JohnJ
Topic Author
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Escorted Out Of JFK Because Of Photographing #2

Thu Apr 21, 2005 2:18 am

I tried to reply to the previous thread with the same title, but it's archived and locked now - so on to a new thread. The circumstances I encountered at JFK's Terminal 4 last Monday are pretty much the same as the previous poster, only not quite as severe. Read on...

I flew out to London on Aer Lingus on Monday (via SNN) and was pleasantly surprised with the conditions at Terminal 4. It was really quite nice and sparkling new. Best, there are huge (and clean!!) windows at the end of the concourse that are excellent photo vantage points. I spent about a half-hour there with my camera while a KLM 777 boarded at an adjacent gate. I left to converse with my colleague for a few minutes, and came back to find the 777 had nearly completed it boarding process, leaving the area relatively empty. I was continuing to take pictures as a Delta 767 taxied past when the woman who had been manning the KLM desk came over to me and asked me if I was taking pictures. I said yes, at which point she told me that I would have to delete the picture from my memory card. I asked her if photography was prohibited at the airport, and she said yes and in fact it’s an FAA regulation that you can’t take pictures at an airport. What a load of crap. I told her I didn’t want to delete the picture and asked to speak to her supervisor. The supervisor turned out to be the guy collecting the tickets for the KLM flight, and he backed up the woman’s story and also demanded I delete the picture. A passenger with (I assume) a Dutch accent waiting at the KLM counter didn’t help much, either, as he announced to me that photography is forbidden at most airports around the world.

I had two possible courses of action: refuse to delete my shot, and probably have a lengthy talk with airport police (or worse) while my Aer Lingus flight left me behind, or comply and fight later. There was a third option, fortunately. I reluctantly agreed to delete the photo, and went through elaborate motions to show the woman that I was indeed deleting the picture I had taken. She was satisfied and thanked me for complying, then I walked back down toward my gate after I found out that she worked for Swissport, the T4 contractor. The only thing she apparently didn’t grasp is that through the wonders of modern technology, digital cameras today are able to take and store more than one photograph. I only deleted one of the 8 or so shots of that Delta 767, and had the rest of my shots from that day intact as well.

When I get back from the UK, I’m going to call the Port Authority public relations department and get the real low-down on the photo policy. If indeed it’s against Port Authority regulations to take pictures, I’ll let this matter quietly fade away and will know better in the future to keep a lower profile. If not and if the PA indicates that Swissport can't set its own photo regulations in T4, I’m going to invoice Swissport for $250 for the picture I deleted and accompany the invoice with a scathing letter with a demand for apology that will also be copied to the Port Authority. Nothing is likely to come of this, but I’ll feel better about it.
 
Staffan
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RE: Escorted Out Of JFK Because Of Photographing #2

Thu Apr 21, 2005 2:24 am

There is also software to recover deleted files from CF cards as long as the data hasn't been written over.

Staffan
 
columbia107
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RE: Escorted Out Of JFK Because Of Photographing #2

Thu Apr 21, 2005 3:42 am

Perhaps its time that a body is set up to take on the airport and police authorities to identify who is right and who is wrong. What is allowed and what is not inside an airport terminal.
Funny but my understanding is that to take a photograph is not illegal as long as the location is not privately owned. And then it is only the owner of the property who can ask you to stop taking photographs from within the perimeters of his own property.
I for one would support in financial terms a body which protect the rights of practitioners whose only love is to take photographs of planes.
In God we trust
 
cancidas
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RE: Escorted Out Of JFK Because Of Photographing #2

Thu Apr 21, 2005 3:56 am

johnj, to be perfectly honest with you... fighting swissport is not worth your time. at least not in my opinion. you came out one ahead so just leave it at that.

now, gentlemen, i'll just warn you as i do most people about this. if you make a big public stink about what they did PORT may just decide to ban photography at all 4 of its airports. this will inconvenience a lot of people, especially those us of on the inside. there is a grey area about this rule. take a lesson from me, fly under the radar. if you get the shots and get away be happy. if you happen to be stopped, they just cut bait and walk away. there will always be another opportunity.
"...cannot the kingdom of salvation take me home."
 
bigphilnyc
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RE: Escorted Out Of JFK Because Of Photographing #2

Thu Apr 21, 2005 4:17 am

I agree with Matt in some cases. Now, I CERTAINLY don't think that we should lie downa nd tolerate having our rights violated or being mistreated by law enforcement, but I think that there is a way about doing things the right way, because there is a risk involved for us.

I think your idea sounds fine as long as you are not pushy towards the Port Authority.

I think the invoice is a cute idea and gets your point across, but I wouldn't expect to get paid for it.

-Phil
Phil Derner Jr.
 
Newark777
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RE: Escorted Out Of JFK Because Of Photographing #2

Thu Apr 21, 2005 4:28 am

I have only once been requested to delete pictures from my camera, from a rent-a-cop near Toys R' Us in Elizabeth. I just slipped my card out of the camera so he wouldn't see, and then turned the camera on and it said "No images." He was pleased and walked away. I put the card back in and kept shooting. Big grin

Harry
Why grab a Heine when you can grab a Busch?
 
southpaw8669
Posts: 143
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RE: Escorted Out Of JFK Because Of Photographing #2

Thu Apr 21, 2005 4:38 am

Check this link out from the Official JFK Website and the Port Authority of NY/NJ

http://www.panynj.gov/aviation/jfkaboutframe.html

If you go down to the 5th Paragraph this is what it says.

"If you forgot to take photographs of JFK Airport on your last trip, visit the JFK Photo Gallery (coming soon) to bring back fond memories. (coming soon)"


The first part of this paragraph is implying that Photography is allowed at JFK.


Eric
@southpawcapture
 
DLKAPA
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RE: Escorted Out Of JFK Because Of Photographing #2

Thu Apr 21, 2005 4:45 am

Sounds to me like you guys are getting the royal screwjob. If there's anything I can do to help, let me know.
And all at once the crowd begins to sing: Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same
 
mikephotos
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RE: Escorted Out Of JFK Because Of Photographing #2

Thu Apr 21, 2005 4:56 am

A quote from a PAPD cop that stopped by when we were shooting 13L sunset approach shots on Sunday: "You guys are doing nothing wrong, but let me check with my boss to see if it's okay to be here shooting....pause while he calls....no problem guys, have a good time."

Photographing aircraft is perfectly legal. I would have not deleted my pics but then again I seem to only have good run-ins around JFK. Maybe it's my way of handling the situation. On Sunday, twice visited by NYPD and once PAPD while showing the UK guys around. All 3 incidents ended with the cops (professional) driving away with the "no problem" attitude.

Mike
 
futterman
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RE: Escorted Out Of JFK Because Of Photographing #2

Thu Apr 21, 2005 5:26 am

While it may not be appropriate to pursue a sergeant or lieutenant when a gate agent starts complaining, that's the only surefire way to get the all clear. Not ONCE have I ever heard of or experienced a conversation with a superior and been told that photography is illegal, wrong, or prohibited. Nine times out of ten, actually, they support it. Mike's story is a good example of this.

Quoting Cancidas (Reply 3):
if you make a big public stink about what they did PORT may just decide to ban photography at all 4 of its airports.

Same way they banned photography in the subways, Matt?


Brian
What the FUTT?
 
Delta717
Posts: 442
Joined: Sat Mar 18, 2000 8:56 am

RE: Escorted Out Of JFK Because Of Photographing #

Thu Apr 21, 2005 6:45 am

Quoting Mikephotos (Reply 8):
A quote from a PAPD cop that stopped by when we were shooting 13L sunset approach shots on Sunday: "You guys are doing nothing wrong, but let me check with my boss to see if it's okay to be here shooting....pause while he calls....no problem guys, have a good time."

The same thing happened to me at LGA in February. PAPD is much nicer than swissport officials are. I only wish T4 was run by them instead.
 
cancidas
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Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2003 7:34 am

RE: Escorted Out Of JFK Because Of Photographing #2

Thu Apr 21, 2005 7:24 am

futt, the MTA is a private organization. they never allowed photography, especially now after 09-11. that's it. now, PORT could do the same if they wanted to. i see no reason to press the issue with them.
"...cannot the kingdom of salvation take me home."
 
cancidas
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Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2003 7:34 am

RE: Escorted Out Of JFK Because Of Photographing #2

Thu Apr 21, 2005 7:34 am

phil, i also don't think that infringing on our rights as citizens of this city is a good thing. in fact i hate it. problem is that if you fight someone bigger than you you're liable to get very badly hurt.
"...cannot the kingdom of salvation take me home."
 
JohnJ
Topic Author
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RE: Escorted Out Of JFK Because Of Photographing #2

Thu Apr 21, 2005 8:18 am

I have no intention of raising a big stink with the PA. What I plan is a phone call to their public relations office with a fairly generic question about their photo policy at T4. If they reply that photography is not illegal, then I'll explain my specific situation with Swissport and ask them if their actions are line with PA policy. I did the same thing in Memphis last month with good results, and if anything I think the woman with whom I dealt with their public relations department came away with a good impression of photographers.

However, if the PA gives me the all-clear, I do plan to raise a big stink with Swissport - cute or not, if they were violating PA policy by demanding that I delete my picture, I'm entitled to compensation. I do make money from this hobby (granted, not much...), and they're potentially denying me of my income.

[Edited 2005-04-21 01:20:38]
 
CX777
Posts: 153
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2001 1:43 pm

RE: Escorted Out Of JFK Because Of Photographing #

Thu Apr 21, 2005 8:26 am

Like Mike said b4.... we had 2 encounters that morning and both were positive. Show respect and understanding and you can have a successful day. I have travelled the world over the years and have been able to get positive experiences on most of the cases.... And I think authorities (domestic/foreign) does not like being questioned...so showing that you are responsible goes a long way. Last but not the least, sometimes a larger group is better than a solo or 2 person spotting.

http://www.pbase.com/jetflyer/image/42345812

my 0.02 cents...

Raj
PS: Look at the shot... keeps a photog busy even inbetween landings! Think we should have another outing for TG791 "sendoff" on May 1st. (yup thats the 340-500 scheduled to depart Kennedy at 15:00 zulu)
 
Stealthz
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RE: Escorted Out Of JFK Because Of Photographing #2

Thu Apr 21, 2005 8:51 am

Didn't the last thread determine.. or at least mention that T4 is NOT run by the PA and can set whatever rules they like inside their property?

Not saying that is right or fair, but I don't see what hassling the PA about it is going to achieve.

Regards

Chris
If your camera sends text messages, that could explain why your photos are rubbish!
 
JohnJ
Topic Author
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Joined: Tue Jun 27, 2000 5:01 am

RE: Escorted Out Of JFK Because Of Photographing #2

Thu Apr 21, 2005 8:58 am

"Not saying that is right or fair, but I don't see what hassling the PA about it is going to achieve."

I didn't say I was going to hassle the PA. What I said I was going to do was to launch a polite phone call to get the official word on the policy without mentioning my specific incident, and depending on the result I would then begin hassling... not the PA but rather Swissport. If the PA gives a thumbs-down, I'll drop the issue without argument.

Further, I doubt seriously Swissport owns T4 - I imagine they're simply the contractor running the operation for the Port Authority. Their policy may well prevail, and again if the PA indicates that Swissport is not out of line in prohibiting photography, the matter will go no further with me.

[Edited 2005-04-21 02:01:32]
 
Stealthz
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RE: Escorted Out Of JFK Because Of Photographing #2

Thu Apr 21, 2005 9:08 am

Quoting JohnJ (Reply 16):
I didn't say I was going to hassle the PA

Sorry, maybe "hassling" was the wrong word, might have picked that inference up from other posts in the thread rather than yours.

I think you will find, and delighted to be shown to be wrong, that the operators of T4 can set what ever rules they like on their property just as the operator of a shopping mall, sports arena or homeowner can. Having said that, they may have no rules and you struck a couple of over zealous killjoys, be glad to hear if that is the case as well.


Regards

Chris
If your camera sends text messages, that could explain why your photos are rubbish!
 
mikephotos
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RE: Escorted Out Of JFK Because Of Photographing #2

Thu Apr 21, 2005 11:20 am

Swissport does not run T4. They are simply a handling agent that works at T4 handling flights. T4 is operated by another firm (not PA).

futt, the MTA is a private organization. they never allowed photography, especially now after 09-11.

Matt, photography is allowed in subways. They tried to put together a band but it was squashed because of all the protests.

Mike
 
Newark777
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RE: Escorted Out Of JFK Because Of Photographing #2

Thu Apr 21, 2005 11:29 am

Quoting Mikephotos (Reply 18):
Matt, photography is allowed in subways. They tried to put together a band but it was squashed because of all the protests.

Here's what it says on the MTA site:

Photography, filming or video recording in any facility or conveyance is permitted except that ancillary equipment such as lights, reflectors or tripods may not be used. Members of the press holding valid identification issued by the New York City Police Department are hereby authorized to use necessary ancillary equipment. All photographic activity must be conducted in accordance with the provision of these Rules.

http://mta.info/nyct/rules/rules.htm#restricted

Harry
Why grab a Heine when you can grab a Busch?
 
N317AS
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RE: Escorted Out Of JFK Because Of Photographing #2

Thu Apr 21, 2005 12:32 pm

Quoting Southpaw8669 (Reply 6):
"If you forgot to take photographs of JFK Airport on your last trip, visit the JFK Photo Gallery (coming soon) to bring back fond memories. (coming soon)"

The first part sounds like photos are allowed at JFK. The second part sounds like JFK is getting into the photo biz and therefore probably wants us out.
Some people are like Slinkies. They bring a smile to your face when you push them down a flight of stairs.
 
JohnJ
Topic Author
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RE: Escorted Out Of JFK Because Of Photographing #2

Thu Apr 21, 2005 4:36 pm

"Swissport does not run T4. They are simply a handling agent that works at T4 handling flights. T4 is operated by another firm (not PA)."

I have no doubt this is true. However, it was a Swissport employee who forced me to delete my shot, so they're who I have the beef with.
 
skidmarks
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RE: Escorted Out Of JFK Because Of Photographing #2

Thu Apr 21, 2005 5:32 pm

Going off slightly at a tangent, in the North Terminal at LGW there are notices specifically stating No Photography. I presume this is to prevent "terrorists" taking pictures of sensitive areas such as check-in and security.

However, the point is, the notices are there. There is no arguing, photography is banned.

I would suggest that, instead of writing to Swissport/Port Authority and demanding payment for pictures lost etc (satisfying though that may be) you simply ask them their position on photography and where it is laid down. Should they respond and say, no photography you can then ask them why this is not publically stated in the form of signs and notices. If they say that photography is permitted you can then ask why their employees are not aware of this.

Once you have the official stance you can then plan what action, if any, you are going to take.

It might be an idea for spotters around the States to do the same thing. Places like ORD, LAX, SFO etc could all be written to and the position defined. Once this has been done it should be very difficult for employees to legally harrass anyone.

Just my point of view. Bit long winded but then, so is officialdom.

Cheers

Andy  old 
Growing old is compulsory, growing up is optional
 
NIKV69
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RE: Escorted Out Of JFK Because Of Photographing #2

Thu Apr 21, 2005 7:59 pm

This drives me crazy. I would have not deleted the photograph and stood my ground. This is getting worse and worse. It's bullying, intimidation and Gestapo all rolled into one.
Hey that guy with the private jet can bail us out! Why? HE CAN AFFORD IT!
 
JohnJ
Topic Author
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RE: Escorted Out Of JFK Because Of Photographing #2

Thu Apr 21, 2005 9:35 pm

"I would suggest that, instead of writing to Swissport/Port Authority and demanding payment for pictures lost etc (satisfying though that may be) you simply ask them their position on photography and where it is laid down. Should they respond and say, no photography you can then ask them why this is not publically stated in the form of signs and notices. If they say that photography is permitted you can then ask why their employees are not aware of this."

I think making an advance call to an airport to clarify their policy is an excellent idea when feasible. I had a run-in with the airport police while in Memphis recently and called the airport the next morning to clarify their position. Once I knew what was allowed and what was not, I had a fine time taking pictures there and had no further troubles. However, if photography is not allowed in an area I would not question why no signs are posted. Not having signs around gives one the luxury of pleading ignorance if you do get busted for taking unauthorized photos.
 
skidmarks
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Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2004 7:51 pm

RE: Escorted Out Of JFK Because Of Photographing #2

Thu Apr 21, 2005 10:05 pm

Fair comment John, but I personally would rather have signs/notices around if it is forbidden than some Hitleresque thug or pompous prat laying into me verbally or otherwise. Forewarned is forearmed as they say.

And no, kirk, forearmed is not half an octopus!!! Big grin

Andy  old 
Growing old is compulsory, growing up is optional
 
draigonair
Posts: 624
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RE: Escorted Out Of JFK Because Of Photographing #2

Thu Apr 21, 2005 10:19 pm

Hey guys,

yeh sometimes its just wierd...in December i was at Amterdam and i was at the gate...i flew Singapore AIrlines and next to her were 2 Delta 767's....i was at the window (where you are alloud to stand) and i was about to take some pictures when a guy came to me and shouted 'hey thats not alloud please dont take pictures'...i was like why isnt that alloud? the guy then said 'no due to security reasons we prohibit it'...i was thinking like.,..hmm what the hell as its really stupid beacause at Amsterdam you can just stand next to the runway and take pics of American planes and also places where they taxi by....think sometimes these rules go to far...dont you agree?

cheers

Nick
cheers
 
JohnJ
Topic Author
Posts: 1366
Joined: Tue Jun 27, 2000 5:01 am

RE: Escorted Out Of JFK Because Of Photographing #2

Wed Apr 27, 2005 5:31 am

Well, I'm back from the UK and just got off the phone with a woman from the Port Authority about the incident. It's clear that they have a very firm policy regarding photography within the terminal areas at JFK, but that policy does not prohibit taking pictures. Here's basically what she said:

- They are able to verify that terrorists were on the concourse of the World Trade Center 3 years prior to 9/11 taking pictures, and as such they're very wary of photographers.

- Photography is not prohibited within the JFK terminal areas, but if you are photographing there, you MUST have a state-issued ID card with you (driver's license, passport, etc.) and you should expect to be challenged.

- Photography anywhere near the security checkpoints or photography of personnel is STRICTLY forbidden, and by doing so you're subjecting yourself to possible arrest.

She skirted the issue of the Swissport employee demanding that I erase my pictures, saying that the employee most definitely should have questioned me. I didn't press the issue any further by asking whether the employee exceeded her authority by making me erase my shot. She said a good analogy of the PA photo policy is the old President Clinton policy on gays in the military - "don't ask, don't tell."

This was a pleasant, non-confrontational conversation. The woman was very well-spoken and was very knowledgeable on the photo policy. My initial anger over the incident has now passed, and I'll probably just let this one slide. So, in the future it's clear that keeping a low profile when taking pictures at T4 is the way to go. I wonder what would have happened if I'd been shooting slide film - having to destroy an entire roll of film would have been a much more serious incident than simply erasing a single shot.
 
jwenting
Posts: 9973
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2001 10:12 pm

RE: Escorted Out Of JFK Because Of Photographing #2

Wed Apr 27, 2005 11:36 pm

Nick, was that person wearing any airport ID batch? If not it was a passenger with an attitude, if so it was an airport worker with an attitude.

Photography at Schiphol is permitted everywhere as long as you don't photograph the security checkpoints.

Some companies also ban staff from using cameras on duty, maybe the person was confused about that and thought it a general ban.
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