Oct. 27 (UPI) — A Southwest Airlines flight attendant is suing the airline after accusing two pilots of livestreaming video from inside an airplane bathroom to an iPad in the cockpit.
Flight attendant Renee Steinaker, of Maricopa County, Ariz., said in her lawsuit that she discovered the livestream in the plane’s bathroom in February 2017 during a flight from Pittsburgh to Phoenix. She alleges that her privacy was invaded by the hidden camera and her manager retaliated against her when she reported it to them.
She discovered the livestream when the pilot, Capt. Terry Graham, asked Steinaker to come to the cockpit so he could use the bathroom. Per airline policy, there must be two employees in the cockpit at the time.
But as Steinaker entered the cockpit she noticed an “iPad mounted to the windshield left of the captain’s seat” and saw a livestream of the bathroom. When Graham entered the bathroom, his image came on the screen.
The co-pilot, Ryan Russel, could see the iPad from where he was, so Steinaker confronted him about it. Russell panicked when he realized she could see the iPad, the suit said. Steinaker said in the suit that Russell said the cameras were hidden “so that no one would ever find it” and called them a security measure that had been installed in several Southwest planes.
Steinaker took a photo of the iPad so she could report the incident. When Graham returned, he allegedly tried to hide it from her.
Steinaker “became physically ill” at the thought that pilots had “watched and possibly recorded her disrobing and using the toilet.” She was also worried about children who may have used the bathroom.
Upon landing in Phoenix, she reported the incident to Southwest and was told it was being investigated but no disciplinary action would be taken against the pilot or co-pilot.
They continue to fly for Southwest.
“As a result of the invasion of her privacy, Plaintiff Renee Steinaker has been damaged,” the suit states. “She was unable to work for several days, sought counseling and continues to have physical and mental injuries as a result of the incident.”
Attorneys for the pilots denied that the two livestreamed the bathroom.
Southwest said its planes do not have cameras in the bathrooms.
“The safety and security of our employees and customers is Southwest’s uncompromising priority,” the airline said in a statement. “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.”