None of the legal clauses can abide travelers from taking photos on the plane.
However, there are strict airline regulations against the use of a camera that could interfere with the crew’s performance.
Consequently, you could find yourself standing at the gate instead of your seat as your plane takes off.
As the use of social media flares up, we find people around us taking snaps everywhere. It isn’t any different at the airports.
Passengers should read the airline rules in the flight magazines to avoid consequences.
Can you take pictures on a plane? The airline perspective.
Many airlines have similar policies about the use of cameras during flights. In most cases, these policies are pretty vague.
For example, United declares that passengers cannot take videos of other customers on planes.
Instead, it allows videos of “personal events.” The meaning of this phrase stays undefined.
A United passenger named Mathew Klint, who is a travel blogger, was recently all over the media. He took a single selfie. And still, he was escorted off a Newark to Istanbul flight on the United.
As per the Washington Post, JetBlue and American Airlines have an internal policy that allows them to stop passengers from taking photos or filming at their discretion. The paper states:
“American Airlines doesn’t publish any prohibitions against taking photos of its aircraft. But late last year, it updated its internal policies to allow employees at the airport, including ticket counters, gates, cargo, baggage, and onboard, to stop passengers from taking pictures.”
Lawyer Daniel Greenberg told the Washington Post that this is because airlines consider themselves as a private entity.
As soon as a passenger gets on board, they have stepped into a personal space.
The lawyer further continues that this decision is upon the carrier. People can look for better alternatives if they disagree.
Are pilots allowed to take photos?
In-flight electronic usage rules are pretty strict for pilots.
The European and American regulators mandate that commercial pilots cannot use their personal electronic items. This includes phones, tablets, cameras, and laptops.
However, we find numerous images on social media where pilots are seen flaunting their cockpit amid the air. Some even use GoPro cameras to capture the video of their flight.
British Airways is trailing the “BASmart” program. It is a program that grants a few pilots operational permission to record photos and take videos.
They should take these snaps during non-essential segments of the flight. Plus, they should consider all FAA, CAA, and other aviation guidelines.
Besides this, they must ensure that cameras are mounted and capture times. Clicking photos manually could be a challenging feat.
Other stakeholders’ perspectives
The increasing number of cases about airline crew misconduct has compelled people to raise questions about their photography rules.
Gary Leff, a travel blogger, has criticized the airlines over this issue.
He says that the Transportation Security Administration allows more photography at checkpoints than the airlines allow on the plane.
In this regard, the TSA has allowed photography at checkpoints if people don’t take photos of monitors and screens.
Nonetheless, the experience of travel bloggers wasn’t so friendly. TSA officers interrogate them if they are found taking casual photos with their companions.
Lawyers specializing in the First Amendment say that airlines cannot limit photography or video recording in the airport. But they have more autonomy on the plane and can restrain passengers from using cameras.
Joseph Larsen, a media law attorney in Houston, answers the most asked question – can you take pictures on the plane or not?
Speaking on behalf of the flight, Larsen says that airlines have a right to establish these rules. They have the freedom to let people off the plane if they continue filming.
However, there is no law against taking photos or videos on an airplane.
It is unlikely that someone will face legal jeopardy for taking pictures of a dispute with an airline employee or altercation on a plane.
Larsen further encourages people to go ahead and film if there is a matter of legitimate public interest going on the plane.
What to do if there is a conflict with the crew regarding photography?
Remember, the airline crew won’t have any issues detaining you from disobeying the laws.
They may become irrational and demand to search your phone. And unfortunately, they don’t need a warrant to do so when you are 39 000 feet in the air with no legal aide by your side.
We recommend you give in and delete the pictures.
Also, consider writing to the airline authorities about this incident. Speak to them about the rude behavior of the crew members and clarify your motive for taking pictures.
Can you take pictures from the plane window?
Taking photos from the plane window should be done without flash. Turn off the reading light as it could cause a reflection from the window.
If you don’t have a particular scenic image in mind, take photos early in the flight.
Other Articles In This Series
You might be wondering where else you can take photographs. This series of articles might be of interest:
- Can My Neighbor Take Pictures of My Backyard?
- Can You Take Pictures of Atoms?
- Can You Take Pictures of Books in Library?
- Can You Take Pictures of Celebrities?
- Can You Take Pictures of Checks?
- Can You Take Pictures of Coworkers Without Permission?
- Can You Take Pictures of Military Aircraft?
- Can You Take Pictures of Other Galaxies?
- Can You Take Pictures of Other People’s Houses?
- Can You Take Pictures of People’s Cars?
- Can You Take Pictures of People’s License Plates?
- Can You Take Pictures of Police Cars?
- Can You Take Pictures of the Milky Way with an iPhone?
- Can You Take Pictures of the Mona Lisa?
- Can You Take Pictures of the Pentagon?
- Can You Take Pictures of the White House?
- Can You Take Pictures on a Plane?
- Can You Use a Polaroid at Night?
The issue of using cameras on planes has undergone a long debate.
Although there are no conclusions found, we suggest you avoid taking photos on the plane. Using a camera could cause a nuisance for other passengers and crew members alike.