United Airlines Throws Travel Blogger off Flight for Taking Pictures

Matthew Klint was boarding a flight to Istanbul on United when he decided to whip out his iPhone and snap a few photos. That ended up being a bad move.

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Eric Kayne/Houston Chronicle/AP

A United Airlines Boeing 787 takes off for its first scheduled commercial flight from Houston to Chicago, Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012

Matthew Klint was settling in aboard a United Airlines flight at Newark Airport when he decided to whip out his iPhone to snap a few photos. That ended up being a bad move.

Klint, atravel blogger who writes for the website Upgrd.com, was traveling to Baku, Azerbaijan, via Istanbul on Feb. 14, when he was asked by a flight attendant to stop taking pictures of his business class seat. Klint, who says he’d only taken one picture, apologized and tried to explain his actions. “I want you to understand why I was taking pictures. I hope you didn’t think I was a terrorist,” he reportedly said.

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That wasn’t enough to pacify the flight attendant, however, who later directed him to a policy printed in the airline’s in-flight magazine:

The use of still and video cameras, film or digital, including any cellular or other devices that have this capability, is permitted only for recording of personal events. Photography or audio or video recording of other customers without their express prior consent is strictly prohibited. Also, unauthorized photography or audio or video recording of airline personnel, aircraft equipment or procedures is always prohibited. Any photography (video or still) or voice or audio recording or transmission while on any United Airlines aircraft is strictly prohibited, except to the extent specifically permitted by United Airlines.

Soon after, as Klint wrote on his blog, an airline representative boarded the plane and asked him to disembark — noting that the pilot didn’t feel “comfortable” with him on the flight. Klint appealed to the captain, who accused him of ignoring a flight attendant’s instructions and reportedly told him to get off before he got the police involved. Klint  was put on a later flight and missed his connection in Istanbul.

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United Airlines spokesman Rahsaan Johnson told NBC News that the airline has reached out to Klint in an effort to reconcile the damage. Johnson cited security reasons, stating that, “[United] crews may need to restrict photography onboard, particularly when customers are taking photos of other customers or crew members without consent.” However, Klint maintains that he took only one picture for his blog – a shot of a business-class seat’s in-flight entertainment system.

The airline subsequently reached out to Klint, and while it offered no apology Klint wrote in an update that he was reasonably satisfied with the airline’s actions. Still, he noted, it would take a bit for United to earn his trust back: “I want to see the airline move in a direction that no passenger is ever again put in the position that I was.”

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