Intercom Hack Creeps American Passengers


American Airlines flight crews are reporting several incidents in which someone appears to have hacked into aircraft PA systems and now passenger video of one incident has come to light. “The weirdest flight ever. These sounds started over the intercom before takeoff and continued throughout the flight,” passenger Emerson Collins posted on Twitter. “They couldn’t stop it, and after landing still had no idea what it was.”

According to OneMileAtATime, the PA system has spontaneously erupted in a male voice moaning and screaming. In one case, a pilot came over the system to assure passengers the strangeness didn’t compromise safety. In another case, flight attendants stood by all the hung-up intercom phones in the cabin while the perpetrator droned on. So far, it’s apparently only happened on American flights.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

Other AVwebflash Articles


  1. They can “hack” the intercom, but don’t worry they can’t “hack” the computerized flight control system, system, system, system, system.

    • “We’re all about safety (but not cyber security ’cause hacking into the coms can’t possibly mean other blackbox systems are compromised…)” says AAL and the FAA.

      • Bear in mind that Boeing uses an OS provided by a nearby software creator. So if your computer can be hacked…

  2. One can only imagine the “harmless fun” someone could have piping embarrassing sounds and conversations throughout a commercial flight. The problem is what other systems could be hacked?

  3. OK … we know what happened … NOW I wanna know what ways there are to hack into that system. It’s not a WiFi or bluetooth type system so … what ways are there to hack into it. Is that system digital or is it analog? Someone didn’t hold a cell phone close to a wire and breathe heavy. And airliners are full enough that if someone were somehow transmitting aboard the aircraft, there’d likely be a witness. This is an ‘inside’ job by someone who knows how that system works and wanted to play a prank. Once they know how they got in, they know how to secure it.

    And who is this guy in the video … HE doesn’t seem very surprised and — in fact — seems pleasantly amused. Did they determine HE isn’t somehow involved.

    Meanwhile, all the kinky people will be flying American now … 🙂
    AND … the bad boys have a new idea to spoil our flying days. I’ve heard it all, now.