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Garuda Indonesia ridiculed for attempting to ban social media on their flights

Recently, a vlogger from Indonesia had uploaded a video about his flight experience on Garuda Indonesia from Sydney to Bali. His business class experience was less ideal as the in-flight menu was provided on a handwritten note and they had run out of wine. Of course, bad experiences do happen once in a while and you would expect the airline to offer an apology for the shortcomings.

Instead, the airline was initially reported to have sued Rius Vernandes, the vlogger, for what claims to be defamation. To make matters worse, Garuda Indonesia even issued a memo to its crew informing them that passengers are not allowed to document their travel in both photo and video form. They also emphasised that the cabin crew must use assertive language in conveying the restriction.

The way Garuda Indonesia handles a negative review was shocking and it appears that they are making the situation worse by preventing people from sharing their experiences online. You can watch the original video review above.

Eventually, the Indonesian flag carrier had retracted their photography and video recording ban after they have been mocked by the public. According to Garuda Indonesia, the directive was an internal document which has been revised to appeal to passengers to respect the privacy of other passengers and flight crew on duty. A spokesman said that the appeal was based on reports and suggestions from passengers who feel uncomfortable and disturbed by the shooting and documentation of activities without permission.

As usual, with anything that goes viral on the internet, other companies have taken the opportunity to make fun of the ban. This includes Grab and other Indonesian brands.

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Jangan ya, jangan!

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At the moment, it appears that Garuda Indonesia had managed to settle the issue with the vlogger. The police summons was withdrawn and it was clarified that it was issued by Garuda Indonesia Labour Union, and not by the airline. Rius had even posted an Instagram update today and it appears that both parties have reconciled.

If you do plan to vlog your flight experience, do be mindful about the privacy of other passengers and cabin crew members. Different airlines may have their own policy about taking photos and videos. It is best to consult with the airline or ask permission if you’re going to record a moment that’s going to be more than just for personal use.

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Alexander Wong