Australian flag carrier Qantas has banned passengers from taking photos or videoing flight attendants and their seatmates, as well as other staffers and contractors, in a recent update to the airline’s terms and conditions.
As reported by Australian Frequent Flyer, Qantas updated its conditions or carriage earlier this month, superficially Section 12, which covers ‘Conduct During Flight’. Passengers must agree to the conditions of carriage in order to fly on a Qantas plane.
“To maximise Passenger comfort, safety and security, you must comply with the following requirements, and all other reasonable directions of any crew member on your flight with us, when on board,” the updated section reads.
It then lists 15 directions that passengers must obey, which include complying with any reasonable direction from a member of cabin crew, keeping their seatbelt fastened when seated (not just when the seatbelt sign is on) and not smoking or vaping onboard.
The directions also state that passengers must relinquish control of their passport or other travel document for ‘safe custody’ by a member of cabin crew acting reasonably and to take care when opening overhead lockers to prevent something from falling out and injuring someone.
In addition, the directions now include the following line: “Seek consent before filming or photographing Qantas Group staff, contractors or other customers”.
The effect of the new rule will help protect the privacy of crew members and other passengers but it could also be used to stop passengers from capturing potentially ‘viral’ incidents such as a disruptive passenger.
Some airlines have similar rules, although implementation can vary greatly. Normally, a ban on photographing crew members and other passengers is a result of country-specific privacy laws.
For example, airlines operating in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) ban onboard photography that could capture a passenger or crew member because of local privacy laws. The same kind of privacy rules apply to German airlines, including Lufthansa.
Australian travel blog 2PAXfly notes that Qantas appears to be the only Australian airline to have specifically banned onboard photography without consent, although airlines generally have a catch-all requirement to comply with crew members instructions, which could include ordering passengers not to film crew members or passengers.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.