The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association has publicly rebutted allegations that two of its members installed a hidden camera in an aircraft lavatory and live-streamed the footage to an iPad in the flight deck. The union claimed the accusations were “completely false” and a “poor attempt at humor” following widespread media reporting of a lawsuit being brought against Southwest Airlines and two of its pilots by flight attendant Renee Steinaker.
Steinaker originally filed the complaint in the Superior Court of Arizona in October 2018 but has recently won approval to pursue her claim against the airline and its pilots. The Phoenix-based flight attendant claims she saw footage from the lavatory being live-streamed to an iPad mounted to the windscreen in the flight deck during an April 2017 flight between Pittsburgh and Phoenix.
The lawsuit alleges that one of the pilots admitted the footage was live and initially claimed Southwest Airlines had installed secret cameras in lavatories across its entire fleet. When she reported her concerns to the airline, Steinaker alleges her supervisors tried to “silence and intimidate” her so that the damaging allegations weren’t made public.
It’s alleged no further action was taken against the two pilots despite the serious allegations made by Steinaker and her fellow flight attendants.
But the Southwest Airlines Pilots Associations says the whole incident was simply “a poor attempt at humor where the pilot took a selfie video from the chest up, fully clothed, in the lavatory of a completely different airplane months before Flight 1088.” He then “replayed the exact same selfie video on his iPad when Ms. Steinaker came into the cockpit,” the union explains.
While the airline has chosen not to publicly comment on specifics of the case, the pilots union has offered more details about what happened in the aftermath of this incident, going onto say:
“All crewmembers, including the flight attendants, were debriefed on and informed of such by Southwest Airlines after a thorough investigation was conducted by Southwest Airlines that revealed no corroboration of the flight attendant’s allegations.”
Reinforcing its message, the union has categorically denied that either Southwest or its pilots have ever recorded anyone using an onboard lavatory.
The president of the Southwest Airlines flight attendants union, Lyn Montgomery brought attention to the lawsuit when she Tweeted about the case on 26th October but has since deleted the Tweet. TWU 556, the official name of the union, has not commented on the case being brought by Steinaker.