Southwest Airlines Pilots ‘Live-Streamed’ Plane Toilet On Hidden Camera, Lawsuit Says
By Parker Diakite
UPDATE 10.31.19 – In a response to the recent allegations and lawsuit from a flight attendant that two pilots live-streamed video from inside an airplane bathroom, Southwest Airlines’ pilots union says its members never recorded video of anyone in an airplane lavatory.
The union said in a statement, that the pre-recorded video seen by the flight attendant was a “poor attempt at humor,” Dallas News is reporting.
“Southwest Airlines has never placed cameras and never videoed anyone in any lavatory, and the pilots on Flight 1088 did not video anyone,” a statement from the pilots union reads.
The union, which represents more than 9,700 of Dallas-based Southwest’s pilots, said the video the flight attendant saw was “a pre-recorded selfie.”
Original 10.29.19 A Southwest Airlines flight attendant says two pilots live-streamed video from a hidden camera in a commercial airliner’s lavatory to an iPad in the cockpit, a lawsuit alleges.
According to court documents, the incident happened on a flight from Pittsburgh to Pheonix on Feb. 27, 2017.
About two and a half hours into the flight, Capt. Terry Graham asked for a flight attendant to come into the cockpit so he could leave to use the restroom as airline policy requires at least two crew members to be in the cockpit at all times.
The flight attendant, who filed the lawsuit, was identified as Renee Steinaker. She said in the lawsuit that she spotted an iPad in the plane’s cockpit that appeared to be streaming love video inside the plane’s bathroom.
Steinaker asked co-pilot, Ryan Russell, whether the iPad was streaming video from the lavatory and he allegedly told her the camera was a part of “a new security and top-secret security measure that had been in the bathrooms of all Southwest Airlines’ 737-800 plane,” the lawsuit alleges.
In documents obtained by CNN, the pilots responded in a written statement, admitting Graham’s iPad was located in the cockpit and that Steinaker asked if it was live streaming from the bathroom. Both pilots, however, deny the other allegations or say they don’t have sufficient knowledge to respond.
Southwest Airlines told CNN it would “vigorously defend the lawsuit,” adding that officials investigated the allegation two years ago and found that there was “never a camera in the lavatory.”
“The incident was an inappropriate attempt at humor which the company did not condone, ” a spokesperson told CNN. “The safety and security of our Employees and Customers is Southwest’s uncompromising priority. As such, Southwest does not place cameras in the lavatories of our aircraft.”
Steinaker and her husband are suing the airline and the pilots for an invasion of privacy, causing Renee Steinaker emotional distress, sexual harassment and retaliation. They are seeking at least $50,000 in damages, CNN is reporting.