in the cockpit smiling.

    But yes, Lucky is right. The same laws don’t apply on an aircraft or a ship as they do on the ground. Once you are on board, the Captain’s law is the law.

  60. I’m based in Sydney and usually fly with Qantas, I try to choose flights which aren’t too full so 1. I don’t have anyone next to me and 2. so I can take some photos without feeling embarrassed when people look at me taking them. I’ll usually ask the crew if I’m allowed to take some photos when I’m boarding and they usually say yes and sometimes even without being prompted ask if I would like the Captain or F.O. to take some photos for me. However there have been some instances where I’ve been told that I wasn’t allowed and if they provide a ‘legitimate’ reason, I’ll respect that.

    In the end though, it is not my intent nor anyone else’s to harm the crew or any other passengers by taking photos, it’s simply to document our travels.

  61. I think the FA’s were on a power trip. Totally uncalled for.

    But, I would suggest one look at this part “… I snap a picture of the main entrance/inflight refreshment area at door 2L/R…”. They could easily decide that your were taking pictures of operational area. A big stretch, but way different than taking a picture of you and and your seat. And if it was the front area and not just a casual photo, they should have said such. I also do not know if the pictures included other people.

    As much as I would want to make my point with these bozo’s, I surely do not want to run afoul of the power they have. Possibly, after taking the pictures, I would pull up the exact same online (there are thousands of them) and show them to the bozos.

  62. Although it’s nice to see some of you “my sh!t doesn’t stink” types run into someone just as arrogant as you I do agree with the pax in this instance. That said, it’s a battle you’re sure to lose. Now you see how it feels to be treated by egotistical maniacs.

  63. I am fine with photography on board, provided it doesn’t use flash (as I am really sensitive to it, especially in a dark cabin) or show faces of other passengers. It’s all about balance… and no flash.

  64. The thing is that nowadays there are also people who take pictures in order to post bashing comments on social media. Employees, trying not to be questioned by their management, would rather play safe and not allow taking pictures at all. This I think is why the no photography rule is being abused. I once visited the Qantas Lounge at HKIA and was told by the front desk lady that it’s not allowed to take pictures there. But when I was in the Qantas Lounge in Sydney no one ever said anything to me. The FAs on one of my Qantas flight even encouraged me to take pictures. What is at risk is the company’s publicity, not airline safety.

  65. totally agree with most of the comments that this seems to happen only on U.S. carriers. I took pictures when I flew LH first class on a 747-8 and the flight attendant even offered to take the pictures with me in it. Same offer was extended by Cathay Pacific’s flight attendants when I took pics of business and first class seats on different flights.

  66. Lol Ole, your “supid” comment is it’s own critique. That’s a story that may be pimped in the US, but almost never encountered outside of it. It’s a fiction, as demonstrated by any cabin crew duty statement or review of any cabin crew training program, very little of which deals with emergency management or cabin safety (the bulk taken up with hospitality training/duties).

    Given the often low standards (some cabin crew get no more than 2 weeks training before being let loose in a cabin, even the longest courses out there barely exceed six months and are definately the exception), coupled with minimal barriers to entry, it’s a massive bit of spin. And you are a chowder head for claiming otherwise.

  67. @Bob Trial

    When I said “I’m not taking AA’s side, but I can totally see the security sensitivity with a photo like that.” Is because the same thing happened to me on a recent flight. I completely agree with you that these pictures are already on the Web (Yes, I know what the Internet is and what Google Images is). WHen i took a picture in the first class cabin of a Delta flight from Amsterdam to JFK, of the “sub” FA’s said i could not do that – that it was illegal and that further photo taking of the cabin would get me arrested and off the flight. later the lead FA came by and clarified that it was OK as long as I didn’t take pictures of what she called “security sensitive” things onboard (Obviously she looked at the pax manifest and saw my status and realized I was a FF not a one-time First Class flier). On another United flight (operated by a RUDE a Continental crew), I was upset about something a FA had said about the service and I inquired with a lead FA for the offending FA’s name. They refused to give it to me per “union rules” i.e. – protection. The FA’s these days are so concerned about their jobs. It’s disgusting.

  68. I’ve had no problems taking photos as long as
    I avoid accidentally (or on purpose) taking them of the flight crew. I do enjoy taking video, especially as we get close to home and start recognizing landmarks, as long as I’m in a window seat. In fact, I was in a fairly new aircraft with my seat actually facing an FA in an exit row upon landing, and asked her if I could take a picture of my seatbelt, which had an airbag (!!?) tag on it, to which she said “only after landing”, to which I smiled and obviously complied. Asking in advance and being friendly is always the best policy; you get WAY more acceptance and eliminate the potentially surreptitious air that gets people thrown off, tx’d as a suspect and perhaps unfairly targeted as a ‘threat’. This seemingly confrontational and ‘one-upmanship’ attitude I’m reading among so many writers (and obvious travelers here) kind of baffles me. But then, I travel for pleasure and NOT business.

  69. I’ve been a “trolley dolly” for 20 years, and I assure you we have our reasons for “no photos”. How would u desk jockeys like some stranger come in your office and take your picture? We are given a safety briefing before every flight about things you would never even think of! The people that work for the airlines are not high school educated minimum wage employees. We probably make more money than most of you! We are there to protect you and save you in case of emergency! All of you, not just “mr all about me”. All of you. Get over your disrespectful entitled self and follow the rules

  70. Well, Ms Trolley Dolley – I appreciate you are a valued employee and watcher of the skies, but what are these “reasons” somebody would make a big deal about taking pictures.

    People take pictures all the time. There are millions online. And even if not, it would be so very easy to take them without you knowing.

    So, again – what are the reasons that CERTAIN flight crew would decide to have a hissy fit?

  71. Look you free loading frequent flyer-I pay for my privacy!
    How dare you and that weird Asian Sami guy film me.
    I will boycott the airlines you feature.
    Be careful.

  72. Well, I’m sorry to say it but this only could happen in a US airline… I’ve travel with almost 50 companies always in first or business, and only 3 times in my life I’ve had problems because of the mistreatment of the crew: AA, United and Delta. Never again!

  73. 1. Make sure your phone is set to back photos up to Google Photos, and connected to the internet. Also ensure that in Google Drive (desktop website) settings “Automatically put google photos into a folder…” is ON.
    2. Delete photo when prompted.
    If they just have you put it into Trash, go to Google Photos app > Trash to recover. If they force you to permanently delete, continue below.
    3. https://support.google.com/drive
    4. Contact us > Missing or deleted files > Chat now
    5. DO NOT say you are restoring Google Photos. Just say that you accidentally deleted some files in Google Drive and need them back.
    (The chat is only meant for Google Drive, but the recovery tool they use also restores Google Photos)
    6. Wait a few minutes for the support team to start data recovery.
    7. Post the photos all over social media. Reference the Streisand effect. Criticize the airline. Thank the Google Drive support team.

  74. question – How to solve this problem –
    answer simple – dont fly with these airlines

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