Topic of the Week: The Evil That is Airplane Photography

Matthew from Live and Let’s Fly wrote up a story about how he was removed from a United flight to Istanbul for taking pictures.

<sarcasm>Clearly the flight attendant was right for ridding the airplane of such a terrible menace.</sarcasm>

Assuming this is true (which we don’t know for sure, but I have little reason to doubt it), can anyone see a good reason why this should be the case? And I’m talking about a really good reason, not some cooked up idea that maybe the Soviets are going to try to steal seat technology or the Taliban is going to bring our airplanes down with photobombs.

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104 Comments on "Topic of the Week: The Evil That is Airplane Photography"

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Mke
Guest

good reason?

i wouldnt want to be on a plane with that guy either.
glad there is something called captains authority

Jorg
Guest
I read Matthew’s blog and let’s start by saying that I find the ‘rules’ as outlined in Hemisphere already extremely confusing. First they tell you it’s OK for personal usage, then they tell you it’s completely prohibited in any UA aircraft. Then, when can I take a picture? Outside the A/C? I don’t think that’s up to UA at all. The only reason I can imagine, is competitor information. Delta could see what United offers on their airplane. Pretty stupid reason anyway. Any competitor can book a flight and find out personally. Furthermore, with the number of videos on Youtube… Read more »
Bobber
Guest

Why bother mentioning ‘terrorist’ to the FA at all? That in itself is probably all the FA’s/Captain needed to justify removing the guy (rightly or wrongly).

Nick Barnard
Member

He was saying he was not a terrorist. Probably a bad word choice, but given his context “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.” This was fine.

Bobber
Guest

Not saying it was justified, Nick – just mentioning (as half the other posters subsequently have) that the airline industry no longer has a sense of humour about terrorism. As a travelling ‘professional’ he should have at least been savvy enough to moderate his vocabulary.

Nick Barnard
Member

Heh, did they ever have a sense of humour about terrorism? ;-)

Bobber
Guest

Or sense of humour. Period?

MathFox
Guest
The whole story raises a lot of questions with me. 1) What is the legal base for United’s photo ban? 2) Is the instruction from the FA to stop making pictures an instruction regarding safety? 3) Is “We don’t like this person on board” a valid reason for refusing flight? If Matthew does not withhold relevant information I really wonder why the United crew insisted on his removal… It perfectly fits in the trend that people with some power in the US can’t seem to stand any challenge to their authority. Which is a long way from the principles of… Read more »
Nick Barnard
Member

1) Legal basis for United’s photo ban: They own/are the sole lessor of the airplane, they can say what you can and can’t do on it.
2 and 3) Who knows?

SEAN
Guest

Sounds like the same rules in malls & on public transit. It’s not illegal to take pictures, but security will tell you otherwise. If you challenge their authority, then the FBI or some other agency gets notified & then fun really begins.

MathFox
Guest
I’m looking at the situation from the east side of the Atlantic, where “the customer is king” has watered down to “the customer is paying your salary”. But anyway, the restriction on photography (however badly worded it is) would be part of a contract (civil law). [Aside, it might be non-binding for EUropean passengers when the regulation is not brought to attention of the passenger at the time of booking.] Furthermore I don’t see how Matthew broke the rule. What I understand is that Flight Attendants can give instructions to the passengers regarding safety and passengers have to obey them.… Read more »
Bill from DC
Guest

this is VERY well stated…

I?m looking at the situation from the east side of the Atlantic, where ?the customer is king? has watered down to ?the customer is paying your salary?.

JRS
Guest

“I want you to understand why I was taking pictures. I hope you didn’t think I was a terrorist…..”

I think that was what freaked out the FA, using the word “terrorist” in any
context is what got him kicked off the plane. I still think the FA overreacted but
in the flying environment we have these days I’m not that surprised.

noahkimmel
Member

agreed. I hate that they removed a loyal flier and enthusiast and did it so rudly. But, he used a bad buzz word, and interrupted the crew while they were busy prepping for take off. Had he not said anything, they likely would have let it go and he could have apologized when they were in the air and not as busy. No good deed goes unpunished…

Dale
Guest
Having read Matthew’s account of the incident here is my take on the situation: I believe both sides are right AND wrong at the same time. Matthew was right to discontinue taking pictures but wrong for sure in using the word “terrorist” when following up with the stewardess. Just like I would not use the word “bomb” on an airplane or at an airport and I would never want to say “hi” to any person named “Jack” at an airport or on an airplane. Furthermore I think he was wrong in following up while on the ground as the crew… Read more »
Jim
Guest

Just to clarify, in two-party consent states such as California, it is illegal to secretly record a PRIVATE conversation without consent (such as on the phone). It is still perfectly legal to record a conversation taking place in a public place.

Chris
Guest

People believe that photography is a crime. …because terrorists are unable to remember details for themselves and require cameras.

The explaination was probably largely unnecessary, but it’s a sad world that we live in if we have to dance around increasingly large swaths of the dictionary when on an airplane.

marshall
Member

Overreaction? Yes. But seriously….never ever use the word terrorist when trying to explain yourself to a flight crewmember. Politely extricate yourself from the situation, and follow up with the airline when you land. You won’t win in the air…even if you are right.

Jim M
Guest

I agree. Its like a white guy using the “N” word. Not good.

Bill from DC
Guest

It seems silly and somewhat sad that common sense, context and judgement is completely eradicated just by the mere mention of certain words.

Oliver
Guest

Weird analogy.

Ben G
Guest
My first thought when I saw this is that there is something about Newark. As an avid NY area planespotter, Newark is probably the only airport in the region that is downright hostile to photographers. It is widely regarded as not being worth the time to spot at since everybody in the area (not just on airport property) is anti-photography. Fellow spotters have been detained and had their memory cards illegally confiscated while spotting from a public rest area, and a major international furniture retailer with an ideal spotting location actively has their security chase off photographers even when the… Read more »
DesertGhost
Guest

…(M)aybe the Soviets are going to try to steal seat technology or the Taliban is going to bring our airplanes down with photobombs.”

I think you’ve nailed it, Brett (written with dripping sarcasm that I hope comes through).

Samara Citizen
Guest

Well, all these comments about the wrong word are horrible and remind of some paranoia. People, are you hearing yourself? The guy said he wasn’t a terrorist. Don’t you understand the negative “not”? Are you afraid of all words now?

Imagine an overhead bin is broken and a passenger makes a joke like “I hope it’s the only technical failure and the plane’s not gonna fall”. Will you support removing such a passenger for using words “failure”, “fall” and for making others panic on hearing these words?

Oliver
Guest

Clearly the bad guys won if you can’t say “I am not a terrorist” within 100 yards of an airplane/port without getting in trouble. Fortunately I can exercise free speech in multiple languages.

Tom White
Guest

Brett reported (Miami trip) about his being overheard commenting about whether the water drip had been properly fixed, and a fellow passenger whipped around to say “that;s not funny”. Did Brett apologize and say how embarrassed and wrong he had been? Even an airplane geek can make this mistake. Samara Citizen think that you, Brett, should have been denied boarding?

Samara Citizen
Guest

Quite on the contrary I think that people/staff should exercise common sense and distinguish between a word and a word meaning actual harm. So, no in both cases I don’t think that anybody should have been denied boarding. That would be ridiculous.

JRS
Guest

“People, are you hearing yourself? The guy said he wasn?t a terrorist. Don?t you understand the negative ?not?? Are you afraid of all words now?”

Just because someone says they are not something does not mean that it is true,
the FA freaked out over him saying the word, doesn’t matter what the context
was. Overreaction? of course but not that surprising.

Samara Citizen
Guest

Well, then go by car and fly only dumb and deaf passengers – they are safe and won’t be an issue when it comes to vocabulary. ))

Samara Citizen
Guest

Just to clarify, I do not support joking about terrorist threats or bombs on planes. But here the case was quite different. Nobody joked about a bomb. So I rather feel like it is a paranoia. Besides, that means that personnel (several people combined actually) are unable to see the difference between a terrorist and a normal person, which is quite disturbing.

MeanMeosh
Guest

I don’t think JRS is defending the actions of the FA in this instance. He is pointing out that FAs today pretty much have absolute police power on their aircraft, and there are a handful that are more than happy to demonstrate that power. It may be paranoia (or more likely just a power trip) that set off the FA in this case, and her inability to distinguish a real threat may indeed be disturbing, but that doesn’t change the fact that they do have the power to kick you off the plane.

Sean S.
Guest

I do have to say one thing the author does not do himself any favors by dripping his blog post with condescencion and entitlement, going even so far as derisively referring to other passengers as “kettles” (I hate that term) and pointing out his status. While I agree his removal was baseless, and that one’s comments should not be enough to get one thrown off a plane, I do have to say I would hate to be seated anywhere near him on any flight.

Oliver
Guest

Yup.

Bill from DC
Guest

interesting, i had several years as golds and platinums on different airlines but i don’t get the “kettles” reference, what does that mean?

Sean S.
Guest
This is a good explanation: http://www.consumertraveler.com/columns/10-types-of-airline-passengers-which-one-are-you/ 5. Ma and Pa Kettle. The Kettles rarely fly, and their lack of experience shows. Urban legend goes that many years ago, during the summer travel boom caused by American Airlines? two-for-one sale, when the ?bus people? came out of the woodwork, a female customer was offered a window seat. That particular Mrs. Kettle responded to the agent, ?No, honey, I don?t want to mess up my hair.? You?ve seen Mr. and Mrs. Kettle. They don?t take their shoes off at the security checkpoint or have their boarding passes out for the TSA to… Read more »
Bill from DC
Guest

LOL, that’s awesome. i’ve definitely disliked myriad kettles without even knowing the term. as a frequent coach px, however, i would take offense to the notion that EVERYBODY in cattle is a kettle! some of us just don’t travel as much anymore so we lack “status” but we still know what the hell we’re doing!

MeanMeosh
Guest
What???? You DON’T believe that the Russians and Chinese are planting spies on planes to steal our technology ???? Unfortunately, in our post-9/11 world, it has been demonstrated time and time again that FAs have absolute, unquestionable police power when it comes to stuff like this. Some FAs have unfortunately allowed the power to go to their heads. Seems like this FA didn’t like being argued with, and so decided to show Matt who was boss by having him kicked off the flight (and tried to hide her identity to boot to thwart the filing of a complaint later). Do… Read more »
Nick Barnard
Member

The Russians and the Chinese don’t need to spy on us for details on a 767 or 777… They can simply buy them.

MeanMeosh
Guest

Nick – just to clarify if it wasn’t obvious, I didn’t intend to be serious with that quip. I was trying to be sarcastic, but apparently wasn’t terribly successful.

Nick Barnard
Member

I knew. ;-) Humor is one of the few times during my day that I play a straight man.

Bag Guy
Guest

I can’t help but compare this to my first flight on the Qantas A380 last month LAX-SYD.
We got lucky and received an upgrade to Business so we were acting like a couple of kids on our first airplane ride.
Not only did we take lots of pictures and videos, but the F/A offered to take pictures of us as we snuggled into our seats.

Bill from DC
Guest

heh, so much for being an “FAA regulation”

Ron
Guest

I’m guessing the anti-photography policy is an attempt to protect the airline against copyright infringement lawsuits — as in, someone manages to copy and distribute a feature film and then the copyright owner sues the airline (the theory being, should such a lawsuit occur, the airline can use the policy in its defense). The policy is phrased in very broad terms, and is then misunderstood or misused by some of the staff.

Ron
Guest

I think a big part of the problem is the absolute authority a captain has over his or her aircraft, even when it’s on the ground. As far as I am aware, a bus or train operator in the US does not have the authority to remove a person from the vehicle, even if it causes delay; why does a ship or airplane have this authority?

Matthew
Guest

Uh, a ship’s captain does…and has since people first taking to the water.

Oliver
Guest

If I trust certain pirate movies, they also had the authority to have people caned etc. Times and rules change.

That said, the pilot of an about to depart international flight probably has better things to do than trying to figure out who is right in a dispute between his FA and a pax. FA says pax is disruptive, and that’s going to be it. No time to play Judge Judy.

Sean S.
Guest

Actually most transit authorities have police for this reason. Try arguing with a conductor on the NYC subway and see how far you get! Bus drivers can also often ask for assistance from local police, and I have been on busses before where the bus driver has stopped, order the pax off, and if they don’t do so, law enforcement is called.

Nick Barnard
Member

I’m quite sure that public transit bus operators have the right to remove someone from their bus, I’ve seen it happen. I’m not sure if that is via local policy or other law.

That being said private operators always have the right to ask you to leave, they own the vehicle. They might of course have to let you off somewhere safely.

MeanMeosh
Guest

Don’t know the specifics of how this applies to every transit system, but as Nick said, public transit drivers (bus or train) usually do have the authority to kick unruly riders off. I too have seen it occur. Dallas Area Rapid Transit actually has a “Code of Conduct” where it pretty clearly indicates that those engaging in disruptive behavior are subject to removal and/or referral to the cops.

Ron
Guest

Yes, this is exactly what I was talking about. A bus or train operator can ask a person to leave, but when law enforcement are called they may exercise their own judgment. The operator does not have the authority to remove a person from their vehicle just because they “don’t feel comfortable” with that passenger onboard.

Jason Steele
Guest
I think the underlying issue is that it was simply too easy for the FA to lie for whatever reason, and the captain to back her up. Perhaps the airline, or even the FAA,DHS, or whoever should require a page or two of paperwork to be filled out before departure when crew actually believes a pax to be a threat. Think about it, how many times have we read about connecting passengers being denied boarding of a plane sitting at the gate because the crew would have re-do their paperwork if they board? If a person is enough of a… Read more »
Oliver
Guest

I’d the pax had had checked bags, it might very well have delayed the departure due to the need to remove the bags from the containers.

Oliver
Guest

I’d -> If … Sorry, really need to pay attention to iPad word changer feature.

Jason Steele
Guest

Good point about the bags, but I also like the idea below about having to get statements from neighboring passengers for the paperwork.

Oliver
Guest

Jason… Agreed. Should be in the airline’s and crew member’s best interest when it comes to later defending their actions in a court (of public opinion).

Bill from DC
Guest

The exchange of cards should have been from other px’s to this guy and vice versa so they could corroborate his story after the fact!

David SF eastbay
Member
Jason Steele: Good point on the paper work which would have to include statements from passengers in the area if they heard/saw what the flight crew is saying. But with paperwork and signed statements, that would lead to the airline and crew members finding themselves in court being sued by all the innocent people they remove from planes and the airlines wouldn’t want that. I’ll have to ask the manager at the grocery store I go to if they can throw people out of the store for taking a photo, talking on the phone, having a crying child, being grumpy,… Read more »
Oliver
Guest

David, the difference, though, is that if the gape chewing offender escalates the situation three aisles over and starts opening cereal boxes, the store manager can call the police. On an airplane a later escalation would force a diversion or worse.

By the way, who has been thrown off a plane for having a crying child?

Robert Wagner
Guest

If the story is believed as written – that flight attendant should be looking for a new job. We don’t know what the FA specifically said to the captain to precipitate the removal however I do think captain (with his direct unequivocating tone) was correct in his action. Flyers bloviate about their status and how important they are all of the time and are just as often drunk. The captain should always take the word of his crew over that of a passenger.

BOSflyer
Guest

I can’t believe some of the comments. Since when is it ok to kick people of a plane for asking a question? He obviously did not threaten the FA in any way, and I do think this is a case of simple paranoia – the FA should be taken out of service!

David SF eastbay
Member
First at 735am in California there is already 17 comments on this blog. That never happens at this time of (my) morning so this should be a good and interesting blog today. None of us knows what happen since we were not there and someone writing a blog could lean a story in their direction to make them look innocent. I can’t see the big deal of taking a photo inside of an airplane, but can understand not wanting someone to just go around taking photos of each passenger. We are all captured in photos many times a day when… Read more »
Bill from DC
Guest
i read the article and most of the comments and several things stand out to me… first – blame UA’s absurd policy a little bit (15%) – their photography policy is 100% gibberish, frequently contradictory and generally nonsensical. i completely agree with this recent comment copied from that thread: “One line states ‘the use of…cameras…is permitted only for recording of personal events’ (huh??) but then goes on to say ‘any photography…is strictly prohibited’. So which one is it? Considering the clause ‘except to the extent specifically permitted by United Airlines’, I can see why the author might have gone back… Read more »
Bill from DC
Guest

in summary – let’s face it, in spite of the 15% blame i assign to the author, we’ve all been in situations where we’ve said something out of frustration that we later regret. should it have gotten him thrown off the plane? of course not. in this scenario, common sense and good judgement were quickly exchanged for hysteria and overreaction. the FA is an incompetent liar and should be terminated. and i would never fly this airline again, except to use all of those miles.

Oliver
Guest

Bill, but since it didn’t happen to you, are you still flying UA? ;)

Bill from DC
Guest

sure… it didn’t happen to me! if i took everybody’s legitimate offenses as my own, i doubt i would be able to leave the house. and even then, there’d probably be trouble!

Danie
Member
” am not even going to address the stupidity of having so-called ?magic? words that cannot ever be said on a plane, even if they are immediately preceded by a negative.” This is really the point. What about saying something like “Did you see that Bill Clinton photobombed Kelly Clarkson?” We all need to develop a little common sense, people. And rather than say “He shouldn’t have said the word terrorist, people really should call BS. Saying all that, from this and other posts, the person this happened to appears to be a bit of a diva. So what? Not… Read more »
Bill from DC
Guest

exactly right on all counts.

SubwayNut
Guest
I have a hobby photographing subway and rail stations (see my website) and also generally take pictures when I fly. Overall its quite rare that I’ve been yelled at for taking pictures, generally by low-level (ticket agent type employees or rent-a-cop security guards) simply (and being unfamiliar with their agencies photography policies, only a few systems do prohibit and require a permit) saying “You Can’t Take Pictures”. I have had about five incidents with the police, all of which resulted in them simply talking to me to figure out my intensions. I guess I can say I’ve been delayed once… Read more »
Bill from DC
Guest

the specious link between photography and security is starting to bother me.

if there are things associated with airports, train stations and bridges that are so critical to our protection that photos of them in the wrong hands could be problematic, these things SHOULDN’T BE VISIBLE IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!

Ben G
Guest
Many plane spotters (myself included) have argued for years that we are a security asset, not a risk. We tend to know what we are looking at and can tell if something is out of place. We also tend to strike up a conversation with those around us (aviation is a social hobby, not just for the pilots) so we should be able to tell if someone seems out of place. However, there are those in the general public that don’t understand our hobby and will call the police on us. I have no problem presenting my ID and having… Read more »
Ben G
Guest

Also, after an event at EWR last fall, I took a round trip ride on the AirTrain. At both ends I was questioned by the redcoats who couldn’t seem to understand why somebody was riding to the end, getting off and then right back on. At the second end, I actually made a restroom stop and was approached after I exited as to why I was getting back on. They are very vigilant there.

Ben G
Guest
As I remember it, photography on PATH is prohibited. As for the PANYNJ Airports, there is no specific rule stating that photography is or is not allowed, other than at the security checkpoints where it is prohibited. There is a common misconception among Airport employees and contractors that it is “illegal” (its not written this way) or “against FAA rules” (the FAA specifically has stated that they have no problem with photography and that they couldn’t stop it even if they wanted to). Hopefully the work of others will soon be bringing clarification to the PANYNJ policies so that there… Read more »
M P
Guest
I would tend to agree with Matthew, as I have had mixed experiences with United(post-merger), and I tend to find United Flight Crews(originally United) to be incredibly powercentric and generally rude(curt) to all passengers, including premium passengers. I would not place blame on Newark, as prior to the merger, I found continental flight crews to be quite nice, talkative and they definitely allowed photography, and being a frequent flier on UA88/89(EWR-PEK) I have taken photos of both BFirst and economy seats without reprimand both pre and post merger. Personally, I believe United needs to take action regarding the particular FA,… Read more »
Ben G
Guest

Just to clarify, I wasn’t placing the blame on Newark, more noting the general anti-photography attitude in that geographic area. I don’t believe that the attitude by airport employees and surrounding businesses and individuals played any role in this incident.

Bill Hough
Guest

I hope this story goes viral like that “United breaks guitars” thing a while ago. UA deserves all the bad publicity for allowing something like this to happen. It’s an outrage that the FA got a bug up her ass about taking a harmless photo on a plane. Unfortunately the use of the t-word probably ruined the situation, but the FA’s initial behaviour was out of line. And simply saying that you’re NOT a terrorist should not trigger a negative response since that is not like making a false threat.

Shane
Guest
Is it true that business/first cabins on international flights have the more senior flight attendants? If so, they should also be the best trained for conflict resolution since they are dealing with non-US nationals who have language and cultural differences and barriers. I find the apparent lack of resolution skills of the FA to be a bit disturbing. One thing that I kind of disagree with in Matthew’s blog post is that it should not matter if he was in BusinessFirst or a 1K or (almost) million miler. Those items maybe give some credibility after the fact, but this type… Read more »
MathFox
Guest

What I have seen is that first and business do not have the oldest and most experienced FAs (they know how to arrange tasks so that they have the best jobs), but rookies are not sent in either. It usually is the FAs with a few years of experience that you’ll see there. On narrowbodies business may be served by more experienced FAs (smaller crews.)

cwkauff
Member

This is no doubt a result of TSA policy/regulations, but it does not matter as the ChiComs likely have all the details that anyone could want anyhow.

Steve
Guest

Brett, you are in DEEP trouble for taking all those pictures. You should have a life time sentence by now. Can’t they worry about OTHER things?

It just goes to show… United an a last rate airline. The fact that he pointed out that it was a LEGACY United Crew said EVERYTHING. They were and ARE awful!!

United is the LAST airline that I ever consider in my choices. There is not enough Continental in the United mix.

drybean
Member

Matt should tell his story on Good Morning America, Letterman, and the rest. You could do all pax a service by forcing UA to listen to the outcry such exposure would generate. No photos in the freindly skies!

Ben
Guest

Matthew doesnt’t seem to be having much of a problem getting UA to listen to him. In the follow-up that he posted, he states that UA has been in contact with him and has listened to his side, promised an investigation, and expressed appreciation for his continued business. He stated they did not offer an apology and he does not expect one.

Bill from DC
Guest

I saw that in his subsequent post and don’t understand the apology notion. Why couldn’t they apologize for the inconvenience, without any admisison of guilt or responsibility, regardless of who was “right” and who was “wrong”? I would certainly expect that if I were him.

jim
Guest

maybe you and matthew think you are more imporant than you realllllly are.

brandonclewis
Member
As a professional photojournalist I encounter these problems almost daily. In this case, it seems like the FA overreacted, but he poked the bear by using the word terrorist, which is a red flag word. He also may have thrown himself under the bus by revealing his profession. United’s photography policy is pretty poorly worded for the common man, but as I can tell you can take personal photos anywhere, even on board. That last sentence about it being prohibited ends with except as permitted by United. Going back to the first sentence United allows personal photography so therefore on… Read more »
rerjohnson
Member
I had my first two flights on United for some years yesterday, using Lufthansa miles for a first class trip Boston-Houston-Mexico City. I always take a pocket camera with me on trips, and took pictures of the takeoff out of the window. Later in the flight I found a warning that cameras were among the gadgets that could not be used until 10,000′ had been reached, which I had never heard before. I took a copy of the Hemispheres magazine with me, but I did not read United’s “rules” about photography there until I saw this story. Perhaps the personnel… Read more »
Faisal Ghias
Guest

Huh, I posted a link to this on twitter, and got a comment from United. Didn’t expect that.

jaybru
Member
Would be interesting to know if anyone has put together an informational brief on the do’s and don’ts or the limits on photography for the airline travler, both in the US and when flying to a foreign destination. Both on photography of things in the aircraft and things one sees out the window. I used to think this was simple, coming as I do from a time before the IPhones, the internet, and 9/11. It wasn’t even then, of course. Way back in the late ’60s and early ’70s, then the dawn of the Sky Marshall program and almost daily… Read more »
barry
Member
I am going to point out that rail fans have been fighting this fight against arbitrary rules against photography since 9/11. For a long time a picture could not be made at a train station, or of any train. Photographers would be on a bridge taking pictures of trains as they go by and the police would be called by the train engineers. People were removed from train stations for taking pictures. I am not just talking about big city train stations… we are talking about the ones that are out west in the middle of nowhere. A local “sheriff”… Read more »
SA*AD
Guest
Banning photography is not without precedent, if you’re a secretive or oppressive society extremely touchy about “strategic installations.” Supposedly you can’t take pics at Moscow’s airports but they find their way on to the web just the same. Similarly, few cruise lines publicly offer tours of the engine room anymore, right? The FA overreacted but what is missing is how old/senior she is: Did she personally know any of her peers killed on 9-11? Same plane (763) flying out of one of the same airports (EWR) involved in the attack on the same airline? Maybe a stretch 11.5 years later… Read more »
Samara Citizen
Guest

There is no law in Russia that prevents taking pictures in the open to public areas of Russian airports and train stations. This was recently clarified additionally by the authorities. However, ground personnel is largely unaware of the fact and might think it is illegal and try to stop you. You just have to be polite in pointing that it is legal.

Bill from DC
Guest

actually, UA 93 on 9/11/01 from EWR-SFO was a 757.

yo
Guest

About 15 or so years ago, I was on a FinnAir flight into St. Petersburg, as we landed, the FA announced that we couldn’t take any pictures of the airport. As we were passing dilapidated, rotted out wooden structures and various Soviet surplus decaying everywhere, I had to think…”Sure would be terrible to steal this 1951 technology!”

GKHannon
Member

I’ll bet that wouldn’t have happened on either SQ or CX.

US legacy carriers have no understanding of service, or appreciation for one’s customers, and the moral of this story would seem to be to avoid United at all costs.

What that lying FA, and wimpy captain, did was illogical and inexcusable. And, yes, the word used by Matthew was stupid, but not justification for what happened.

Sempir
Guest

Won’t be long before you are not allowed to say the word “battery” on a 787!

Bill from DC
Guest

LOL!

Laura La
Guest

Having the general public know how many rows are in each area of the cabin is a “problem”?!! Then why can anyone who
knows how to book a flight online look at seat maps for any United flight? How can seatguru.com exist? I’m not buying it, SA*AD.

SA*AD
Guest
Seat maps and seatguru don’t necessarily show where other fixtures or built-in components in the cabin are that might aid or impede hostile activity. Not a single seat map I’ve seen shows where emergency equipment is located or what might be in those storage areas (they differ by airline). Only the exit rows are displayed but not fire extinguishers (heavy enough to use as a weapon) or defibrillator equipment (can use to stun as much as revive someone). On 757s in particular, cabin designs vary, i.e. the coffee station next to the R2 doorway on United that might not be… Read more »
Bill from DC
Guest

regardless of photography, any of these things you mentioned above can be easily ascertained in person with the purchase of a $300 ticket. the airlines’ own websites offer plenty of pretty pictures of their business and first class pods for marketing purposes so i’m not buying that as a security risk either.

SA*AD
Guest
When you go house hunting do you remember every detail, every configuration, every feature, exactly where it is, its orientation, what’s nearby and how convenient it is to access or use? Can you remember every kitchen layout for example? I doubt it. You need pictures. The only difference is that buying a house is usually not a threat to public safety. Same thing with a car. Pics are nice but gotta sit in the thing at least, drive it even better, to get a true feel for comfort, convenience, handling and yes, getting in and out of the beast (F-150… Read more »
rerjohnson
Member

Can anyone show a single example where photography of, near, or inside a plane was used to assist in the sabotage of a commercial flight?
Was there any such evidence, for example, in relation to the 9/11 attacks?

Richard
Guest
After September 11 many computers seized from Al Queda operatives had photos of the interiors of aircraft, not just United, but airlines world wide. These photos, it is believed, were used to stage the attacks on September 11, and possibly future attacks. So taking pictures of the interior of aircraft is considered to be a security issue. However this whole situation could have been easily avoided if the gentleman had introduced himself first to the flight crew, explained he was a travel writer, and asked permission to take a picture of the seat and other amenities. I bet the permission… Read more »
Nick Barnard
Member

Perhaps we shouldn’t allow seatmaps to be posted online either? Then you could figure out which seats are easiest to access the cockpit from.

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