American Airlines frequent flyer reprimanded for taking on-board photos

american airlines frequent flyer

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What’s the scoop about the American Airlines frequent flyer?

A frequent flyer was recently reprimanded for taking photographs on-board an American Airlines business class flight. Zach Honig was documenting his journey, which he has done countless times in the past as part of his work with frequent flyer blog The Points Guy, and, as usual, took photos of the cabin, seat, meal and the in-flight entertainment equipment.

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american airlines frequent flyer

Picture courtesy of Zach Honig

Prior to boarding, the gate agent had allowed Honig to photograph the empty business class cabin and Honig had also asked the PR team in advance for permission to take photos in-flight. Once boarding commenced, he continued to take pictures. In-flight, Honig noticed that the purser was accusing his girlfriend of taking photos and telling her it was forbidden. Honig then himself spoke to the purser and, after being reprimanded in a strict tone, the employee spoke to the captain and everything seemed much calmer.

What’s the official policy on taking photos on-board flights?

As the Washington Post recently explained, the rules aren’t clear-cut and each airline may have a different take. Most airlines will be pushed to say that their policies allow cameras to be used on-board for ‘personal events’, but that taking photos of the crew, other passengers or even the aircraft itself is off-limits.

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While AA ins’t clear about any official policy and doesn’t publish guidelines for travelers to follow, in 2014 the airline updated its internal policies to give employees the authority to stop passengers from taking photographs at the airport and on-board its flights. An American Airlines spokeswoman says this is in place to protect both staff and passengers.

Tell me a little more about the American Airlines frequent flyer in question…

Zach Honig is Editor-in-Chief for The Points Guy, and he was taking photos on-board a 777-300ER business class fight to London as part of his work – to review the flight and, ultimately, the airline itself. It was Honig’s first American Airline flight in years and one which has left him with a poor impression of the airline, although he still wrote favorably about certain aspects of the flight.

american airlines frequent flyer

Picture courtesy of Zach Honig

What’s the airline’s take on the American Airlines frequent flyer story?

There’s no official take from the airline to speak of, but as the purser explained at the time, proof of permission such as a letter of authorization may well be required on an AA flight and even then, it’s still up to the staff on-board or at the airport itself whether to allow you to photograph or not.

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