Passengers and flight attendants on American Airlines flights keep on hearing “moaning” and “screaming” noises over the airplane’s intercom, and no one seems to know where the mystery sounds are coming from.
The human-sounding noises, which one passenger described as being “somewhere between an orgasm and vomiting”, have affected several American Airlines flights across both Boeing and Airbus aircraft with the first reports dating back to the start of September.
The alarming nature of the sounds has been enough to put flight crew on edge, with increasing speculation that the intercom system may have somehow been hacked – although AA denies this could be a possibility and there is no evidence at present to suggest that this has actually happened.
A passenger on a flight from Santa Ana to Dallas Fort Worth on September 18 told aviation insider JonNYC that “someone keeps hacking into the PA and making moaning and screaming sounds”.
The passenger said flight attendants had guarded every phone (known as an interphone in the industry) onboard, but the sounds continued. Reassuringly, the Captain told passengers that they didn’t believe the flight systems have been compromised, so the flight carried on without further incident.
Still, another passenger on the same flight said flight attendants seemed “spooked” and JonNYC has received several reports of similar incidents, all on AA flights.
Actor Emerson Collins even managed to record the sounds on a flight from September 6. As it continued, a flight attendant agreed that the sounds must have been a prank, although upon landing the source of the sounds still hadn’t been identified.
JonNYC has even managed to get hold of a chat on an internal AA messaging board in which a flight attendants say they encountered the noises on a flight on September 5. “I am hoping someone can explain what was going on otherwise the ac [aircraft] is straight up haunted,” the flight attendant wrote.
In that incident, the flight attendant explains how the Captain first started receiving interphone calls with someone breathing down the line. At this point, all the flight attendants were involved in the service and no interphone calls had been made.
“Then our phones started to go off as an all call [in which every interphone is called at one on a party line] and when we would answer it would be just the tone sound,” the flight attendants explained.
“Next the breathing noise started coming over the PA [public address system] and it is loud. It literally sounds like someone taking a big breath in and out. it happened throughout the flight and on top of the breathing noise a groaning, moaning guttural throat sound would play over the PA.”
“It sounded completely out of a horror film.”
Another flight attendant agreed that the noise sounded like it belonged in a “Halloween movie”, but apparently maintenance had been unable to work out what was causing the noise.
A spokesperson for American Airlines claims the noises on one aircraft were down to a faulty intercom system, but the carrier is still investigating the other reports.
In a statement, the airline told us: “The PA systems onboard our aircraft are hardwired and there is no external access. Following the initial report, our maintenance team thoroughly inspected the aircraft and the PA system and determined the sounds were caused by a mechanical issue with the PA amplifier, which raises the volume of the PA system when the engines are running.”
“Our team is reviewing the additional reports.”
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.