British Airways clears up social media rules for pilots and cabin crew

British Airways has clarified the new social media rules for its flight crews and employees
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British Airways has cleared up its new social media rules for pilots and cabin crew during working hours after sparking outrage online.  

Pilots and cabin crew employed by the British flag carrier took to social media stating that they were no longer allowed to post content when they are “professionally engaged”.  

“So, that’s the end of my flying posts, photos, and videos,” stated an Airbus A350 captain employed at the airline. 

The decision was announced by several of the airline’s employees on February 1, 2023. 

British Airways clearing up social media rules 

In a statement to AeroTime, a spokesperson for the London Heathrow Airport (LHR)-based carrier cleared up its new rules for flight crew.  

The spokesperson said that the airline had not “stopped any colleague from posting on social media – in fact, quite the opposite” adding that, the new rules provide clarity “about what’s appropriate and when”.   

“For example, when our colleagues are flying an aircraft, they’re responsible for the safety of everyone on board. It’s not unreasonable to ask them to wait until their break to take photos,” the BA representative continued. 

As such, the guidelines have remained the same, and the airline said it had only sought to clarify the rules with its personnel, including a policy asking “colleagues not to post to social media when professionally engaged in their job (e.g. serving customers on board, flying the aircraft)”. 

Updated BA social media guidelines 

The rules, which have been provided to AeroTime by British Airways, were updated on January 25, 2023. 

“As a business we actively use social media networks to tell our story, celebrate our achievements, attract new customers and strengthen our brand and reputation. We positively encourage and value the contributions that you, our colleagues, make on social media by sharing your passion for original content creation and your pride for working at BA,” the guidelines read.  

The memo also stated that while passionate colleagues “create A Better BA”, posting on social media comes with responsibility. Improper use of online channels “could negatively impact colleagues, customers, and BA’s reputation”. The airline’s rulebook also emphasized that it is rare that content crosses boundaries but “it does happen and it’s important we all remember anything we do on social media – whether on a business or personal account – could be viewed by a wide number of parties including colleagues, customers, shareholders, competitors and the media”. 

As such,  the document added that the guidelines had been prepared to enable employees to share work-related content and “keep you and your colleagues safe, protect the reputation of the company and maintain a consistent standard of engaging colleague-led content across BA”. 

In terms of the items that caused outrage, namely pictures and videos from the cockpit, British Airways prohibits sharing “any sensitive content that poses a risk to our business, our customers, our colleagues, or to you as an individual”. The carrier clarified that this includes but is not limited to instrumentation/data from the flight deck, flight plans or technical documents, in front or inside of an engine, crew hotel locations, content of passengers boarding (without prior consent from them), entry to aircraft bunks, including the entry code. 

The list also includes anything shot in the flight deck, which requires prior permission from the company. 

“If you’re in a car driving with your children in the back, you wouldn’t post a picture,” the British Airways spokesperson concluded.  

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