United Airlines Kicks Travel Writer Off Of Plane For Photographing His Seat
from the not-how-you-attract-customers dept
This one is from a few weeks back, but it’s worth catching up on. In an age when pretty much everyone has a camera in their pocket via their telephone, it’s fairly crazy to try to enforce “no photography” rules — especially in places where they don’t make any sense. And, yet, for reasons that are not at all clear, United Airlines apparently has the following “no photography” rule for passengers on their airplanes:
Naturally, the FA’s warning bothered me and I felt the need to explain myself. I signaled for her to come back and asked her to hang my coat. I then said this verbatim—
“I want you to understand why I was taking pictures. I hope you didn’t think I was a terrorist. Here is my business card [offering her one]. I write about United Airlines on an almost-daily basis and the folks at United in Chicago are even aware of my blog.”
She took my jacket but refused to take my business card saying, “No, that’s okay,” then saying, “I did not know that” after I explained my reason for taking pictures. I again emphasize, I took no more pictures.
Just a few minutes later, he was told that the captain was ordering him off the plane. Klint eventually was able to speak to the captain who insisted that he had disobeyed the flight attendant, when he makes it clear he had not. It became a he-said/she-said debate and the airline, of course, won.
After the story started to get some attention, United reached out to Klint and claimed they were launching an “extensive internal investigation.”
Klint is, quite reasonably, pissed off about the flight attendant lying about his actions. And he feels United needs to earn back his trust (and he notes they have not offered any sort of apology). However, it seems the bigger issue is the whole “no photography” rule. It’s likely this was a rule that’s supposed to protect the “privacy” of fellow passengers, but it’s clearly one that was being misapplied by this flight attendant, who apparently stopped quite a few people from taking such pictures.
Yet, in an age where everyone has a cameraphone, the idea of stopping photographs in a settling like that isn’t just silly, it’s counterproductive and can be used (as in this case) to escalate a perfectly benign situation into a complete mess.