Garuda Indonesia Bans Cabin Photos Following Bad Flight Review

Indonesian national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia has banned passengers from taking photos inside the aircraft, having received a bad review from a YouTube vlogger.

Garuda Indonesia bans photos
Photos banned after vlogger posts a bad review. Photo: Mark Finlay/Flickr

Popular Indonesian travel vlogger Rius Vernandes was traveling business class aboard a Garuda Indonesia Airbus A330. Traveling from Sydney to Bali, he wanted to record a video of the experience.

Vlogger posts a video with a handwritten menu

During the flight, the airline not only ran out of champagne, but white and red wine as well, leaving flight attendants embarrassed as you can see in the video.

This is unacceptable on any airline and especially so when it happens to business class passengers who are paying a premium for their flight.

As if running out of wine was not bad enough when it came to the meal service there were no menus to hand out. To remedy the situation crew members wrote down the food choices on a piece of scrap paper.

While it might look tacky, at least the crew did their best to alleviate the fact that the flight took off without any menus on-board.

Executives at Garuda Indonesia were not too pleased when the video of the flight started making the rounds on the Internet. They have summoned Vernandes to appear before the authorities for supposedly defaming the airline.

Shortly after the video appeared, Garuda Indonesia sent out a memo to all staff telling them that passengers are not allowed to document their trip. The memo points out that staff who do not follow the rules will be sanctioned. A photo of the memo obtained by news site Kumparan is below.

memo telling staff to stop passengers taking photos
Internal memo instructing flight attendants to stop passengers taking photos and videos. Photo: Garuda Indonesia

The English translation of the memo is as follows:

Following up on directives from management, all cabin crew are informed as follows:

  1. Not allowed to document all activities on the plane, whether in the form of photos or videos by cabin crew or passengers.
  2. Cabin crew must use language that is assertive in conveying the passenger ban for point 1 above except if they have obtained a permit from the company
  3. 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.

In the video, Rius even pointed out that he thought that the flight attendants were creative in writing the menu out by hand.

Rather than just letting it go Garuda Indonesia tried to blame the vlogger

Rather than just hoping the whole thing would blow over, Garuda Indonesia’s press team went on the attack. According to website One Mile at a Time, they sent out a tweet saying:

“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.”

Then they sent out another tweet trying to make it look like it was a setup job.

“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.”

This all happened a couple of days ago and since then the airline has backtracked its initial ban on people filming aboard Garuda Indonesia. When releasing a new statement operational director of Garuda Indonesia, Captain Bambang Adisurya Angkasa, told CNBC Indonesia,

“This appeal is based on reports, suggestions and input from passengers who feel uncomfortable and disturbed by shooting and documentation activities without prior permission from the concerned person … passengers would still be able to take snaps for personal use, such as selfies, as long as they were not disturbing the comfort of other travelers”.

Low-cost carrier Lion Air is picking up the ball from Garuda Indonesia, saying that the documentation of flights aboard their aircraft must first have company approval. A statement posted on One Mile at a Time reads:

“If the institutions or individuals who will carry out documentation are required to ask permission from the company first. Then the company will provide policies. In the operation of each flight, Lion Air always adheres to and applies safety culture. It is this commitment that confirms Lion Air must prioritize aspects of flight safety and security (safety first).”

I wonder if Lion Air realizes that Garuda Indonesia has backtracked on its initial statement?


It would appear that upper management at Garuda Indonesia cannot take criticism well. Instead of personally writing to all the passengers and apologizing for their mistake with the menu and drinks, they try and deflect the blame onto the vlogger.

Garuda Indonesia A330 landing
Garuda Indonesia has a problem with criticism. Photo: Mark Finlay/Flickr

Having said this, if you have ever looked at videos of trip reviews by Simple Flying, all of our correspondents go out of their way to ensure they do not upset their fellow passengers.

Looking at Mr. Vernandes video I am not too sure if I would have been happy sitting around him while he was busy making his video.

What do you think? Please let us know in the comments.