Not allowed to take photos on an airplane?

Within the last year, on a domestic flight, I was asked to not take pictures during the flight. I had a window seat and was taking photos of the sky and landscape below when I was asked to stop.

I found a thread on a site,, from December, 2009, where someone was told he was not allowed to take pictures during his flight, so I guess it’s not new. Whether it’s actually against regulations or not, I don’t know, but I do know that arguing with a flight attendant doesn’t usually go well these days.

Taking photos certainly isn’t against Australian regulations and I’d be surprised if it was against FAA regulations. Many modern cameras would come under the umbrella of “electronic devices” so would have the same restrictions as those. On the other hand disobeying flight crew is against the regulations and this is how specific airlines are able to enforce their own company rules. In short, if the cabin crew ask you to stop filming and you don’t then you are breaking the regs.

Yes, IIRC, flying into China the rules prohibit taking pictures from the air. No one stopped me.

I’ve been discreet about taking pictures out of the aircraft window with my (smaller) digital camera, even during take-off and landing, and on 5 continents nobody has ever told me to stop.

I think this was more of a privacy and crowd control issue in the OP. (Being generous and assuming it’s not to hide a Rodney King moment - If I were trying to sudue an unruly patron, I don’t think I’d want, for example, a dozen videos of myself being slugged in the face, kicked in the goolies, or my shirt being torn open as tomorrow’s you-tube feature… )