TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – For the past two decades, Renee Steinaker has worked as a flight attendant for Southwest Airlines. The longtime employee from Maricopa County, Arizona, loves what she does for a living.
During the twenty years she’s been with Southwest, Steinaker has traveled all over the country, and she’s always enjoyed her career.
That is, until February 2017.
If you ask any veteran flight attendant what they’ve seen during their tenure at 30,000 feet, they’ll tell you, most likely without hesitation, they’ve encountered just about everything on the job.
Seemingly, nothing shocks them.
Renee Steinaker, however, was stunned when she saw something on a February flight from Pittsburgh to Phoenix.
Even after a career spanning two decades in the sky, witnessing countless moments on hundreds of flights, she said this made her want to vomit.
Nothing could’ve prepared her, her attorney told reporters. For what his client saw on that flight shook her to her core. She says she felt physically ill.
In fact, Steinaker’s attorney said his client remains horrified, emotionally scarred after the alleged discovery on board that flight.
According to court documents, the flight attendant said she discovered a live-stream on the flight, broadcasting from a very intimate location on the plane. The bathroom.
Court documents outline her claims, accusing the two pilots of invading her privacy with a hidden camera, she said, concealed in the lavatory. Upon finding the equipment on board, Steinaker said she suffered emotional distress, absolutely devastated at the possibility that she was recorded while using the toilet and disrobing.
She said she felt violated after witnessing the two pilots allegedly recording video in the bathroom as they streamed the content.
Her lawyer, Ronald Goldman, said, “She was horrified.”
In the lawsuit, she claims to have seen an iPad in the cockpit, mounted to a windshield, where she identified the pilot, Captain Terry Graham “in the lavatory.”
“A cockpit is a serious place,” Goldman remarked. “It’s certainly not a place for frat boys or frat boy conduct, or for pilots to use it for a playground for a peeping Tom.”
The flight attendant claims the co-pilot, Ryan Russell, told her, “not to tell anyone about the camera or the recordings” because they were on the “downlow.”
Steinaker’s attorney said she snapped a photo of the iPad for evidence.
According to the lawsuit, the longtime employee was told “the cameras were new,” that they were on all of Southwest Airlines 737-800s. The paperwork also states the flight attendant was told the cameras were in all bathrooms on that particular flights.
So, what was the reaction of Southwest Airlines?
According to NBC News, the airline released a statement saying, “They will vigorously defend the lawsuit, we can confirm from our investigation that there was never a camera man in the lavatory. The incident was an inappropriate attempt at humor which the company did not condone.”
As for Renee Steinaker, she still flies the skies with Southwest Airlines as a flight attendant.
And, while she may be employed, she’s looking for something more powerful than a paycheck. She wants justice, according to her attorney.
So far, no trial date has been set. The lawsuit seeks specified awards.
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