British Airways bans pilots and cabin crew from posting cockpit selfies

Former British Airways cabin crew Amy Hart (left) with colleague Laura Anderson - both went on to appear on Love Island
Former British Airways cabin crew Amy Hart (left) with colleague Laura Anderson - both went on to appear on Love Island

British Airways has been accused of gagging pilots and cabin crew with new rules that limit what they can post on social media.

The UK flag carrier has written to its workforce to tell them that it is forbidden to use Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and Facebook while at work.

British Airways insisted that the correspondence was merely a “refresher” of contractual terms and conditions on safety grounds.

But staff claim it is a crackdown on the use of social media.

One BA captain posted on Twitter: “Sad to say that I, like many of my colleagues will no longer be posting any content relating to my role at work owing to new social media guidelines.”

Some of the airline’s pilots and cabin crew have built a significant social media presence by posting photos and videos during trips abroad.

There is also currently a whole page on Instagram labelled #BAcabinstaff which includes images of BA air stewards at work, and outside of work.

A petition has already been launched demanding that BA chief executive Sean Doyle backtracks on the policy shift.

Safety risk

But BA fears that popular content showing selfies from the cockpit, hotel locations, information on rosters and pictures of security clearance badges could be a safety risk.

BA insists that the new guidance does not restrict any staff member from posting on social media and that the new updated guidance is to give people clarity on what is appropriate and when.

It said: “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 Telegraph has seen the full six-page updated policy outlining the dos and don’ts of social media.

This includes never posting an image when professionally engaged in a job, this includes flying a plane, it also says staff must get written permission from passengers before taking images.

The guidance also extends to use of social media outside of the workplace, warning that things posted on private social media channels can be screenshotted and published more widely.

Crossed boundaries

The document says: “While it’s rare that the content we see is outside of these boundaries, 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.”

It adds that people’s jobs could be at risk if something posted brings British Airways into disrepute, data protection laws, or compromises someone's safety or a colleague’s ability to carry out their role effectively.

The changes come as Mr Doyle is seeking to rebuild relations with BA’s workforce after seeing off the threat of strikes by pilots, cabin and ground crew last year.

Pilots agreed to a 4 per cent pay rise and a reversal of pay cuts agreed during the pandemic to save jobs in the autumn.

This followed 16,000 cabin crew, baggage handlers and engineers receiving a 13pc wage rise.

Short-haul carrier Jet2, Britain’s second-biggest travel company, threw down the gauntlet to its rivals last week by offering staff a 15pc pay rise for 2023. This followed an 8pc increase in April 2022.