Garuda Indonesia just sued a video blogger for posting pictures of his business class menu. This it not a joke.
Rius Vernandes is a popular YouTube and Instagram vlogger in Indonesia. Last week, he posted a video of a handwritten menu on his flight from Sydney to Bali with the caption, “The menu is still being printed, sir.” This was part of a “trip report” video that took a fairly critical look at his flight.
Garuda Indonesia went ballistic over the handwritten menu picture, firing off a pair of defensive tweets:
We would like to convey that this wasn’t a menu card for passengers, but a personal note for flight attendants that wasn’t supposed to be published. Thank you.
That doesn’t seem right to me. Instead, it looks like a proactive flight attendant who took some (appreciated) initiative when no menus were boarded. While it is unprofessional not to board menus, gestures like this should be lauded, not condemned.
We don’t know how he could get his hands on it. And if it was the menu card, other passengers should’ve gotten it either but no one shared it [other than him]. The question is where he obtained it from and why he’s sharing it, saying that it’s the menu card.
Oooh, a conspiracy against Garuda Indonesia. The vlogger must be up to no good!
Garuda also issued a memo to cabin crew, translated by One Mile at a Time, implementing an onboard photo and video ban.
Following up on directives from management, all cabin crew are informed as follows:
- Not allowed to document all activities on the plane, whether in the form of photos or videos by cabin crew or passengers.
- Cabin crew must use language that is assertive in conveying the passenger ban for point 1 above except that they have obtained a permit from the company
- The company will sanction if there is a violation of the above provisions
Thus it is conveyed to be known and implemented consistently. Thank you for your attention and cooperation. Enjoy your duty.
This sparked immediate outrage and was partially rescinded. A Garuda spokesperson later added:
Passengers can take photos for personal use such as selfies as long as they do not inconvenience other passengers.
It still doesn’t sound like Garuda wants travel bloggers on their flights…
Garuda Indonesia Sues Vlogger
Yesterday, Rius reported on Instagram:
We’ve been reported for defamation. I’m sure you know I had no intention whatsoever to defame anyone. I hope you can support me because I don’t want anyone to be prosecuted for an honest review and constructive criticism.
Rius received a police summons in connection with his posts. Now police have confirmed that Garuda Indoneisa has filed suit against Rius.
This story has just gone from surreal to downright criminal, and I’m not talking about the charges against Rius.
We live in the age of social media. There is no expectations of privacy onboard an aircraft. More importantly, blogs like mine or vlogs like the one above from Rius are critical in helping consumers make informed choices about where to spend their money or miles. These platforms perform a public service, even if it is a #firstworldproblem public service…
Garuda Indonesia will live to regret this day. In fact, I’m considering a Garuda review next week…no joke. Garuda, you’ve been warned.
And of course we see the Streisand Effect in full force here…Garuda Indonesia has hurt itself far more than it helped itself through this blundered handling of Ruis.
image: YouTube / Rius Vernandes