September 20, 2019 / 10:15 AM / 3 months ago

Ramp walks, dancing: TikTok videos by Indian airline crew worry aviation watchdog

NEW DELHI, Sept 20 (Reuters) - India’s aviation regulator is concerned about several videos on popular Chinese video app TikTok that show flight crew singing and dancing while on duty, and has asked airlines to take action in the interest of passenger safety, a senior official told Reuters.

The warning from the watchdog comes as it found that social media posts, especially on TikTok, are increasingly featuring flight attendants grooving to popular tunes or lip-syncing movie dialogues while inside an aircraft.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has directed all airlines to rein in such behaviour and will soon seek a compliance report, said a senior official at the department.

“We have issued instructions and told them these are unbecoming,” a DGCA official said, adding that a letter had also been sent to airlines about such “theatrical performances” by crew members which could risk passenger safety.

A TikTok video showing a SpiceJet cabin crew member smiling and walking down the aisle of an airplane full of passengers was reported by local Indian media this week, drawing criticism by people on social media.

SpiceJet Ltd said in a statement on Friday that its crew is strictly prohibited from shooting pictures or videos on-board and it takes strict action against violators.

AirAsia India said it ensures that its staff adheres to strict internal guidelines for social media usage.

Indigo said it had received the communication from the aviation regulator and will take appropriate action where required.

Owned by China’s ByteDance, TikTok is one of the world’s most popular apps. It has become a sensation in India, where it has been downloaded by more than 350 million times, according to analytics firm Sensor Tower.

The app allows users to post short videos with special effects. Hashtags such as #crewlife, #flightattendant are often used for videos involving airline crew and have around 170 million views on the platform.

This week, Reuters found dozens of videos that showed crew from airlines such as IndiGo, AirAsia India and Vistara, part-owned by Singapore Airlines, singing, dancing or ramp walking along an aircraft’s aisle.

Vistara, as well as TikTok, did not respond to a request for comment.

One TikTok video from a user, who identifies herself as “#Dancer #cabincrew #indigo”, shows her and another flight attendant wearing uniform and grooving to a Bollywood song inside a plane and blowing a kiss to the camera.

In another video, a woman TikTok user wearing a shirt with a Vistara logo, and a fluorescent safety jacket on top, is seen dancing to a popular DJ Snake song on an airport apron, with a plane seen in the background.

Vistara’s chief strategy officer Sanjiv Kapoor earlier this year shared guidelines with staff for social media posts, saying only photos which represent the airline in a positive light may be shared, an internal e-mail showed.

“Any photos you post must be classy. No sultry photos please,” Kapoor wrote in his e-mail. (Reporting by Aditi Shah and Aditya Kalra; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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