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Pilots Caught Filming Passengers in the Bathroom?

Pilots Caught Filming Passengers in the Bathroom?
Jackie Reddy

A member of the Southwest Airlines cabin crew has filed a suit against the carrier over allegations that two pilots on a 2017 Phoenix-bound flight from Pittsburgh were spying via a camera placed in the plane’s lavatory. Southwest has strongly denied the presence of a camera in the plane’s bathroom.

A member of the cabin crew with Southwest Airlines is taking legal action against the carrier amid claims that two pilots were clandestinely streaming video from a plane lavatory to the cockpit on one of her flights, The Arizona Republic reports.

According to suit, which was filed in Arizona, the incident involved crew member Renee Steinaker, who was working on Phoenix-bound Southwest Airlines Flight 1088 from Pittsburgh on February 27th, 2017.

The action documents that, around two and a half hours into the service, the flight’s captain, Terry Graham, requested that Steinaker enter the cockpit to enable him to use the bathroom. According to the outlet, “Southwest Airlines policy requires two crew members in the cockpit at all times, so Steinaker was asked to staff the cockpit with co-pilot Ryan Russell in Graham’s absence.”

Upon entering the cockpit, Steinacker noticed an iPad, which appeared to be showing live footage of Captain Graham in the plane’s bathroom. She was then told by Russell that the devices were a “top-secret security measure” that had been implemented across the airline’s fleet, a claim that she did not believe.

Steinaker then took a photo of the device with her phone as evidence.

Steinaker’s legal representative, Ronald L.M. Goldman, offered his comments to the outlet about the incident, saying, “They led her to believe that she and others had been filmed — had been videotaped if you will — while they were using the lavatory. It’s really hard to imagine a more outrageous kind of conduct.”

Upon arrival in Phoenix, it is further reported that both Graham and Russell exited the plane and left it unattended. Graham is also said to have left behind a firearm within the cockpit of the plane.

Steinaker and her colleagues then reported the incident to Southwest, but she was advised not to speak about what had happened. Additionally, the lawsuit reveals that both Steinaker and her husband David, who also works as a member of cabin crew, have been stalked, subjected to an increase in performance audits and apparently even monitored by their managers in a “threatening and bizarre manner” as a consequence of the incident.

In an e-mailed statement to the outlet, a spokesperson for the airline said, “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.”

Over the weekend, the outlet received an additional statement from a Southwest spokesperson, which read, “Southwest will vigorously defend the lawsuit. 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.”

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