If passengers hadn’t recorded video of Dr. David Dao being dragged off a United flight, and also of his bloody return, do you think United would have ever changed its story from ‘apologizing for having to re-accommodate passengers’ to declaring the events truly horrific?
The widespread use of cell phone video has become important to document events and create proof when bad things happen.
That’s why it concerns me that Michael Nissensohn says he was escorted off a jetBlue flight for taking video of himself on the plane.
The Delray Beach man was flying Friday on a JetBlue flight from Palm Beach International to New York’s La Guardia airport.
During the flight, Nissensohn said the crew chief noticed he was recording video and told him he wasn’t allowed to take video or pictures during the flight.
“He got really nasty about it and said, ‘Hey listen we’re going to confiscate your phone,’” said Nissensohn.
When the flight arrived in Palm Beach he says the rest of the passengers were told to remain seated while he was escorted off the plane and then “Port Authority police held him for one hour while he was questioned.”
Restrictions on film and video are quite common. United says you can capture personal events but not photograph other passengers or crew without their consent, or take photos of airline equipment without United’s prior consent.
A couple of years ago American Airlines took its similar policy and expanded it to cover the gate area.
You can photograph to your heart’s content in public, including of other people. Aircraft belong to the airlines, and they can set conditions for transporting you (within bounds of Department of Transportation regulations). I’d be curious whether there’s as strong a case for a ‘gate area’ restriction since most airports are government owned and some airports don’t lease gates exclusively to a single airline but make them shared news.
Four years ago a BoardingArea blogger was thrown off a United flight for taking pictures.
I think the use of personal recording devices, as long as you’re not harassing another passenger or outraging the modesty of women, has become imperative. And I don’t suggest that ‘the airlines should just record all flights’ (though I’m shocked they don’t) because if an incident occurred you can be confident that the tape would happen not to have worked on that flight, or would get inadvertently erased.