A man traveling to San Francisco recently filmed a United Airlines ticket agent in New Orleans who canceled his return flight home over the filming (video below).
Navang Oza told KNTV that the United agent told him that he would be charged $300 to check the same bag that he was charged $125 for on the way to New Orleans.
"I'm trying to get an answer, the lady was being rude," Oza recalled, explaining why he started filming the encounter at that point.
On Oza's video, the United Airlines agent tells him: "You do not have my permission to videotape." She then tells another United employee: "Cancel the reservation."
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"I want to know why," Oza asks the agent, to which she replies: "Because you did not have my permission."
Aviation analyst Mike McCarron told KNTV: "The woman was incorrect. He doesn't have to have her permission to film. She's in a public area, and he can film as much as he wants. As long as he's in a public area and so is she."
The TSA website only addresses filming security checkpoints: "TSA does not prohibit photographing, videotaping or filming at security checkpoints, as long as the screening process is not interfered with or sensitive information is not revealed."
The ACLU website states: "Taking photographs and video of things that are plainly visible in public spaces is a constitutional right -- and that includes transportation facilities, the outside of federal buildings, and police and other government officials carrying out their duties."
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"I was very shocked because I didn't know she had the right to cancel my flight because I started recording," Oza told KNTV.
Oza's video shows that after the United agent cancels his flight, she starts filming Oza without asking his permission and calls the airport police.
Oza asks an airport officer: "Can I at least keep this recording?"
"Sir, you have the right to do whatever you want, it’s a public space," the cop replies.
Oza told the news station that he had alcohol in his system from the night before, and had not slept much. However, the United agent did not cancel his reservation for intoxication, but for the video.
The United agent tells Oza during the video: "Until that [clip] is erased, you’re not traveling."
United Airlines released a statement about the incident:
The video does not reflect the positive customer experience we strive to offer, and for that we apologize. We are reviewing this situation, including talking with Mr. Oza and our employees to better understand what happened.
For his part, Oza encouraged other passengers to film: "If people are being rude, if people are making up rules at kiosks of airlines, I feel like that's something we should be recording and sharing with everyone."
Oza ended up buying a ticket on a different airline and has stated he wants United to reimburse him for the replacement booking.