15 August 2008

JetBlue Detains Passenger Who Shot Video in Plane

Posted by Matt Phillips

Say Cheese.

Travel troubleshooter Christopher Elliot picked up on an interesting item in Northern Arizona’s Kingman Daily Miner last week about an altercation on a flight from New York’s Kennedy to Las Vegas’ McCarran International airport. According to the Daily Miner, chaos ensued after passenger Marilyn Parver started taping a kerfluffle between a man sitting next to a loud child and the kid’s mother:

Parver said she thought the video would be a good example to show her daughter how children’s behavior affects other people.

Parver said she did not leave her seat or even stand up in it.

“I was not interested in who was involved, I just wanted the words being said,” Parver added, “so I did not adjust the exposure and kept everyone in full shadow.”

In the less than two-minute video, an off-screen man can be heard yelling at a woman to control her child and the mother responding also in anger.

“A JetBlue employee settles the dispute very appropriately,” Parver said. “There was no violence or extreme behavior.”

Approximately 30 minutes after the dispute, Parver said she was approached by the flight crew who were asking passengers questions about the altercation. When Parver told them she had recorded the incident, they requested she accompany them to the back of the plane, Parver said.

There she showed the video to three or four crew members, Parver said.

“After viewing the video, they demanded that I delete it,” Parver said. “I asked, ‘Why?’ The head-stewardess went as far as to tell me that I had broken a law by using an electronic item during the flight.”

At that time, another flight attendant accused Parver of wanting to put it up on YouTube, a video-sharing Web site.

According to the report, Parver continued to refuse to delete the footage and the situation escalated. Parver was eventually led off the plane in handcuffs. She never posted the video online, though (Elliot reports) she does plan to go on ABC’s “Good Morning America” and air the tape.

Compared to dramatic chipmunks, animal attacks — and of course, our beloved Andy Rooney — footage of passengers playing elbow hockey over the armrest doesn’t seem like a potential YouTube sensation. But then, there are exceptions: This video of two passengers scuffling on a Hong Kong bus went went wicked viral a couple years back, turning one of the participants into a minor celebrity, known as “Bus Uncle.”

While admitting he’s no lawyer, Elliot writes that he “can’t find any rules that would prohibit a paying passenger from filming the interior of a JetBlue aircraft or of any commercial plane. Parver said she phoned JetBlue later, and that a representative told her she could tape whatever she wanted.”

I know we’ve got some flight attendants out there reading? Is it policy to shout “cut” to would-be cabin cineastes? And if so, why?

Comments left from WSJ Blog

Comment by Always amused - August 14, 2008 at 4:29 pm

The problem is that its very difficult for a passenger to know what are aviation regulations, airline policies, and the whims of the stewardesses. Aviation regulations? Well you can purchase a copy of FAR 121 and have them at your disposal for some of the regulations. The problem is that each airline’s General Operations Manual and Operations Specifications, once agreed upon by the FAA and the airline, become regulatory. And they are airline specific, so whichever FAA office holds the airline’s operating certificate, determines how that airline will comply with its operating certificate. A good example is the mandatory window shades UP for takeoff. That is an FAA requirement by the office that administers that airline’s operating certificate even though you can connect onto another airline which does NOT have that requirement. American may have their operating certificate administered in Ft Worth, but one American Connection carrier has their operating certificate in St. Louis and another in Indy. You can be sure that neither of the latter 2 offices cede any authority to the Ft Worth FAA office. So one American connection carrier will tend to lean towards lessons learned from TWAs operating certificate and one will lean towards an office that administered ATA’s certificate, and neither care what the FAA office from the main brand (American Airlines) wants or thinks. So it can be confusing for passengers as well as airline employees. But there’s no doubt that the stewardesses like to make up new rules as they go along and we are left to comply or get off the plane. Sure, you might be vindicated when you find out that putting your foot in the aisle is NOT, in fact, an faa violation, but then you are still stuck in Tallahassee because you didn’t follow their rules. I think if stewardesses are so power-hungry, the first thing they should do is start calling themselves STEWARDS/STEWARDESSES again (meaning from STEWARDSHIP - being RESPONSIBLE for something) rather than the more mindless term flight attendant. If you just want to “ATTEND” the flight with us and not have any stewardship for it, then shut up and leave the passengers alone. Don’t blame us for the fact you hate the job title that implies responsibility and prefer the one that means you are just along loafing for the ride.

Comment by I hate flying - August 14, 2008 at 4:58 pm

Hey JetBlue,

Better control your flight crews or you gonna get sued over and over again. People still are not over you holding them prisoners on planes for 5 to 8 hours with overflowing toilets. We have not forgotten that and we will not forget this.

Comment by David Snowden - August 14, 2008 at 5:02 pm

I used to fly for one of the “majors carriers” and now travel about 140,000 a year on planes for my current job. As someone who (I think) can appreciate both sides of the equation, I’ve got to comment on how tired I am with having “Security” used as an excuse for just about anything a flight attendant wants to do or say. Complain about a bad meal and your likely to be accused of “threatening a crew member.” Don’t say “please” when asking for a soda and you’re likely to be accused of subversive, terrorist-like behavior. 90% of FAs do an amazing, awesome job, but its just a few key individuals who make up rules to suit their own needs, which sully the reputation of good flight attendants everywhere.

And to the FA who says that taking pics of FAs is illegal because terrorsit might be able “to study and copy” uniforms….so why wear uniforms at all then? Do you think people aren’t going to be able to study FAs walking through the terminal? Sitting in a hotel lobby? Waiting for the bus? I don’t believe for one second that not allowing pics onboard an airplane will prevent or even slightly delay another 9/11 attack if someone is bent on that idea.

Comment by Former FA Tired of Demigod Crews - August 14, 2008 at 5:24 pm

This is silly. Nothing happened to this lady or her video. There’s nothing to complain about. It’s a difference of opinion. Personally, I’ve had someone take photos of me on the airplane before while I was sleeping and commuting in my uniform. It’s just not something very nice to do. Have your kid have a bad day on the plane and someone tape it; I’m sure no one would enjoy that just as I didn’t enjoy being awakened with a camera in my face. Additionally, there are many, many flights where customers consistently break FAA rules (rules that actually exist and are not made up) no matter what is said. I think employees follow the rules for the most part and don’t spend time making up new rules. It’s tough enough to keep up with the current government rules. If everyone would just remember that travelling is supposed to be fun, there wouldn’t be an issue. Get to the airport on time, talk to people politely, and exercise some patience. All factors of travelling cannot be controlled. Cool heads definitely prevail in the terminal and in the air.

Comment by Commercial Pilot - August 14, 2008 at 5:35 pm

Something DID happen to ME. I am barred from Jet Blue and most likely other major airlines…I was put on the NO FLY list and if you read the whole story on Christopher Elliotts blog…it became a living nightmare for me.
I believed I was standing up for my rights. What is there was something important on that video. I should not have been punished for doing something people do everyday.

Comment by marilyn parver - August 14, 2008 at 6:32 pm

Hi! I was a flighta ttendant for 2 years and wow, I am glad I left. First and foremost, passengers may use an electronic device after Sterile Cockpit is over. Capt will alert the cabin crew to make an announcement, that certain electronic devices are approved for use. What I don’t understand is, JetBlue allows pax to watch their tv’s during this critical phase of flight??? So basically if the passenger video-taped the altercation during flight, then she did nothing wrong. I miss flying, but I do not miss the bogus flight attendants who think they were police. I can assure you all, I was one of the few who loved my job, and it showed. I think passengers have had to saccrafice enough. On the final note, anyone correct me if I am wrong, it is a mandated FAA Regulation, that no passenger can use an electronic device while the aircraft is below 12,000 feet. So as long as this lady used her recorder during the regular stage of flight, she was in her rights.

Comment by peanutslinger at yahoo dot com - August 14, 2008 at 6:39 pm

Something DID happen to me. I am being written up to the FAA and was told I may no longer fly on Jet Blue and it will be difficult for me to fly ANY airline. I am a wildlife/travel photographer who travels A LOT!
I was punished for standing up for my rights.
Yes, I am a grandmother too…I was on my way home from seeing my newborn grandchild who had just survived 2 heart surgeries in her first 2 weeks of of life. Kids were on my mind. Traveling with kids was on my mind since the baby will be flying across country soon. The people in the video never asked me to delete it. The flight attendant ,who is in the video, but NOT recognizable was the one pressuring me to delete it OR ELSE!!

Comment by marilyn parver - August 14, 2008 at 8:34 pm

I am not making any judgements here but it has been my experience that every time someone has been escorted off the aircraft in handcuffs the rest of the passengers applauded.

It is against most airlines policy and therefore law (see above post about the FAA) to videotape or photograph crewmembers performing their duties, period. Whether you or I agree with the policy does not matter. BTW I must tell at least 3 people I need to Pee while at work. Sucks,Huh? Follow the rules and we will all get along just fine. If you have a bone to pick take it up with the Gov. not with the PERSON just trying to do their job.

Comment by Pilot Steve - August 14, 2008 at 11:28 pm

First off the FAA makes RULES…not LAWS. Laws are legislated by legislatures. Last I checked the FAA wasn’t elected by anyone.

Second, if the video was in blatant violation of FAA rules why was the tape not erased/confiscated and why were charges not filed against the passenger?

The one good thing about these types of stories is that it brings us closer and closer to have the industry undergo some level of re-regulation. Once that occurs the traveling public will be able to regain some level of control over the airlines they fly instead of the airlines controlling the passenger.

Comment by JohnnyJet - August 14, 2008 at 11:41 pm

Well, No one applauded me!
I called Jet Blue the Monday AFTER my problem and asked if I was allowed to video tape during the flights and was told that I could. I could even tape flight attendants doing their job.
This was BEFORE I sent my letter of complaint.
I really was just sitting, no longer filming, when I was approached by the crew. Everyone around me was asked if they had taken pictures. I honestly answered “Yes”.
I was then “DEMANDED” to delete it…not even “asked” nor was any reason given. This is all about rights to me.

Comment by marilyn parver - August 14, 2008 at 11:48 pm

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