Daniel Draken is the commander of the Federal Ministry of Defence’s readiness to fly; Born in 1967, married, three children. Was one allowed to fly? Possibly. He would wish it. On the other hand, why should Colonel Draken’s children be allowed to fly, but not the children of other servants? Just because Draken is the commander?

These are not easy questions that Draken’s boss, Federal Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD), raised with her recent helicopter flight. They concern access to state-funded privileges. Such are the means of travel of the readiness to fly. The Air Force Association takes care of the transport of people and material worldwide. His second important task is the promotion of political personnel. There are regulations for this area, to which Minister Lambrecht refers when she says more than once: Legally, everything was clean, impeccable, completely in order or at least unassailable in every respect.

Nobody will dispute that. On the other hand, nobody will be able to deny that the son in the helicopter gave a picture of himself and thus indirectly of his mother, which is better not shown again. So in the future there will be neither son flights in nor son photos from the machines of the flight readiness. As a result, the rules allow for something that one may, but should not, use.

In fact, a major reason for Lambrecht’s misfortune lies in the “Guideline for the use of aircraft of the BMVg’s readiness to fly for the transport of people from the political and parliamentary area”. It gives those who are entitled to make requests, such as chancellors, ministers or parliamentary group leaders, the opportunity to designate companions for their business trips. The guideline assumes that the fellow passengers perform a function, such as personal protection, or at least are on the passenger list “in the interest of the federal government”, then with proportionate costs. “Special guests” who travel free of charge like “personal companions” are only intended for the Chancellor, President and Foreign Minister. Lambrecht’s son is none of that, he took off as an “other companion” who had to pay the full price calculated according to the Lufthansa tariff.

The “other companion” is so fuzzy in terms of control technology that it can be used for private purposes. It doesn’t matter whether it’s your spouse, your son or someone you love in some other way. Here the guideline creates a sanctuary for parents who look after their children. As well as a leisure experience for male friends or bar buddies. It is up to the person entitled to make the request whether to use this opportunity shamelessly or limit it to what is absolutely necessary. This opens up the range of political discussions that Lambrecht currently has to endure. The argument of legality, which the minister so often uses, not only plays no part in this, but also distracts from the topic.

For the future it would be conceivable that the guideline would name the “other companion” as what he is, namely as a private companion. This would make it clear that the flight service provides seats for a non-official, family or friendly sphere of its political users. People who are close to you are not others. It would then also no longer appear as if someone were exploiting what is actually not their right. The discussion about Lambrecht could take a different course, because the directive would then not quietly allow her to act, but expressly authorize her to do so.

The problem would be: There could be snapshots again. And everything would probably be even more embarrassing than it is now.