Let’s start with the bottom line: when airline personnel threaten you with arrest for taking pictures or video, ignore them. It won’t happen.
It has been a cold week in the Northeast and that has led to many weather-related flight delays. One Porter flight from Boston to Toronto was delayed two hours then cancelled because the latch door to the luggage compartment was so frozen it could not be shut.
The PA system at the airport gate was also broken, so passengers were advised to form a single-file line and deal with airport staff one party at a time. As the minutes (and soon hours) ticked by, passengers became irritated at the delay coupled with lack of updates. Many whipped out their phones and began recording the situation.
That’s when a Porter staff member began yelling at passengers to stop recording, delete videos, and empty trash…otherwise they would be arrested.
Many complied, but one did not. You can watch a passenger interview here–
She was not arrested.
A Boston Logan Airport official stated–
No, there is no law or policy that prohibits filming inside Logan Airport, except in secure areas and of security procedures.
Even that is false information.
The TSA website states–
Can I film and take photos at a security checkpoint?
TSA does not prohibit photographing, videotaping or filming at security checkpoints, as long as the screening process is not interfered with or sensitive information is not revealed.
So film away. Just don’t take pictures of the TSA baggage screens.
Porter’s Long-Winded Apology
Porter has somewhat apologized. Brad Cicero, spokesperson for Porter Airlines, told Toronto-based Global News:
In this particular case, there was a misunderstanding by the team member involved that taking video at this particular airport beyond the security checkpoint was not permitted.
In fact, the prohibition applies to secure airport areas and security screening. He didn’t realize the distinction at the time, but we have advised the team members involved for future reference. While the request to stop filming or delete footage was incorrect, the intention was only to try and enforce what was believed to be an airport policy.
Here’s a thought: let the the airport enforce its own policy. Airline staff need not worry about it…
This seems to me much less of a gate agent misunderstanding and much more of a ruse to shield himself from scrutiny over his poor service.
Do note your power to take photos and video is not carte blanche.
Just because airline personnel cannot order your arrest for taking pictures and video does not mean they cannot make your life difficult. I got thrown off a United flight for taking a picture of my seat…an airline can always deny you boarding or escort you off a flight.
But in terms of your legal rights or in terms of the law…snap away. Film away.