This trip has morphed into an unenviable close.
If I cannot take pictures onboard a flight, my review will be incomplete and much less worthy of your time. Thus, my very sustenance depends upon onboard photography. Sadly, I was warned by two flight crews in the last 48 hours to put my camera away.
Instance #1 – Biman Bangladesh Airlines
I flew Biman over Korean Air because I could not find another Biman business class review online. The carrier offers cheap business class fares and therefore I thought it would be more helpful to more readers (though maybe not to my average reader) to review Biman.
But that review depends upon pictures. As usual, I positioned myself to be the fist to board and upon boarding began to snap pictures of the business class cabin (with my iPhone). I had my Canon DSLR with me, but realize that may be alarming and rarely use it when boarding a flight. Sadly, even the iPhone was alarming and a male FA came up to me and told me onboard photography was prohibited.
Without pictures, this would be a worthless review, but I stopped taking pictures of the cabin: I had already taken several.
During the flight I discreetly took pictures of the meal service, but decided to approach the purser (a different man) toward the end of the flight. I try not to pull the blogger card because I want my experience to resemble what you would receive. Instead, I told the purser that I run a travel agency called Award Expert (true statement) and am flying Biman and taking pictures so my clients have an idea what to expect.
His face lit up and he suggested that I take a picture of the crew and “plaster it over every billboard in London.” He ordered the three other crew members working business class to assemble in the galley and all posed for a photograph:
He welcomed me to take pictures for the remainder of the flight.
Instance #2 – Iberia
The next day (yesterday) I flew Iberia from Madrid to Los Angeles. Perhaps it was a blessing in disguise, but we used a remote gate to reach our A330-200 and I guessed wrong about which side of the bus would open. Dozens of guests streamed out in front of me and up the air stairs onto the aircraft.
By the time I reached the business class cabin it was already more than half full. I respect the privacy of other passengers and many of my pictures would have captured the faces of others, so I did not take any.
Throughout the flight I took pictures of the meals, menus, IFE, and seat controls. But the cabin is so tight that I did not take a picture of the seat itself until after we landed in Los Angeles.
Upon landing, I waited for the other business class passengers to exit then began taking pictures of the cabin. But moments later, a FA came up to me and told me to stop immediately.
She claimed that I was not allowed to take pictures without written permission from Iberia. She then demanded to know who gave me permission to take pictures. Furthermore, she added–
“It is illegal to take pictures on the ground of an airport in the United States”
Then I knew she was full of it.
I asked if she would like to know why I was taking pictures and she replied, “I really don’t care. You cannot take any.” I told her that there were no crewmembers or passengers in my pictures. She didn’t care.
I approached the purser and she backed up her FA. The previous evening I had flown an Iberia A340 from London to Madrid with the same seats and captured many great shots/angles (without issue). Seeing no point in creating a scene, I left the aircraft. Both (who had been very friendly during the flight) hung their heads down and said nothing to me as I departed.
Maybe the FA was just in a rush to get out. As I waited on the curb for my ride home I noticed she was inhaling cigarettes. 11.5 hours is a long flight…
I get that people don’t understand why we (airline bloggers) take pictures on airplanes. I just wish Iberia had handled the situation like Biman did. Unless they are trying to cover up an inferior product, airlines should be very thrilled to get the publicity that comes with a trip report. I’ll soon publish reviews of both the Biman and Iberia experiences and note that I enjoyed both flights. In fact, both flights exceeded expectations. But the Iberia experience is marred now by the petty post-flight photo incident.