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Fond of taking selfies while on board planes? Read this

DALLAS (AP) – Without the shocking video, it’s unlikely that the world would have learned or cared about the violent manhandling of a 69-year-old man on a plane last month.

The outrage on social media, the mea culpa by an airline CEO, the promise to treat customers better – none of it would have happened.

The passengers who shot those videos on a United Express plane in Chicago violated United’s policy on photography. By the letter of the airline’s law, they too could have been ordered off the plane.

Under United’s policy, customers can take pictures or videos with small cameras or cellphones “provided that the purpose is capturing personal events.” Filming or photographing other customers or airline employees without their consent is prohibited. American, Delta and Southwest have similar policies.

Passengers are accustomed to using their cellphones to take photos and videos that they can upload to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Airline rules on photography are sporadically enforced, but passengers should read them in the in-flight magazines because there can be consequences.

The Transportation Security Administration says that photography at checkpoints is fine if people don’t take images of monitors or interfere with screeners. Travel bloggers say, however, that people have had run-ins with TSA officers, and you should expect to be questioned if you snap more than a casual photo of a companion.

However, there is no law against taking photos or video on a plane, and it is unlikely that anyone would face legal jeopardy for taking pictures of an altercation on a plane or their own peaceful dispute with an airline employee, said Larsen, Joseph Larsen, a media-law attorney in Houston.

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