A Southwest Airlines pilot is suing her airline after the captain in charge of flight WN6607 from Philadelphia to Orlando on August 10, 2020 pleaded guilty “to dead-bolting the cockpit door during a flight and stripping naked in front of her.”
As she explains it, the flight was the first time she’d met the man. He said it was hire retirement flight (though he actually continued to fly for 3 more weeks). And he shared that there was “something he wanted to do” before he retired. And then…
She said he bolted the door so no flight attendant could enter. He then put the plane on autopilot, stripped off his clothes, began watching pornography on his laptop and committed a lewd act for 30 minutes while taking photos and videos of himself.
In his version of the story, she asked him if he wanted to do anything before he retired. That actually seems like a natural question – take a certain routing, make a special announcement – not an invitation to a ‘lewd act’. He says she told him to take his clothes off and that’s all he actually did. He says she “made sexual advances after he disrobed” and that he rejected her advances. She took photos of the incident – he said as part of the prank, she says to create a record of his harassment. At sentencing he called it all “a consensual prank” that went wrong.
But if that’s all that happened, she wouldn’t be suing the airline. She says she reported the incident to Southwest, that he had “an alleged history of sexual misconduct” and that the airlines didn’t take action against him while “managers disparaged her in memos.”
It took her 3 months to report the incident, she says because she’s been intimidated by superiors. The airline took no action since the pilot had already retired – so she went to the FBI. Southwest, she says, retaliated against her for doing so – grounding her for over three months and imposing sim training prior to her return to the cockpit – and sending a memo disparaging her to other pilots.
As for her union, she says they simply supported the pilot and sought to assist him in obtaining leniency.
According to Southwest Airlines,
Our corporate Culture is built upon treating others with mutual respect and dignity, and the events alleged in this situation are inconsistent with the behavior that we require of our Employees.
I should hope so! And neither is it consistent with the behavior they require when the airline’s pilots watch a livestream of passengers in the lavatory from inside the cockpit.