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B.A. under scrutiny over Employee Social Media Policy

The proper times to avoid posting online have been stressed to employees.

The social media policy of British Airways has been updated to clarify when and how workers are permitted to share anything online related to their jobs. The airline has reminded personnel not to post while “professionally engaged,” even though employees of the UK flag carrier historically enjoyed a considerable amount of latitude on this front.

An interesting perspective on airline life

The online avgeek community has grown significantly over the past few years on social media. Even while everyone enjoys sharing their photos of planespotting online, some of the most fascinating accounts are those that are maintained by actual airline employees.

These enlighten viewers in an intriguing way on professions that most of us might only hope to hold. Of course, employees of airlines, particularly those whose jobs involve safety-critical responsibilities, must exercise responsibility and restraint in this situation.

In a BALPA post, it is mentioned that, for instance, two EasyJet pilots ran afoul of the law few years ago for using Snapchat in the airspace. However, in general, sharing the sky with passengers and flight attendants has been favorably accepted online.

Virgin Atlantic pilot Chris Pohl is among the most well-known individuals who uses social media in this capacity. ‘Captain Chris’ recounted his trip to the left seat of the airline’s Airbus A350s during an interview with Simple Flying in 2021. Pohl has 362,000 followers on Instagram, where he has been verified and showcases his life in the air.

British Airways updates its policies

Regarding how their staff members utilize social media, many airlines have varied policies. Regarding British Airways, BALPA stated in 2018 that images of the flight deck could only be taken above 20,000 feet. However, the internet community has expressed worry over a recent update to the UK flag carrier’s employee social media policy.

On social media last evening, profiles that had previously provided a window into daily life at the carrier explained how their activities will need to change moving ahead due to the refresh. Followings of such accounts reacted adversely to the proposal, which would allegedly ban staff from posting when “professionally engaged.” British Airways responded to Simple Flying’s inquiry with the following information:

“Our employees are now clear on what is appropriate and when. For instance, our coworkers are in charge of ensuring that everyone on board an aircraft is safe. It’s not unfair to urge them to postpone taking pictures until their break. (…) In terms of the actual social media rules, nothing has changed; we have simply provided more clarification on what is and isn’t permitted.

According to the rules, coworkers are forbidden from posting on social media while doing professional duties (such as piloting an airplane or serving customers onboard).” What is the new policy’s language?

The revised external social media policies from British Airways, which were updated on January 25, were graciously given to Simple Flying. The statement acknowledges social media’s benefits for spreading employee enthusiasm for their work and enhancing the overall BA brand.

However, the airline also advised its staff that some information can have unfavorable effects. In light of this, British Airways has requested that its staff refrain from “posting on social media or capturing content while [they] are professionally engaged in [their] job.”

Although the airline was careful to highlight that employees are allowed to post when off duty or on breaks, this appears to have been the main source of the opposition that the decision has experienced. Separate accounts for work and personal use were also advised. No explicit ban, but

Thus, it appears that the revised policy will ensure that employees only post about their jobs when they are not otherwise engaged in safety-critical responsibilities, as opposed to outright forbidding employees from doing so. Thus, despite the first response to the updated criteria, such content may still remain.

The visible and personable presence that airline employees provide to airports across the world can assist and even inspire both travelers and the general public. Airline personnel represent their companies wherever their profession takes them.

The same principles apply to their online activities, and leveraging social media to securely portray life in the sky may potentially play a significant role in motivating future generations to take on similar duties in the years to come. It can be a positive force for both the posters and their followers when handled sensibly and discreetly.

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