Southwest Says Lawsuit Came From Bad Bathroom Humor


A Southwest flight attendant is alleging in a lawsuit that two pilots streamed live video of people, including her, using a bathroom on the aircraft to an iPad in the cockpit. But the airline says it was a prank that went wrong and the pilots deny it altogether. The flight attendant claims in the suit that on a flight from Pittsburgh to Phoenix in February of 2017 she was ordered into the cockpit so the captain could go to the bathroom. Two crew members are required up front for security reasons and flight attendants fill that role on two-pilot flights. Video of the captain entering the lav appeared on an iPad on the glareshield. She alleges the first officer told her that hidden cameras in the bathroom were a new secret security feature on Southwest planes (they’re not) and it appears things got worse after that.

The suit alleges that when the captain returned, he tried to hide the iPad but she’d already taken a picture of it. She reported the incident to company headquarters and alleged in the suit that she endured emotional distress at the thought of the pilots watching her go to the bathroom and suffered retaliation from her managers for pressing the matter. The pilots have denied the allegations and, according to the suit, have kept their jobs. So has the flight attendant. The airline does, however, have some explaining to do and offered the following public statements on Saturday.

“When the incident happened two years ago, we investigated the allegations and addressed the situation with the crew involved,” the company told NBC on Saturday. “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.” It also issued a statement attempting to reassure passengers that when the door closes in that claustrophobic, cold and noisy closet, they are truly alone. “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 said in a statement.

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.

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