India Clarifies Inflight Photo Rules To Allow Personal Pictures

In a quick reversal to its ban on inflight photography, India’s aviation regulator has said passengers can take photos and videos onboard flights. However, large recording equipment and anything that may cause disruption is not allowed. The amended order comes just a day after India issued a ban on all inflight photography and told airlines they face a two-week route ban if they fail to enforce the order.

Inflight Photography
Passengers are free to take photos or videos, provided they do not disrupt the flight in any way. Photo: Ayush Syal/Simple Flying

Quick reversal

The DGCA, India’s aviation regulator, has clarified that it’s previous order does not include all passengers taking photos or videos. The order now targets any recording equipment which compromises air safety or causes disruption during a flight. This effectively means that passengers are free to take any photos or videos as long as they do not disobey crew instructions or causes chaos.

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Airport queue on runway
Passengers are once again allowed to take photos or videos, after a 48-hour ban. Photo: Getty Images

Many were incredulous at the DGCA’s decision to enforce an 83-year-old law that prohibits inflight photography. Additionally, the DGCA said that airlines were liable for any violations of passengers taking photographs. If a violation had been committed, airlines could face a two-week ban on that route and must take punitive action against the offenders.

The amended order seems to have relaxed the strict rules placed by the DGCA. Passengers can once again take photos or videos to their heart’s content, as long as it does not cause a disruption. Additionally, the DGCA itself can initiate action against anyone breaking this rule.

Stemming from a recent incident

This week’s debate on inflight photography stems from an incident last week. On an IndiGo flight from Chandigarh to Mumbai last Wednesday, several members of the press, with their equipment, flew with actress Kangana Ranaut. During various points of the flight, press members crowded the aisles, trying to ask the actress questions, and refused to comply with the crew. Additionally, many were also not wearing masks and violated strict social distancing rules.

These safety violations by the press members resulted in the DGCA enforcing a ban on all inflight photography. While the press members on this flight may have acted poorly, many said the ban was too far-reaching and difficult to enforce. Airlines were suddenly facing the threat of a ban if they did not stop all passengers from taking photos.

Targeted ban

This incident has resulted in the DGCA issuing a ban on anyone carrying large equipment and causing disruptions. This likely extends to press members who may try to replicate what happened on last week’s IndiGo flight.

Air India 787 Cabin
Passengers are free to take photos or videos as long as they don’t cause chaos, a reasonable condition. Photo: Getty Images

It’s clear that many safety rules were violated on last week’s flight and it is positive to see the DGCA taking quick action. However, the blanket ban on photography was a disproportionate response that is tough to enforce. The DGCA’s new order allows passengers to continue taking photos or videos, as long as they don’t cause chaos, a perfectly acceptable condition in our opinion.

What do you think of the new DGCA ban? Is it justified? Let us know in the comments!