Garuda Indonesia has withdrawn a proposal to stop passengers from taking photos inside cabins after the airline came under fire for its plan which was introduced after a travel blogger posted videos and images showing handwritten menus he was given on his business class flight to Sydney, Reuters reports.
The Indonesian carrier issued a directive instructing cabin crew to stop passengers from taking photos and video mid-air. This letter was circulated internally but was leaked on social media and caused an uproar. The internal memo, dated July 16 and written in Indonesian, can be viewed here.
The Guardian said the carrier’s plan was sent to staff a week after a travel blogger posted photos and videos criticising a Garuda Indonesia flight. Rius Vernandes, who has more than 100,000 social media followers, posted a video on Youtube on July 14 showing handwritten food menus on his business class flight with the airline. According to Bloomberg, the blogger also mentioned that the plane ran out of champagne and white wine during the flight.
Garuda’s corporate secretary Ikhsan Rosan told Bloomberg that the memo was not a response to Vernandes’ blog posts, but “it’s aimed at ensuring passenger comfort and privacy, and making sure the airline complies with laws governing aviation and electronic information”.
Rosan added that passengers are still allowed to take pictures such as selfies for personal reasons, as long as they do not disturb or cause inconvenience to others.
Business Traveller Asia-Pacific has contacted Garuda for comment.
The Guardian said the travel blogger and his girlfriend were reported to the police after posting about the airline and could face charges under Indonesia’s strict electronic transactions law. The blogger posted a photo on Instagram two days ago which shows two brown envelopes from the police calling him for questioning.
The caption reads: “I hope you can help share and support me through this problem because I don’t want to see that, in the future, whenever we review something as is, whenever we give constructive criticism, we can be criminalised.”
The head of Garuda’s labour union, Tomy Tampatty, told Indonesian magazine Tempo that airline employees had filed a police report accusing the bloggers of creating a “negative perception among people in regards of Garuda Indonesia’s services as the country’s national flag carrier”.
However, Garuda’s Rosan told Reuters that the company itself had not filed a report, only “union employees”.
The newswire added that Jakarta’s Soekarno Hatta airport chief, Victor Togi Tambunan, said Vernandes and his fiancée had been reported to police over claims they had broken Indonesia’s broad internet defamation laws though they had not been made suspects”.
Airline policies on whether passengers can take photos and record videos inflight vary.
For example, United Airlines’ policy on photographs notes that “the use of small cameras or mobile devices for photography and video is permitted on board, provided you limit the purpose of your photography and video to capturing personal events”. However, the airlines specifies that any photography or recording that “creates a safety or security risk or that interferes with crew members’ duties is prohibited”.
In February, Macau’s civil aviation authority banned selfie sticks on flights.