“Film me - I’m Instagram famous!”
Those were the words of model Morgan Osman, 35, recorded on an American Airlines flight from Miami last Wednesday. The influencer began shouting at passengers who whipped out their phones to capture the scene. However US civil aviation is now advising that recording problem behaviour is doing more harm than good.
After a particularly chaotic summer of midair meltdowns a US Federal Aviation Administration official has warned passengers that recording videos of air rage incidents may only be adding to the drama.
It was once thought that the arrival of the smartphone might be the cure for problem passengers. With bad behaviour being instantly accountable for in viral clips, it was hoped that surly travellers might check their behaviour or become tomorrow’s frontpage of TikTok.
But the argument for the Panopticon of social media has long been debunked, with behaviour only getting worse on planes.
Earlier this year the FAA published figures that after a record highs in 2021, airlines have referred an additional 250 badly behaved travellers to the FBI for criminal investigation.
“The rate of unruly passenger incidents has dropped by over 80 per cent since record-highs in early 2021 but unacceptable behaviour continues to occur,” said the FAA.
The presence of smartphone lenses appears to be adding to this, says Trey Walters, a safety representative for the FAA.
In an interview for Insider Magazine Walters, a former airline pilot, said that the presence of cameras increases the risk of erratic behaviour and the risk to flight crew.
“If a flight attendant, for example, is trying to attend to a passenger that’s having an issue, having people reaching their hands out in front of that person’s face, trying to record the situation definitely creates added risk.”
The Osman-American Airlines incident was a perfect example of this.
“I’m Instagram famous, you f*****g bum,” she can be heard shouting on the recording, as she grabs her luggage and storms off the plane. “Call me a b***** again, I did nothing wrong!”
The US influencer said that her foul-mouth tirade wouldn’t have been quite so explosive, without the pressure of cameras.
“I decided to leave, and when they knew that, they decided to take out their camera,” she told TMZ this week.
“Obviously, things transpired before the camera rolls, we all know that, so I feel it’s unfair that people are attacking me when I was provoked and reacted.”
As a former airline pilot and flight-trainer, Walters said that the phenomenon of passengers rushing to film mid-air drama was a real concern.
It distracts crew from their duty and can be an exacerbating factor.
Last month passenger Tiffany Gomas said her life had been ruined by a clip, recorded on a Florida-bound aircraft from Dallas-Fort Worth.
Gomas was recorded ranting and wildly gesticulating, during the episode.
“Everyone can either believe it or they cannot believe it […]But I am telling you right now, that person back there is not real,” she said before being deplaned.
The 38-year-old marketing executive said her life had “blown up” after the New York Post identified her as the woman in the viral “crazy plane lady” clip. She has since used the viral plane fame to advocate for mental-health problems and combat online bullying.
Some airlines have already begun asking passengers to not film other travellers aboard their aircraft as part of their terms of carriage.
“Hopefully, more airlines will take a stance and encourage people to be kind and considerate,” says Walters.