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A flight attendant for Southwest Airlines alleges she stumbled upon a disturbing sight when she entered the cockpit as part of a routine stand-in measure on a flight between Pittsburgh and Phoenix.
Renee Steinaker has sued Southwest and two pilots, alleging that they livestreamed the plane's restroom and that the airlines continues to let the pilots fly.
Steinaker said the incident occurred during a 2017 flight, when a pilot was going to the bathroom. Airline policy requires that two people be in the cockpit at all times, so Steinaker entered.
She noticed an iPad mounted on the windshield that was streaming what appeared to be a live feed from the plane's bathroom, which the pilot had just entered, Steinaker's lawsuit said.
She alleged that the co-pilot who remained in the cockpit looked "panicked" and said the video was part of a new, top-secret security measure. She didn't believe him, and reported the incident to the airline.
Steinaker and her husband, who is also a flight attendant, alleged that they have been stalked and monitored by managers in a "threatening and bizarre manner" since reporting the incident.
Southwest Airlines did not comment on the lawsuit, but told The Arizona Republic in a statement that it does not place cameras in restrooms.
A flight attendant sued Southwest Airlines after she reported a disturbing discovery she made in a plane's cockpit.
A lawsuit filed by Renee Steinaker alleged that she was working on a flight between Pittsburgh and Phoenix when she was asked to enter the cockpit so that one of the two pilots could leave and use the bathroom. The request wasn't unusual, because Southwest policy requires that two people be in the cockpit at all times, according to Steinaker's lawsuit.
But when Steinaker entered, she noticed an iPad mounted on the plane's windshield, displaying what appeared to be live footage of the plane's bathroom, which the pilot had just entered.
Steinaker said the co-pilot remaining in the cockpit looked "panicked" once he realized what she was looking at, and he told her the footage was a new top-secret security measure. Steinaker was suspicious and took a photo of the display, according to the lawsuit.
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Steinaker also alleged that when the plane touched down at its destination, both pilots left immediately — against Southwest policy. The lead pilot who had gone to the bathroom even left behind a loaded firearm against regulations, the lawsuit said.
Steinaker then reported the incident, which occurred on February 27, 2017, to the airline. That was when she and her husband, who is also a Southwest flight attendant, began to experience what they believed was retaliation.
The lawsuit alleged that the airline allowed the two pilots to continue flying, and that Steinaker and her husband have been stalked and are being monitored by managers in a "threatening and bizarre manner." The couple also said they have been subjected to more performance audits.
In a statement provided to The Arizona Republic, Southwest Airlines 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."