BA denies gagging pilot with more than 100k Twitter followers

By Linsey McNeill
03/02/2023
Home » BA denies gagging pilot with more than 100k Twitter followers

British Airways has been slammed on social media after telling one of its most popular pilots that he could no longer tweet while on the job.

Dave Wallsworth, who tweets as Captain Dave, told his 111k followers on Thursday that newly published company guidelines meant an end to his flying posts, photos and videos.

The A350 pilot had regularly entertained his followers with photos taken from the flight deck, such as images of Barcelona, Majorca and Palma taken during a flight to Cape Town earlier this week.

He also posted his flight maps and occasional images of the flight deck itself, along with other personal and professional content.

However, in a pinned tweet, Dave wrote on Thursday: “Unfortunately, due to newly published company guidelines, I and my colleagues will no longer be allowed to post when ‘professionally engaged in our job’ @ British_Airways . So that’s the end of my flying posts, photos and videos. Thanks for the lovely comments over the years.”

Fans responded, calling BA’s response ‘silly’, ‘short-sighted’, ‘ridiculous’ and ‘a self-inflicted wound’.

One wrote: “Do you really want BA’s presence on social media to just be responding to complaints,” and another said BA was ‘silencing a powerful, positive and influential brand amassador’.

One questioned if it was sensible to trust a captain to fly a $500m plane but not to tweet.

But BA told Travel Gossip it hadn’t stopped any colleague from posted on social media, adding: “We’ve simply given our people clarity about what’s appropriate and when.

“For example, 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.”

BA’s social media guidelines, updated on 25 January, include a long list of dos and don’ts, such as not capturing content ‘when professional engaged in your job’, including on the flight deck, and not posting ‘sensitive content’ such as data from the flight deck, detailed flight plans or other technical data and anything shot in the flight deck without prior approval.

However, BA said in the guidelines that it was ‘an advocate for the benefits that social media can offer when used respectfully and appropriately’. It added: “We positively encourage and value the contributions that you, our colleagues, make on social media by sharing your passion for original content creation and your pride for working at BA.”

*Image is from BA photo stock

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