Dubai: It seems mundane enough — you hop on an aircraft, and as you wait for it to take off, you snap some selfies and maybe a video. And what’s a selfie if you don’t show it off to the world via social media, right?

Harmless as it sounds, you may well be violating airline rules.

As per the rules on board Emirates flights, for example, passengers can take photos or videos of their personal experiences using small cameras or smartphones as long as they do not violate others’ privacy.

“Customers must keep in mind that their activities do not disrupt operations during the flight or infringe on the privacy of other customers on board,” an Emirates spokesperson said.

The case is much the same on board other carriers. In fact, across the UAE, publishing pictures that show individuals without their consent may be punishable by law.

Flydubai said in a statement that passengers may take pictures and videos on board aircraft “provided they respect the privacy of our passengers and cabin crew.”

“Photos with cabin crew should only be taken with their permission and at a convenient time i.e. not during critical times of the flight such as landing or take off. Photos and videos of other passengers would need to be taken with their permission,” flydubai said.

But it’s not just on board aircraft. You might also want to think twice before snapping a shot of all those cool planes lined up on a runway.

In its statement, flydubai added that “all photography whilst airside in Dubai International Airport and Dubai World Central without a licence from Dubai Airports is not permitted.” (Airside refers to all areas accessible to aircraft including runways, taxiways, and ramps. Check-in areas are not included.)

But it’s not just the UAE where such rules apply.

In the US, for example, as per rules on United Airlines flights, customers can take pictures or videos “provided the purpose is capturing personal events.” Filming or taking pictures of other passengers of airline staff without their consent is prohibited. As per those rules, the viral video of a man being dragged off a United aircraft that was over-booked was a violation of policy.

American, Delta, and Southwest have similar policies.

— With additional inputs from AP



Ask for permission

Use only smartphones and small cameras for taking pictures and videos

Feel free to take pictures or videos if they’re just of yourself and your family or friends


Take airside pictures in airports if you don’t have a licence from Dubai Airports

Take pictures of cabin crew without their permission

Take pictures of cabin crew at inconvenient times such as landing and take-off

Take pictures or videos of other passengers without their permission