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:
But, of course, who would actually pay attention to something like that? Tons of people take photographs on airplanes. I've done it plenty of times. Yet, on one United flight a few weeks ago, apparently a flight attendant was being extra vigilant and running around the airplane demanding everyone stop taking photographs, even falsely claiming that it violated FAA regulations (it doesn't). One of admonished passengers was a travel writer and a frequent United Airlines flyer, Matthew Klint, who blogs regularly (and positively) about the airline. He took the following photo:
The reason was that this was the first time he'd been on a plane with this configuration, and he intended to blog about it, as he's done many times in the past. The flight attendant ordered him to stop, and he did so immediately. But then he decided to just let the flight attendant know why he had taken the picture, and that led to a ridiculous chain of events ending with him getting tossed off the flight.
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.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 1:12pm

    Are you sure that "I hope you didn't think I was a terrorist" didn't have anything to do with this?

     

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      JEDIDIAH, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 1:25pm

      The petty beaurocrat

      This is something that you have to be careful of in general with dealing with any airline personnel either in the air on the ground. They can decide that they like you for no reason and prevent you from flying. You have no recourse.

      In the terminal. At the gate. In the aircraft.

      In any one of those places, an airline employee can suddenly decide to go on a power trip and there's really not much you can do about.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 2:10pm

        Re: The petty beaurocrat

        Well you can blog/tweet about it mentioning the sanctimonious bastards by name. Even saying Steward Kelly on UA flight 123 of such and such a date and hour should get them more than a little unwanted attention from management.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 2:21pm

          Re: Re: The petty beaurocrat

          Especially if you are a reasonably well known and respected journalist with at least a decent sized readership. And you don't really even need that. Just have a buddy start discreetly filming the entire interaction and then release it on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter then let it go viral.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 2:53pm

            Re: Re: Re: The petty beaurocrat

            Just film the bastards doing it, then it doesn't matter if you are "respect" or not.

             

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      JMT (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 3:30pm

      Re:

      Probably, but that doesn't change things one bit. His comment was completely innocuous and doesn't even come close to justifying the treatment he received, or excuse the flight attendant's lying to the pilot.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 1:13pm

    can give a nice report on United now then, cant he! it should please United no end to know they have such vigilant, well informed and sensible staff on the aircraft, looking after passengers interests! i can foresee all flights being filled to capacity now, just because of this little incident!

     

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    Bergman (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 1:16pm

    Defamation is a tort

    Since Klint was financially harmed by the lie the FA told the pilot, at least to the tune of the cost of a plane ticket and possibly other expenses

     

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      Bergman (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 1:18pm

      Re: Defamation is a tort

      Weird, the page suddenly refreshed itself for no apparent reason and posted my comment with no actual mouse clicks from me in mid sentence. To finish my post:

      Since Klint was financially harmed by the lies the FA told the pilot about him disobeying her orders, at least in the amount of the plane ticket and possibly other things like hotel costs, missed connections and reservations, etc...

      He would have a pretty good defamation case against her if he were to sue her for it.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 1:19pm

    The law should be that when in any public space, it is legal to take photographs. Public space is any space the public has access to, even if they buy tickets or pay for access. It is hard luck if a published photograph shows committing a transgression, such as being with a mistress.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 1:36pm

      Re:

      Exactly. The public does NOT have access to airplanes. Airplanes are almost all privately owned and operated. Obey their rules or use another one.

      If you come to my house and don't obey they rules, I'll kick you out too, even if I sold you a ticket to be there.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 1:40pm

        Re: Re:

        I qualify them as public spaces, buy a ticket and get on board.
        Your house is different, I don't expect to get inside unless you invite me in.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 2:27pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          That IS the law. You CAN photograph anything you can see in public. However, he is correct. The aircraft is owned by the airline. It is NOT a public place even though there are other members of the public on it. So that law does not apply legally speaking.

           

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          btr1701 (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 3:04pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          > > Airplanes are almost all privately
          > > owned and operated.

          > I qualify them as public spaces

          You might, but the law doesn't.

           

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        That Anonymous Coward (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 11:36pm

        Re: Re:

        "Airplanes are almost all privately owned and operated."

        Then why the fuck am I paying for air traffic controllers, surly wanna be rent-a-cops feeling up my balls, and standing in untested machines that are theater?

        Shouldn't they be paying their fair share for these wondrous services that they rely on?

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2013 @ 4:07am

          Re: Re: Re:

          they do. That's what Air Passenger Duty is supposed to be for, it's just passed on like any other tax.

           

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    Jeremy2020 (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 1:27pm

    If you let travel bloggers photograph the interiors of airplanes...the terrorists win.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 1:37pm

      Re:

      Good point. I'm scared of terrorists too. Taking pictures is def a win for them. Good job United, another plot foiled. Without the help from the FBI I might add.

       

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        Argonel (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 2:06pm

        Re: Re:

        I pretty sure that foild terrorist plots without FBI involvement is against the law.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 2:35pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          No, publicizing that you foiled a terrorist plot that wasn't planned by the FBI in the first place so that they can take credit for it is what is apparently against the law. If you actually foil a real terrorist plot but don't tell anyone about it, that's ok with them because you made less work for them and helped keep them from looking bad for not doing the job that they are supposed to be doing.

           

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          Jeremy2020 (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 2:36pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Is that terrorist plots started by the FBI (and thwarted) or just actual terrorist plots?

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 5:53pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Most terrorist plots are in other languages written by foreigners and since almost no one working for the feds can speak two languages they are surely unable to foil any plots. They probably hire translators but my theory is fire all the useless FBI employees who need translators and just keep those who can speak more than one language.

           

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 1:34pm

    Learn the rules or use another company. Ignorance of the law.. or, well, rules, is not an excuse. Attention whore that one is. If he would have keep his mouth shut nothing would have happened. But of course blame everyone else for his failure to read. Typical.

     

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      Chosen Reject (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 1:52pm

      Re:

      Can't tell if Poe.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 3:12pm

        Re: Re:

        I think he is serious, which is incredibly disturbing. I don't really trust people who worship rules and see the world as black and white.

        To invoke another internet adage, the kind of people who "follow orders" are the kind of people that become Nazis.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2013 @ 5:36am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Let me guess, you're one of the people who don't read the rules then beg for forgiveness? Or you're just one with 100 page long criminal record because you break all the laws?

          Worship rules? That's rich. Follow rules != worship. You should really google the word before using it if you don't understand it.

          Disturbing indeed.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2013 @ 5:37am

          Re: Re: Re:

          What better way to get your dying blog some attention then some twisted induced Streisand effect?

           

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    ralph, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 1:45pm

    United...

    My wife and I were going to Puerto Rico a while back and our leg into Houston was rescheduled breaking our connection to San Juan. United never bothered to notify us by email or phone even though we bought electronic tickets online months before and they had both our phone and email address. No word at all. Nothing.

    I guess United is too busy training their personnel to act like total morons.

    Southwest Airlines is starting flights to San Juan. They seem to have it together a bit more.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2013 @ 4:14am

      Re:

      in general, United have no duty to ensure you make a connecting flight. They probably should have informed you ( and, assuming the connecting flight was from United as well, given you the opportunity to change your flight) but they aren't required to.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 1:49pm

    Never again? Sorry, too late

    This story would cause me to never fly United again, if I hadn't already sworn that about ten years ago after a similar flight attendant power trip. ("No, I'm not going to move that baby, because it's not mine!")

     

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    Gabor Lukacs, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 1:51pm

    Complaint filed against United ban on photography and video recording on board

    On February 24, 2013, I filed a complaint with the Canadian Transportation Agency about the ban of United on photography and video recording on board. The federal regulator ordered United to answer the complaint by April 4, 2013.

    I will be tweeting updates (@AirPassRightsCA). Stay tuned!

     

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    Glen, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 1:58pm

    You would think the carriers would have learned about the hazards of social media after the Kevin Smith dust up a couple of years ago. I guess they can't learn.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 1:58pm

    1st Rule of Flying

    You don't say "terrorist"
    while waiting in the TSA line,
    while walking to the plan,
    while waiting for the plane,
    while ON the plane.

    Period

     

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      Spointman (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 2:08pm

      Re: 1st Rule of Flying

      And this is the first rule that has to change, ideally with force of law behind it.

      The rule is, "Don't SAY terrorist."

      The rule should be, "Don't BE a terrorist."

      Huge difference.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 2:28pm

      Re: 1st Rule of Flying

      The word "terrorist" is no longer covered by the first amendment?

       

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        RyanNerd (profile), Mar 16th, 2013 @ 5:05am

        Re: Re: 1st Rule of Flying

        Where have you been living? Of course not. Here's a short list of words that have the potential of not only getting you thrown off the plane, but arrested as well:

        Terrorism
        Al Queda
        Terror
        Terrorist
        Attack
        Iraq
        Afghanistan
        Iran
        Pakistan
        Agro
        Weapon
        Target
        Bomb
        Enriched
        Nuclear
        Chemical
        Biological
        Ammonium nitrate
        Explosive
        IED (Improvised Explosive Device)
        Abu Sayyaf
        Hamas
        FARC (Armed Revolutionary Forces Colombia)
        IRA (Irish Republican Army)
        ETA (Euskadi ta Askatasuna)
        Basque Separatists
        Hezbollah
        Tamil Tiger
        PLF (Palestine Liberation Front)
        PLO (Palestine Libration Organization)
        Jihad
        Taliban
        Suicide
        Suspicious
        AQAP (Al Qaeda Arabian Peninsula)
        AQIM (Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb)
        TTP (Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan)
        Yemen
        Pirates
        Extremism
        Somalia
        Nigeria
        Radicals
        Al-Shabaab
        Home grown
        Plot
        Nationalist
        Recruitment
        Fundamentalism
        Islamist

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2013 @ 2:40am

          Re: Re: Re: 1st Rule of Flying

          you forgot

          "I got a bomb and am going to blow you all up"

          "Allahu Akbar"

          "excuse me mam, would you mind stopping your baby from crying".

          "stop kicking the back of my seat"

          "I ordered the vegan in flight meal!"

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2013 @ 2:41am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: 1st Rule of Flying

            "I got a box cutter, and am not afraid to use it".

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2013 @ 5:42am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 1st Rule of Flying

              "Enough is enough. I have had it with these muthaf****n' snakes on this muthaf****n' plane!"

               

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              Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2013 @ 4:17am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 1st Rule of Flying

              to be fair, that probably would get you kicked off the plane for threatening behaviour, not out of any fear of terrorism

               

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            Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2013 @ 5:39am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: 1st Rule of Flying

            "There's something out there! There's a man on the wing of this plane!"

             

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            Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2013 @ 4:21am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: 1st Rule of Flying

            "I got a bomb and am going to blow you all up"- that SHOULD get you kicked off, for sheer stupidity if nothing else.

             

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 2:48pm

      Re: 1st Rule of Flying

      And if you DO say, it in any of those places, make sure you have the entire event thoroughly documented (read: safely recorded on camera by someone else).

       

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      JMT (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 3:38pm

      Re: 1st Rule of Flying

      "1st Rule of Flying"

      Correction: 1st New Rule of Flying, introduced recently when people who think like you let the terrorists win.

       

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    Prattle On, Boyo, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 1:59pm

    I would think that in an age when most travelers despise the airlines for the bullshit TSA security theater antics that United would be absolutely orgasmic there was a blogger who was willing to whore for them. Guess not. #UnitedDumbassery

     

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    Coogan (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 2:09pm

    This is kinda what happens when you have:

    A) 400 metric tons of federal laws, most of which are written so vaguely that they could be interpreted to criminalize improperly washing your hands after taking a leak.
    B) Businesses that are petrified of being sued out of existence that they'll write policies that have less give than a titanium mattress.
    C) Employees that are petrified of being fired for showing the most minute sense of "oh, come the fuck on! It's a picture of a backseat television! I seriously doubt he gonna single-handedly commandeer the plane and crash us into the Golden Gate Bridge" that they'd rather just keep their head down and not get themselves in trouble. After all, what does it matter to the pilot if the guy gets tossed off the plane?

     

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    James, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 2:31pm

    drive

    Years ago I got tired of dealing with the airlines. I just drive everywhere now, unless I am going overseas (which doesn't happen that often). I would rather spend an extra day or two on the road, carrying as much luggage as I want, than jump through all their ridiculous hoops.

     

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    Atkray (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 2:51pm

    Possible explanation

    Perhaps the FA is one of those who believe that when you take a picture of someone it steals their soul.

     

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      RyanNerd (profile), Mar 16th, 2013 @ 5:10am

      Re: Possible explanation

      I din't know seats in an airplane have souls. Are you sure it's not all chairs that have souls? Or only seats in an aircraft?
      Your comment may just spark a completely new debate about if FA and chairs have souls.

       

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    mattshow (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 2:57pm

    I'm not sure I even really understand what happened.

    He was taking pictures. The flight attendant told him to stop. He did, but then called her back to explain to her why he had been taking pictures.

    And then... the flight attendant told the captain he had disobeyed her? Was she confused and thought his explanation meant he didn't plan to stop taking pictures? Did his explanation somehow offend her? Was she going to do that anyway, and the explanation wasn't relevant? Was it his use of the word "terrorist", as some people have theorized?

    I can understand the flight attendant trying to enforce the policy. That's often the way it is when you're front-line staff. You get told the policies, and you get told it's your job to enforce them, and you don't have the authority to grant exceptions. Even if you think it's a stupid policy, you don't want to risk your job.

    But I just don't understand why the flight attendant would lie. It seems so weird.

    Or maybe I'm missing something really obvious here. I'm very tired, so that's quite possible.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 2:58pm

    I wish Mike Masnick ran every major airline in the world, because then they would be perfect just like Mike.

     

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    madasahatter (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 3:13pm

    United = Unfriendly Skies

    United has had horrible customer service for at least 25 years. I am not surprised at United's shaft the customer mentality. After having family members shafted by the Unfriendly Skies my family has never flown them.

     

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    slick8086, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 3:46pm

    ridiculous

    This policy will be even more ridiculous when things like Google Glass become prevalent. How will anyone know if you're taking a picture or not?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 4:02pm

    I think I will not be using United anymore.

    I don't feel like being kicked off for taking a picture of THE BACK OF A FUCKING SEAT. I hope they fire that lying bitch for this bs.

     

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    squall_seawave (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 4:05pm

    you know what about the war against terrorism?
    the terrorists won, their name explain it they dont want to kill people they want to spread terror so now USA is living in fear of their own goverment

     

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    John Pettitt (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 4:21pm

    Nobody told the united social media team about this rule

    2 weeks before this happend I tweeted a pic of my United airlines meal while still in flight and @united responded positively. Clearly the left hand has not met the right hand.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2013 @ 4:26am

      Re: Nobody told the united social media team about this rule

      it's a policy that is usually not enforced. Best guess is the flight attendant was either new, or had been told off recently for not following a different policy and was being extra careful to enforce all policies as a result.

       

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    Wolfy, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 4:50pm

    This country (the US) has turned into a nation of pansies, with a few exceptions, such as people with military service.

    Eight years of rethuglicans' rule and their never-ending drumbeat of fear and near panic, have brought us to a place the Founders would be highly dismayed about, could they know.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 5:52pm

    "Please take your seat and remove your Google Glass. Thank you, and have a pleasant flight."

     

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    Mason Wheeler, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 6:33pm

    Apparently breaking guitars wasn't enough for United...

     

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    IronM@sk, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 8:17pm

    in a settling like that

    *setting

     

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    The dude, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 8:33pm

    Commenters

    The worst part of all is not the fact that they kicked him out of his fly; but the comments on his blog by sheeple.. i mean of course "people", a lot of them say basically that he should have shut up and do as ordered, others said that it was his fault and that he should have let "sleeping dogs lie".
    This mentality is exactly what will lead to more and more of this shit, with people even defending this measures that are implemented for their own "good".
    In this age, everyone should be a Rosa Parks.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 8:45pm

    Naturally, the FA's warning bothered me and I felt the need to explain myself.

    Oh, here we go. This is where it went wrong. He stopped taking pictures when the flight attendant told him to. He should have just left it at that and written something up in his blog about wanting to take pictures but not being allowed to. All he did (in the flight attendant's mind) is get confrontational. Whether he was actually confrontational or not doesn't matter...she seems to have perceived it that way and went crying to the captain. He should have just put his camera away, ordered a drink, and enjoyed his flight.

     

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      Niall (profile), Mar 18th, 2013 @ 5:48am

      Re:

      But his job is to push things like that, and if explaining yourself quietly to a flight attendant is 'confrontational' then United really need to learn that you guys aren't cattle.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 16th, 2013 @ 12:57am

    I have had a delta flight attendant tell me smokeless tobacco was against the law.When I checked this out I found it is a Delta policy not a federal law.I will not fly Delta again because of this.The airlines should train the attendants better so they know what the are talking about.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2013 @ 3:10am

      Re:

      the FA knew exactly what she was talking about, and "rule" and "law" makes no difference to her, she was following the rules she was trained to enforce.

      just because she said "against the law" as opposed to "against the companies policy" still means you are not allowed.

      as far as everyone including the FA is concerned, she is right, you are not allowed to do it, and she told you that fact.

      because of that, you will no longer fly delta, because a flight attendant, said "law" instead of "rule" or "policy".

      I am sure Delta are devastated by this.. that someone with such a disgusting habit is not longer flying with them.

       

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        Niall (profile), Mar 18th, 2013 @ 5:50am

        Re: Re:

        So when a flight attendant lies to you, it's ok? There's a huge difference between a policy and a law - for instance, you can appeal a policy and campaign against it far more easily. It also lets you know that other airline providers may not be such dipshits and would rather have your money.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 16th, 2013 @ 3:19am

    this guy is a moron, he claims to be a seasoned traveller and wants to say the word terrorist to a flight attendant. What an idiot.

    That is cause enough to warrant your removal off a plane.

    Also even though airlines are often run by private companies they are public and a public space, the company cannot without reason deny the use of that service.

    Same for any shop, it's privately owned, but you cannot stop someone from a certain race or sex or skin color from using your shop, you can for security purposes require no photography or video.

    It is a public place but you are not allowed to film and or photograph in ALL public places.

     

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      Anonymous, Mar 17th, 2013 @ 8:34am

      Re:

      You have the absolute legal right to film and photograph anything in any public place. It's a Constitutional right under the 9th amendment.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 16th, 2013 @ 12:15pm

    I hope they were kind enough to give him a parachute before kicking him off the plane.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2013 @ 2:51am

      Re:

      "I's sorry sir, but you are going to have to leave the flight"..

      "but we are at 30,000 feet"..

      "You should of thought of that before!"

       

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    Anonymous, Mar 17th, 2013 @ 8:33am

    Eventually, it's going to become clear to everyone that the right to take photographs -- of ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING -- is a basic constitutional right, under the 9th Amendment.

    Apparently this hasn't happened yet, though.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2013 @ 5:06am

      Re:

      1st amendment, I'm pretty sure. The Ninth amendment basically says that juts because a right isn't in the constitution, it doesn't mean it isn't protected.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2013 @ 5:36pm

      Re:

      not if the contract you enter into with the airline states you are not to take photo's, or if you are confrontational with the FA's or you talk about terrorism, or argue with the FA and make an ass of yourself.

       

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    Tex Arcana (profile), Mar 17th, 2013 @ 6:59pm

    Dear United:

    You are a bunch of blithering idiots. I will now stop covering you so positively, and go fluff up AmeriAirways.

    Sincerely,

    The blogger that you tossed off your plane for no good reason.

     

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    mattshow (profile), Mar 18th, 2013 @ 11:50am

    An airplane is not a public place. United owns that plane (or at least controls it) and they have the power to limit who is and is not allowed to be on it. I'm sure that somewhere in the process of purchasing his ticket, obtaining his boarding pass and boarding the plane, the blog author put himself in a contractual relationship with United whereby he agreed that, in exchange for them letting him on board their plane, he agreed to pay them money and abide by their policies.

    Talk of the 9th amendment is equally pointless. The Bill of Rights restricts the government's power, not the power of corporations to include whatever conditions they like in their contracts. There do exist laws that have that effect, such as laws that prohibit corporations from adopting policies which discriminate against people on certain grounds, but the Bill of Rights isn't one of them.

    It's not that I don't think this is some truly horrendous customer service on the part of United. It is. In general I think the paranoia around photography is absolutely ridiculous. Anger is totally justified here, and boycotting United makes perfect sense. I just don't think talking about the 9th amendment or having a "Is an airplane a public space?" argument makes sense.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2013 @ 5:30pm

      Re:

      an airplane is a public place only in that they need to have a valid reason for not allowing you to fly, such as your attitude, perceived risk, or as you said a breach of the contract you entered into with them when you purchased your ticket.

      you are right, but in as far as they are not allowed to discriminate against your for many reasons such as race, sex, or disability applies as if it was a public place.

      you most certainly are not allowed by default to photograph or film in private companies or some public places regardless of this.

      Government offices are one place at least here in Australia, that are public places where there are signs posted specifically stating no recording, filming or photographs are allowed. And security guards to enforce that.

      They can make that policy, just as an airline can make their own policies. They can define dress code, codes of conduct, no photography, no electronic devices. All sorts of things.

      The issue with this person is we said "I am not a terrorist", that is confrontational and is something any person of normal intelligence would never say on a commercial aircraft to a flight attendant.

      She does not want a confrontation with you, nor does she want or need him to explain why he was taking a photo.

      She asked him to stop, he should of simply complied and left it at that.

      He brought up the subject of terrorism, something the airline industry in quite sensitive about.

      Who in their right mind would say "I am not a terrorist" to a FA !!!! Especially someone who claims to be a seasoned air traveller and travel writer.

      Any flight attendant who has just been told by a passenger " I am not a terrorist" would be duty bound, and required to informed the captain and he in turn would be duty bound to remove him from the flight. Either by law, company policy or common sense.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2013 @ 9:49am

    He called her back to the seat to make her HANG UP HIS COAT, a classic power play. Unspoken subtext: "Don't forget you are actually subservient to me, biatch!" No wonder she got his butt kicked off the plane.

     

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      Joshua Lyle, Mar 26th, 2013 @ 12:36pm

      Re:

      She took away the ability to document interaction with an authority figure and lied about the law. Those are much, much, much bigger power plays, and the subservience isn't even subtextual.

       

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    Robert, Feb 9th, 2014 @ 6:53pm

    United and picture taking got a guy thrown off the plane.

    Attitudes like that makes you avoid traveling with United. especially after an investigation with no follow up. Says a lot about that airline. That is why i like flying Southwest a lot. Fun company, fun employees.

     

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