With India rounding towards 5 million lab-confirmed cases of Covid-19, hundreds of millions of cases based on antibody testing and where lockdown may have increased virus spread, and most foreign nationals banned from entering the country, the government has chosen an odd time to care about the scourge of inflight photography.
This was apparently prompted by news crews showing up to follow Bollywood star Kangana Ranaut on IndiGo flight 264 from Chandigarh to Mumbai on Wednesday. They crowded the aisle of the plane while it was taxiing so they could try to talk to her, and that’s a bad look during Covid-19.
— Quint Neon (@QuintNeon) September 10, 2020
The government says inflight photography may “result in compromise in maintaining the highest standards of safety” but this isn’t a Covid-19 regulation, it was a pre-existing rule in India. And it seems more related to charges that have been brought against passengers taking pictures of female flight attendants, who are also charged with ‘outraging the modesty of a womn’.
In this case simple enforcement of no standing in the aisles while a plane is on an active taxiway would suffice to address the issue at hand. And it seems as though there are more important safety issues to focus on in India, such as Air India requiring pilots to operate flights after they’ve been fired, pilots failing breathalyzers, and pilots declaring fuel emergencies just to get a jump in the queue to land.
Especially since photography – historically banned by many airlines in the U.S., but rarely enforced – has been one of the best ways of holding airlines accountable for poor treatment of customers, and for violations of their own rules.