Everyday we read about videos and photos travelers take to document bad situations. When should you take a photo or video and how should you do it? If you are going to document situations, keep notes which include names of flight attendants, pilot etc. Your seat number and ticket number, which is the very long letters/numbers reference.

First get the time/date on your phone set correctly. Then include something in the photo that dates and places the incident.

When not to take a photo: 

A manager/check in personnel has been horrible to you, ask for their card. Refer to them by the name on the card; they can give you someone else’s name. A photo of a person can escalate into a mess as can a close up of their name tag.

Airport security issues or TSA problem. Some airlines have instructed employees to stop you from taking photos of any airport related area, employee, plane etc. Employees can stop you and detain you. This is a vague new privacy policy not legal, but full of problems nonetheless.

Problem in the secured luggage area of the airport. Customs officials might detain you.

Never take photos of soldiers or police unless you have clear permission.

A name tag on a person, only take surreptitiously or not at all or with permission.

Dirty restaurant area where staff might sabotage your meal if they see you. Be discreet.

When to take a photo:

Messy hotel room or any hotel security issue you see, like a fire door being left open by housekeeping.

Unsecured area of airport; ie before check in. Take a photo of long lines that might delay your check in and cancel your flight. If asked to stop, do so immediately or face airlines’s gray area rules/delays. See articles below.

Your seat mate is asleep and all over you, take a photo to show staff later. Your seat mate has uncomfortably touched you, definitely show staff his photo!!! In our experience staff do not want to deal with this, so a photo can help.

Someone behind you has used a gadget to force your seat upright, get that photo when they are asleep.

Newspaper headline: if weather,strikes, road accident mentioned in the paper has interrupted your trip.

Departure screen for your or other flights.

Smashed suitcase, take it before leaving airport with airport sign in background if possible.

You can always switch to a recording if a camera is causing an issue. Really loud music or noise uncontrolled by flight staff? Record it if possible.

Once you read these articles, you might be afraid to take any photos; use your common sense and again be discrete.

CN Traveler

Huffington Post

New York Times on noise on a plane

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