Frank Polich/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Nina Ruggiero
May 11, 2017

If the past few months have been any indication, 2017 is the year of viral airplane videos. And so far, the airline claiming the unfortunate top prize is undeniably United for the disturbing recording of doctor David Dao being dragged off an overbooked flight that made headlines in April.

In order to avoid further issues (and social media uprisings), United has issued a new memo to employees, tweeted by Brian Sumers at Skift, warning them to “always assume you are being recorded or photographed.”

In the memo, employees are promised “in-depth training” in dealing with the “challenges” smartphones and social media may present in the future. But until then, they are reminded to "remain professional calm and continue your flight duties." Employees who feel they "may respond negatively" are also told ask for assistance from a co-worker.

Recording an interaction on an airplane is not illegal, but it could get you kicked off a flight. Each airline has its own contract passengers agree to when purchasing a ticket, and these contracts often include rules on in-flight photography and videography.

United's fine print, which is detailed onboard in the Hemisphere Magazine's "Travel Notes" section and on the airline's website, says recording photo and video is only allowed for capturing "personal events."

Related: Can I get kicked off a flight for taking a video with my phone?

“Photographing or recording other customers or airline personnel without their express consent is prohibited,” it reads.

But the memo tells crew members to think about the method used to enforce this, stating that if you inform a passenger of the rules and they continue recording, you should “use your good judgement” in determining next steps, and “never touch a customer's recording device or try and cover up the camera.”

It even warns them that referring to the rules listed in Hemispheres “may further escalate the situation.”

Just last weekend, would-be flier Navang Oza was denied boarding in New Orleans after filming a ticket agent during an argument about oversized baggage fees.

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