WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- A Southwest Airlines flight attendant has sued the airline company, accusing pilots of live-streaming video from a hidden bathroom camera on a 2017 flight.
- Southwest denied placing cameras in aircraft lavatories and claimed that the incident “was an inappropriate attempt at humor which the company did not condone.”
- The flight attendant claimed that when she reported the incident, a supervisor warned her not to tell anybody.
A flight attendant has sued Southwest Airlines, accusing pilots of live-streaming video from a hidden bathroom camera on a 2017 flight.
On Saturday, Southwest denied placing cameras in aircraft lavatories.
The company declared, “When the incident happened two years ago, we investigated the allegations and addressed the situation with the crew involved. We can confirm from our investigation that there was never a camera in the lavatory; the incident was an inappropriate attempt at humor which the company did not condone.”
Southwest has been known for its flight crews’ joking and irreverent behavior.
According to the lawsuit, flight attendant Renee Steinaker entered the cockpit to be the required second person in the cockpit. The pilot got up to use the bathroom about 2½ hours into a Feb. 27, 2017, flight from Pittsburgh to Phoenix.
When Steinaker saw the pilot in the video being streamed on the iPad, the co-pilot had “a panicked look on his face.” The co-pilot acknowledged the video but claimed it was a new “top-secret security measure installed in all of Southwest’s Boeing 737-800 planes.”
Steinaker took a cellphone photo of the iPad video and reported it to Southwest management, but a supervisor warned her not to tell anybody about the incident.
Steinaker was told, “If this got out, if this went public, no one, I mean no one, would ever fly our airline again.”
Attorneys for the airlines and the two pilots denied the live-streaming accusations. Southwest also declared on Saturday that it will vigorously contest the suit.
The suit against them was originally filed on behalf of the Steinakers, who were both Southwest flight attendants, in an Arizona state court in October 2018 and was moved to a Phoenix federal court in late August.
The couple’s attorney, Ronald L. M. Goldman, said the alleged live-streaming intrudes on users’ privacy and also compromises safety by distracting crew members.
Goldman declared, “The cockpit of a commercial airliner is not a playground for peeping toms.”
According to an initial version of the suit, both spouses allegedly experienced harassment, discrimination, and retaliation following Steinaker’s report.
The trial date is yet to be scheduled for the suit, which seeks various damages claims.