I just got back from an incredible weekend with friends in Istanbul. Ironically with the ~$400 fares we all took advantage of, I was not too surprised to learn that roughly 30-40% of the people on board the Valentine’s Day United flight from Newark to Istanbul were points and miles enthusiasts as well.
Up in the air, it felt like a DO as fellow passengers made friends with one another and talked miles and points for the entire duration of the flight. What a perfect way to spend Valentine’s Day; love was in the air – literally.
However, before the doors closed, there was a bit of a disagreement between some of the flight attendants and fellow passengers in regards to snapping iPhone photos of their seats on board. When I overheard a flight attendant tell the fellow MilePointer seated in front of me that taking pictures onboard “her” aircraft was “illegal”, I was shocked. Up until then, I hadn’t heard of such a thing.
In fact, over the course of the years, I alone have personally taken dozens upon dozens of photos on airplanes. Heck – I’ve even had some flight attendants volunteer and take a photo for me!
After my new frequent flyer friend seated directly in front of me got a stern “talking to” from the FA, I thought the worse was over. Nope, $h!t was about to hit the fan… We then found ourselves experiencing an unexplained delay at the gate, and within 10 minutes or so, rumors started circulating all over the cabin. “Someone in BusinessFirst just got kicked off the plane”, said a friend seated in BF to me.
When I heard that statement, I sent out a general tweet before the main cabin door closed asking if it was against policy for one to take photos on board an airplane. I got a varying degree of responses – some saying that it was ridiculous of the FA to say it’s illegal, and some stating that yes, there was such a “no-photography” rule in place, but it was rarely seriously enforced. I planned on investigating it some more and blogging about it once I landed and was settled in Istanbul.
I ended up holding off on blogging about the situation because I wanted to make sure I heard the story correctly. Was this person really kicked off? Did they get a few warnings? Was there any verbal resistance involved? There were too many unanswered questions, and I didn’t want to bring any false information to the table.
Well, it looks like the rumors were confirmed. Yes, a BusinessFirst passenger did get kicked off the plane, and yes, he did take a picture. Surprisingly, it just so happens to be a fellow travel writer who decided to come forward with his story today. Matt’s version of what happened to him can be found on his blog, Live and Let’s Fly.
What do you think will come about this situation? Has anything like this happened to you before?
While I can’t say I exactly saw what happened (I was flying in E+), but as far as I remember, there were no loud or hostile comments coming from the front cabin, so I can’t imagine it being a threatening scenario to begin with…
I’d love to hear your thoughts [and United's] about this.