You will find this rule stated as prohibited conduct , in many airline Travel Tariffs . example Air Canada’s :https://www.aircanada.com/content/dam/a ... pdf#page87
h) While onboard the aircraft, the person is filming, photographing, or recording the image by any other electronic means of other passengers and/or crew without the express consent of the person(s) being filmed, photographed or recorded, or continues to film, photograph or record the image of other passengers and/or crew after being advised to cease such conduct by a member of the crew;
Private companies carrying private passengers are subject to additional policies and procedures. Some airline agreements contain “Photography Policies.” For example, American Airlines’ policy, states:
“Use of still and video cameras, film or digital, is permitted only for recording personal events. Photography or video recording of airline personnel, equipment, or procedures is strictly prohibited.”
In simpler terms, you purchase a ticket from an airline. That ticket is a contract. That contract contains certain terms and conditions that you, the purchaser, can accept or reject. If you accept, in exchange for your cash you are allowed to travel with this particular company subject to the stated terms. Any violation of the terms allows the contract to be voided. That means, they can prevent you from flying.
Applying the policy to your travel, consider the purpose of your recording and the subject of your recording.
One hypothetical scenario could be: you taking a selfie with a Singapore Airlines lobster breakfast. That’s probably okay, since this is a personal event, and although some airline equipment is contained in the photograph (your seat, IFE, tray, etc.), the purpose of the recording is personal. Take your picture. Another situation might be your amazing first-class seat on Emirates complete with ornate gold everything, full bottles of Champagne and empty bottles of said Champagne. Still okay, personal experience all the way.
A different scenario, and the kind the airline is concerned about, might be you recording an argument with a counter agent or flight attendant for the purpose of filing a dispute or legal claim. Although personal to some, this interaction is likely to fall under the “do not record per the conditions” section of your agreement. Should you continue to record, the airline agent would be within the agreed-upon bounds to deny you the benefit of travel. Even though this display might be public, you have still agreed to the terms of your particular contract and should not be shocked when those terms are enforced. An onlooker recording the same interaction would be subject to the terms only if he or she was a passenger of that particular airline.
While it may seem unfair, the airlines can and do enforce these terms. It should not come as a surprise when a public relations fiasco puts the airlines on alert to protect themselves, their employees and their passengers.
When it comes to recording airline agents, first consider the terms of the contract you have entered, and whether you want to give up your seat for potentially breaching those terms. If the answer is yes, then consider your location. Are you in the United States? If the answer is yes, are you in a public place, viewing a public event, from a public viewpoint? And, finally, does the state or city allow you to record publicly without restriction? If these answers are all yes, you can record. If they are not, then you cannot, put your phone away.
If you feel you have been treated unfairly, as always, contact an attorney to discuss your individual circumstances and rights.
Bottom Line: No, you cannot record if you agreed to not record. If you did not enter such an agreement, and you are in public, viewing the public, you can record.
While the government can’t restrict your ability to record in public, the contract you sign can.