A flight attendant for Southwest Airlines has filed a lawsuit against the company, claiming she saw two pilots hide a camera in the bathroom on a 2017 flight.
According to the lawsuit, Renee Steinaker saw an iPad streaming video from the plane’s forward laboratory when she went into the cockpit approximately 2 and a half hours into Flight 1088. The captain, Terry Graham, asked her to come into the cockpit so that he could use the lavatory. The airline requires a second person in the cockpit at all times.
The suit says Steinaker took a photo of the iPad video and showed it to Southwest management and was then warned not to tell anyone about the incident.
The lawsuit was originally filed in an Arizona state court in October 2018 on behalf of Steinaker and her husband, David Steinaker, who is also a Southwest flight attendant. In August, the lawsuit was moved to federal court in Phoenix.
The couple’s lawyer, Ronald L.M. Goldman, said the alleged live streaming put everyone’s safety at risk.
“The cockpit of a commercial airliner is not a playground for peeping Toms. Behavior that distracts and distresses crew members during flight compromises safety,” Goldman said in a statement.
Goldman also said that Steinaker has risked her career by making the incident public and has been subject to retaliation by Southwest.
The lawsuit alleges that Steinaker was physically distressed and couldn’t work for several days after the incident and continues to have “physical, emotional, and mental injuries as a result of the incident.”
Southwest and the two pilots denied the livestreaming allegations.
“When the incident happened two years ago, we investigated the allegations and addressed the situation with the crew involved,” the company’s second statement said. “We can confirm from our investigation that there was never a camera in the lavatory; the incident was an inappropriate attempt at humor which the company did not condone.”
“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,” the airline added.