Photographing from inside commercial aircraft

Discussion in 'Travel' started by adrian_stone|1, Jun 17, 2004.

  1. I was recently told to refrain from taking pictures of clouds on a
    commercial AIR TAP Portuguese)flight from Porto, Portugal to
    Heathrow, London. We were at 35,000 feet and in clouds. I was told
    that taking photographs in flight is forbidden under the new
    security controls on commercial flights. Does anyone know if such a
    ruling exists? Does it apply to all commercial flights?

    Adrian Stone
  2. Al Queda and Georgie Bush may have plans to use clouds as weapons! Remember, your heard it here first!
  3. j_a


    I don't know about whether its against the law or not (The Patriot Act pretty much made anything illegal that any authority wants illiegal), but you are on private property when you fly on an airlines airplane. They have the right to demand no cameras or any other device they deem fit. Your recourse is to either not use thier airline again, write a letter to the airlines customer service center discribing the incedent and requesting clarification, or don't bring out your camera.
  4. Asiana says in listing permitted equipment for use in the cabin in flight: "Camera equipment, including movie cameras and lights, video cameras, and flash bulbs, digital camera are allowed, but only when the No Smoking sign is off. "

    So there's no international ban. Airlines get to make their own rules. Individual flight attendants also have thet privilege, really, since passeners are required (at least under U.S. regulations) to do what the flight crew says.

    Be well,
  5. j_a


    I should have made more clear, the above this aplies to Aircraft owned by American Companies and over United States soil. Laws may vary from nation to nation. But I doubt it.
  6. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    How many flight attendants are on the plane? How much time will they spend at your seat? Just shoot....
    Aerolitoral, Copyright 2002 Jeff Spirer
  7. jpb


    Sometimes you have to take chances... flyby of Greenland en route from Amsterdam to New York... just after the new security measures were implemented. My friend woke me up to show me this, and I'm grateful for it to this day. jb
  8. On the last flight I was on (May, 2004), passengers were warned that not obeying a flight attendent would result in arrest when the plane arrived at its destination.

  9. I just flew on Lufthansa across Germany and took a few pics of the landscape below. Attendants served me as usual; no restraint on photos there.

    Will fly TAP later next month and shall let you know (a) if anything worth photographing came under our wings, and if so, whether (b) I was hassled by TAP attendents.
  10. The only time I was told to not take photos from commercial aircraft was while we were on the ground at Bombay, Bangkok, and at a field on the east coast of Taiwan that was shared by their military. I remember that during WWII there were times and places where the window shades had to be drawn during portions of the flight. (One of these places was at Niagara Falls.)
  11. Same goes for my "local" (~60 km) airport. It's part civilian airport and part Swedish Air Force base.
  12. Ah, Aerolittoral. Good to see they still exist. I flew into Algeria with them in 1993 for an eight month stay.

    Taking photos in the plane is up to the company not the TSA (no jurisdiction) in or over Portugal, London, or in between.
  13. i bet all that rust in the aerolitoral engine seams was reassuring.
  14. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    Stephen, different airline. This is in Mexico, it's a local (small) airline.

    Rust doesn't bother me. Just get on the plane and go. If it had been on fire, I would probably have had some concern.
  15. Just sit down and enjoy the fight! I do not want people taking pictures on planes and messing with electronic devices. It makes me and most of the other passengers nervous. All of these people complaining about not being able to shoot in subways or on planes need to figure it out. Are you allowed to shoot pictures or take video in a movie theatre while it is playing? NO! Are you allowed to walk into a bank and shoot pictures of things behind the counter? NO! Some places are not meant to be photographed. You might think you have the right to do it but it makes most of nervous. I am sure you people who disagree will never get that fact but it is what it is. I do not want some guy/girl digging through their camera bag at 40,000 feet and messing with electronics. I am nervous enough up there. Just sit back and relax. You do not need to take pictures up there. If you do, rent a plane or go on a tour that is meant for picture taking in the air. Don't mess with my flight. Just sit back, watch your movie and eat your lousy meal. You wil be on the ground in no time.
  16. mike dixon

    mike dixon Moderator

    Funny, Tom, no one has ever looked the least bit nervous about me using my laptop or listening to my CD player during a flight (not during takeoff or landing). Sure you're not just making up stuff about how most people feel?
    As an aside, my travel cameras are completely mechanical. The only hazard they might present to the plane's operation is if I managed to bash out one of the plane's windows.
  17. Mike, "most people" would prefer you just sit on the plane and keep quiet. And yes, using your laptop and cd player would bug me also. Just sit there and eat your peanuts. If you want to listen to music, use the ailine headphones and listen to the radio. They have 9 stations and that should plenty for someone even if they are as picky as you. You don't need flight time to take your little photos of the wing
  18. mike dixon

    mike dixon Moderator

    I am just sitting there keeping quiet. Unless I'm talking to
    whoever's seated next to me. Do "most people" think it's wrong
    for me to do that, too?
  19. You can talk to me if you are sitting next to me. Maybe we could talk about or opinion differences. Just keep your camera bag neatly stowed in the compartment above your head (your laptop also).
  20. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    Are you in charge of the airlines? A flight attendant or air marshall? If not, why would anyone have any interest in what you think they should be doing? I sure don't.
  21. your post makes no sense. People are talking about airlines not allowing you to take pictures during the flight. Their rules, not mine! I am saying I agree with them. And obviously someone out there fels the same way I do or they would not have made it a rule! I really don't care if you agree with me Jeff. Its just a good thing you are not running our airlines.
  22. First, an airline is a private business, and the airplane is privately owned. Therefore, they
    are perfectly within their rights to set whatever rules (within reason) they wish.
    Furthermore, the requests of flight crew have the strong backing of the law when in the
    air. So if they say you can't take photos, then you would be well advised to put your
    camera away. On the other hand, there is no specific "law" or FAA regulation stating that
    photographing out a plane window is illegal.

    Having said that, I'm guessing that your sad experience was probably the result of an
    overzealous flight attendant. Not unlike overzealous private security guards that try to
    forbid photography of bridges and anything else that makes their overactive minds
    paranoid. Nervous nellies like Tom notwithstanding, taking a photo while in flight will not
    cause the plane to magically fall out of the sky. People have been snapping photos out of
    airplane windows for 70 years. And there is certainly nothing you could photograph out of
    a commercial aircraft window at 35,000 feet with a consumer camera that could possibly
    be considered a security risk. This is quite silly.
  23. the "most people" i know of use their cd players, work on their laptops, play on the gameboys, etc, while consuming those lousy peanuts. and photographers they're not, but they also love to take snaps through the window. *honestly*, i don't understand exactly what part of any of this can "bug" anyone? stupid rules like this only feeds to the fear of the timid and the paranoia of the ignorant.
  24. Sorry, its not rust, just oil and fumes from the engine...
  25. "...under the new security controls on commercial flights"

    Al-Queda are likely planning a coordinated Stinger missle attack on Westen commercial flights, or something of that sort for their next show.

    This Airline security B.S. with bothering Joe Clueless Shutterbug is little more than displacement activity until the next elephant turd hits the fan.
  26. Thanks for all your responses, I think I've triggered off some real debate here. Personally I accept that each airline has a right to set and enforce rules of their own, and indeed make a ruling on an individual flight when they want to. I have no desire to challenge the stances taken by the cabin staff, frankly I think the've got enough to put up with on most flights. But it has been very useful for me to establish that no-one is aware of an all-encompassing ban throughout the industry. I'm flying to Denver tomorrow and who knows, I might get bored......

    Thanks again.
  27. Jeff, Now I remember, it was Air Littoral (sp?). The Littoral referring to coastal Med. Marseilles, France to Constantine, Algeria.
  28. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    I have no desire to challenge the stances taken by the cabin staff
    Nobody suggested this. However, in the absence of any explicit instructions not to photograph, there should be no problem photographing.
  29. I feel curious about Tom. He seems to be so afraid of airflight. I feel sorry for his condition. May we others all enjoy life to a fuller extent up in the air, talking, thinking, and seeing (or picturing) planet earth as we cirle it.

    Oh, poor Tom, what has befallen you? May you get over this anxiety or decide to just stay aground. I for one will no longer go on "fun rides" at the fair, not worth my discomfort.
  30. Photography aboard aircraft might be barred under Portuguese law, someone would have to look it up.

    In most countries it is permitted, though cabincrew can tell you to turn off your camera while other electronic equipment is also to be turned off like during takeoff and landing.

    Photography of military operations at airports and while overflying military installations can be considered espionage under the law of the country you are in or over at the time.
    Remember that in some countries airports are considered military installations!
    Also remember that some airlines are run by the military of that country, making their aircraft military aircraft and their staff military personel.
    If that country also made the photography of military equipment and staff illegal you'd therefore in that country not be allowed to photograph in that airline's aircraft.
    This is AFAIK not the case in Portugal.

    To all the people who drag the US into it, as usual you make no sense at all and are just trying to turn everything into a propaganda match for John "Osama bin Ho" Kerry.
  31. Just for an additional data point, I have flown many times in commercial flights (LAN, Pluna and others) over the Andes (Montevideo-Santiago) and of course I have shot hundreds of frames - never had any indication from the flight crew. I used a Pentax K which is purely mechanical but also a small digital. I did not carry a camera bag, just the camera and a 35-70 cheap zoom in a plain old neverready case.

    If a flight attendant had told me I could not do it, of course I would just obey.

    Adrian, sad thing, but on the other hand I would rather have an overzealous crew than the opposite.
  32. I too was told that digital photography was forbidden during takeoff & landing on a qantas flight out of ayers rock and into perth in april 07 - very irritating as i particularly wanted an arial photo of Uluru. I cannot see that digital photography produces anything that would interfere with the operation of an aeroplane (if so then terrorists could have a field day) what about pacemakers, wristwatches and hearing aids - all of which give out more signal than a digital camera. I shall look for other airlines in future - but that's difficult as qantas have a monopoly on the routes through ayres rock.

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