- A Southwest Airlines flight attendant said an airline official told her not to go public with allegations that pilots had been watching a livestream of the plane’s bathroom.
- According to media reports, Renee Steinaker says she was told “if this went public, no one, I mean no one, would ever fly our airline again.”
- Steinaker is suing Southwest, claiming she saw the pilots spying on the bathroom on an iPad in 2017.
- Southwest said it investigated and could not find any cameras and would “vigorously defend the lawsuit.”
- While denying that there were cameras in the bathroom, the airline reportedly told the Daily Mail that the incident involved an “inappropriate attempt at humor” but did not clarify what that meant.
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A flight attendant who has accused pilots of watching video footage of the plane’s bathroom says an airline official told her not to go public or “no one would ever fly our airline again.”
Renee Steinaker, who is suing Southwest Airlines, says that during a 2017 flight she saw an iPad in the cockpit showing what appeared to be live footage of the plane’s bathroom and that one of the pilots told her it was a “top-secret security measure,” according to court documents.
Also in the complaint, Steinaker says an unnamed airline official told her to keep quiet, telling her: “If this got out, if this went public, no one, I mean no one, would ever fly our airline again,” according to the UK’s Daily Mail newspaper.
Steinaker, who has worked for Southwest for decades, is now suing the airline, alleging emotional distress, negligence, invasion of privacy, and sexual harassment, according to The New York Times.
Southwest said it investigated the plane and couldn’t find any cameras. It told The Times on Saturday that it would “vigorously defend the lawsuit.”
“We can confirm from our investigation that there was never a camera in the lavatory,” Southwest Airlines said in a statement to the Daily Mail.
The airline also said the incident involved “an inappropriate attempt at humor, which the company did not condone,” but did not clarify what it meant by that, the Daily Mail said.
Steinaker also said in the lawsuit that she and her husband, also a Southwest flight attendant, experienced what they believed was retaliation from managers.
They both kept working for the airline after filing the lawsuit, which claims that Southwest let the two pilots keep flying.
The lawsuit claims that she took a photo of the iPad display in the cockpit with her phone.
Steinaker said the pilot who noticed her looking at it looked “panicked” when he realized. She says he acknowledged it was a livestream of the bathroom but said it was a secret security measure installed in the plane model, a Boeing 737-800.
She said both pilots immediately left the plane after it landed, which is against the airline’s policy. Lawyers for the two pilots did not respond to The Times.