Southwest Airlines flight attendant Renee Steinaker is suing Southwest, claiming retaliation for reporting two pilots who allegedly placed a hidden camera in an onboard lavatory.
This is a really bizarre story. It begins onboard a Southwest flight from Baltimore to Phoenix in 2017, when Steinaker was asked to step into the cockpit while one of the pilots used the lavatory. This was not an odd request, as U.S. law requires at least two people in the flight deck at all times in-flight.
But when she sat down, she noticed an iPad near the windshield that appeared to be displaying a live action feed of the forward lavatory (she saw the pilot step in). When she asked about, she claimed the other pilot became very flustered, stammering that the footage she was seeing was part of a new “top-secret security measure”. She did not believe him, pulled out her mobile phone, and snapped a picture of the tablet.
Steinaker alleged that when the aircraft landed in Phoenix, both pilots rushed off immediately…which is contrary to Southwest policy that requires them to wait for the passengers to deplane first.
Oddly, Steinaker claims she and her husband, who is also a Southwest flight attendant, became the object of scrutiny after she reported the incident to her boss. The pilots continued to fly while Steinaker and her husband have now been subject to stalking by managers and an increase in performance audits.
Southwest told the Arizona Republic:
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. At this time, we have no other comment on the pending litigation.
Mark this story as developing, as it is too early to jump to any conclusions. While it sounds like voyeurism, you have to wonder why a pilot would be so stupid as to leave the live stream running while he went into the lavatory himself. And why would Southwest protect two pervert pilots?
What do you think happened here?
image: Southwest Airlines