A freelance photographer was physically detained by the flight crew and forced to hand his phone over. The pilot and the flight attendant demanded to see his photo album or he could not leave the plane.

Photographer On The Loose?

Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren is a professional photographer from Seattle who has been working with major airline brands since 2008. His resume includes Delta Airlines, USA Today, and Singapore Airlines.

Jeremy claims he may have been unaware of any airline rules stating he couldn’t take pictures of airline staff when the pilot stopped him from leaving the jetbridge.

By the time the pilot was trying to reach Jeremy, he had already left the plane and was ready to start his day. That was until the pilot and flight attendant called him back into the cockpit and snatched the phone out of his hand.

They recited airline “policies” that stated passengers were not allowed to take photos of staff without permission. Then the flight attendant warned Jeremy if he did not show the photos on his phone he wouldn’t be allowed to leave the plane.

Jeremy Goes To Twitter For Help

“Honest question: can a crew member physically prevent me from getting off of the airplane until I showed them the contents of my phone (they wanted to see the last 3 photos) to verify that I did not take a photo that contained them in it,” Jeremy asked his followers on Twitter Friday.

“I had stepped into the jetbridge and the FA (flight attendant) had what I think was the pilot or FO (First Officer) block me from going further. Then they brought me back on the plane and the FA demanded I open my phone and show them the last several photos and then took the phone out of my hands to inspect them,” Jeremy said in a later tweet.

“They kept citing policies around not taking photos of staff without consent, which I didn’t do. I understand not wanting to be in them, that’s fine. But surely you could ask vs detain?”

Wrongfully Detained

Catch is, there was never any policy stating passengers could not take pictures of crew staff. Especially on American Airlines who has since been in touch with Jeremy regarding the incident.

Ross Feinstein, who used to work in the communications department for American Airlines, replied to Jeremy stating: “I can’t tell you how many times when I was at AA we communicated to crews (and to the regional carriers too), regarding the fact that passengers are allowed to film. We even updated content in American Way magazine (when it still existed!).”

Since Friday the airline has opened an investigation. Twitter users continue to tweet Jeremy that he should take legal action against the airline for unlawful detention.

In general, in the United States, there is no law stating that passengers can not take photos of staff in the aircraft cabin. Most airlines do not even prohibit general photography. Even if this were a law, it still would not justify detaining a passenger over a camera phone picture.

However, in other countries, it could be considered an invasion of privacy to not ask for consent before taking a picture. In the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, it is against the law.