Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has allegedly ordered cabin crew to stop posting photos of its planes on social media, alleging that doing so is risking the international reputation of the State-owned carrier. The memo apparently followed several viral photos that cabin crew had taken of PIA’s “dysfunctional” aircraft.
“The pictures harm the reputation of the company internationally,” warned the airline’s chief pilot in an internal memo that was leaked to Pakistani media. “Karachi’s officers should be careful regarding posting any picture on social media again,” the chief pilot cautioned.
The latest notice follows an incident in September when PIA suspended three members of cabin crew and then barred them indefinitely from operating covetable international routes because they had recorded a video of themselves on duty.
The short video, which was shared on the popular TikTok platform, showed the flight attendants sitting in passenger seats, laughing and joking with one another during a turnaround.
While seemingly innocent, PIA management took a much more dim view of the viral video and issued disciplinary proceedings against the three.
PIA isn’t the only airline to have an incredibly strict approach to cabin crew posting photos and videos of themselves while in uniform on social media. Cabin crew at Qatar Airways were once completely banned from posting any photos while in uniform on popular platforms like Facebook or Instagram.
The Doha-based airline eventually eased the restrictions but cabin crew have to make a choice – they can choose to share photos of themselves in the airline’s uniform only if all other photos are “appropriate”. A bikini photo could get a flight attendant sacked so many choose not to post any photos until they leave the company.
A couple of years ago, Qatar Airways distanced itself from a series of inappropriate photos of its cabin crew. One showed a male and female flight attendant lightly touching lips behind the backs of passengers, while another featured a female flight attendant in a raunchy pose on a jumpseat.
صورة/ مضيف الخطوط القطرية ممسكاً بعبايات تركنها راكبات بعد الوصول لوجهتهن لإحدى الدول الدول الأوروبية ! pic.twitter.com/7rEA7rVdLT
— المجلس (@Almajlliss) September 4, 2016
Qatar Airways said the photos were old and it had already “terminated” the employment of the flight attendants who featured in the photos, warning that it took such incidents “extremely seriously”.
In 2016, the airline also sacked a male flight attendant for a photo in which he was seen holding up to black abayas that had been abandoned by their owners on a flight. Qatar Airways said the photo had caused cultural offence.
In January, PIA courted controversy when it ordered cabin crew to lose weight or be removed from operating international flights. The airline told flight attendants to lose as much as 5lbs every month until they reached the “desired weight. Overweight cabin crew had until July to achieve the new strict weight requirements.