A JFK-LAX American Airlines flight made an unscheduled stop in Kansas City on Friday after a woman refused to stop…singing Whitney Houston songs.
AA quickly issued a statement stating, “The woman was being disruptive and was removed from the plane for interfering with the flight crew…There was a federal air marshal on the aircraft, who subdued the woman and put her in cuffs and removed her from the plane.” Yet after being dragged off the aircraft singing “I will always love you,” she was quickly released without charge.
So I guess that means her “interference” with the flight crew was not all that serious, though no doubt annoying. There was even a video taken.
Frankly, this story is not all that interesting to me (I think back to my own flight diversion to Omaha in 2009). But what does interest me, in light of my own struggle to clarify United Airlines’ onboard photo policy, was a comment by an AA FA captured in the video at 00:59.
“No photos are allowed to be taken on the aircraft!”
Actually, AA does not appear to have an onboard photo policy: at least I could not find it. Maybe it’s hidden in American Way and not published online, like UA…
Whatever the case, I cannot go along with rogue FAs making up rules anymore. I respected the FAs wishes on my Istanbul flight and refrained from taking any more pictures after being told to stop, but that should not have been necessary–UA’s photo policy does not prohibit taking pictures of seats. And if AA doesn’t have a policy at all, then taking a picture of an unruly passenger when the aircraft is on the ground and door open cannot possibly interfere with any crew member duties or put the safety of others at risk. If the issue is privacy, which is what photo prohibitions should be aimed at protecting, I believe a person abdicates her reasonable expectation of privacy when she disrupt a plane to the extent that it must divert.
I was flying down from San Francisco to Burbank last Friday and a Skywest FA barked at the passenger across the aisle from me to take his coat off the seat-back hook, stating it was not allowed there. The passenger balked and the FA claimed it was a “new” FAA regulation and walked away.
What do you in this case? Take your coat off the hook if you want to mollify the FA, but why should the FA be mollified when she is lying out of her teeth and making up rules that do not exist, as if the coat hook is simply there for decoration?
There’s no easy answer to the question of when to push back and when to quietly submit. Often, it is just not worth it to argue back. But if I ever get an FA like the one who lied about me again, I will not try to reason with her nor try to argue. I will state that onboard photography is permitted for personal events and if she has a problem with it, she should complain to her management.
Is that a sure fire way to get thrown off a flight, this time with no sympathy, or a reasonable attempt to stand the line against those who make up rules to suit their ends?