I’m sure you heard by now that a Southwest Airlines flight attendant has filed a lawsuit against Southwest Airlines for causing her emotional distress. Her claim is that two Southwest pilots had secretly placed a hidden camera in the bathroom and was live streaming video to the cockpit. Now I am going to go out on a limb and say that this is nothing but a prank gone wrong.
As pranks go, this one was pretty lame. So lame in fact that it resulted in a lawsuit, and I’m guessing a visit to the chief pilot’s office. But first, a little history.
Pilot’s have been playing pranks on flight attendants from the first time flight attendants were put on planes. There’s the prank where you tell the flight attendant that the gear is stuck and that she needs to go back in the center of the plane and jump up and down to get the gear unstuck. My personal favorite goes like this: You hand an unsuspecting flight attendant a note with a passenger’s name on it. The name on the note is Hugh Jass. You tell the flight attendant to please make an announcement over the PA asking this passenger to identify themselves. No matter how articulate the flight attendant is, it always comes out over the PA as passenger Huge Ass.
Now some flight attendants will get the joke and laugh it off. Other’s might get angry and not speak to you the rest of the flight. It takes a lot to get a flight attendant to file a lawsuit.
So, we have two Southwest Airline pilots decide that they want to play a prank on this particular flight attendant. One of the two comes up with the idea of trying to convince her that there are hidden cameras in the lavatory. Creative, but not very funny. There were all kinds of clues. The pilot claimed that there were hidden cameras in all the new 737-800 aircraft. He claimed that it was top secret. He told her to keep it on the downlow. The FO let the flight attendant see the image or video.
Here is the proper response to a prank like this. Once on the ground, tell the two pilots that you have reported the incident to management. Take it a step further and have someone call the captain pretending to be a chief pilot. That should put an end to future pranks.
Here is the official statement from Southwest Airlines concerning this incident:
“Southwest Airlines has never placed cameras and never videoed anyone in any lavatory, and the pilots on Flight 1088 did not video anyone. The incident, which occurred over two years ago, was a poor attempt at humor where the pilot took a selfie video from the chest up, fully clothed, in the lavatory of a completely different airplane months before Flight 1088 and then replayed the exact same selfie video on his iPad when Ms. Steinaker came into the cockpit.
“All crew members, including the flight attendants, were debriefed on and informed of such by Southwest Airlines after a thorough investigation was conducted by Southwest Airlines that revealed no corroboration of the flight attendant’s allegations.”