United Airlines Pilot Sues The Westin Denver Airport Over Indecent Exposure Arrest

A year and a half ago police stormed the Westin Denver airport room of a United Airlines pilot, arresting him for dancing, gyrating and waiving” naked in front of the TSA screening checkpoint below the window of his room.

Police entered with guns drawn. He was naked. He took a phone call, he said, just as he was about to get into the shower. It turns out that,

  • You cannot see out the hotel room window at the people below
  • But they can see into the room

Criminal charges were dismissed. He served a six month suspension from his job at United and became a national news story. Back in November he received a $300,000 settlement from the city, which owns the hotel.

Now he’s suing the hotel itself. He says the hotel has “not yet acknowledged its misconduct in this matter” and his privacy rights were violated by the hotel’s design.

Silverman also said the hotel at DIA needs to make changes alerting guests staying at the hotel that the rooms “do not afford privacy but are in fact visible to unseen people far away in the Denver International Airport terminal.”

He said hotel operators need to take responsibility for what happened and make sure that what happened to the United Airlines pilot never happens to any other customer at The Westin Denver International Airport.

Westin Denver International Airport, Credit: Marriott

The city paid up. They designed the hotel. Law enforcement should pay up, too, there’s absolutely no reason to have stormed the pilot’s hotel room with guns drawn just because his ammunition was pointed at the TSA. And I agree that the hotel operator should have been aware and warned guests “don’t stand naked in from of the window.” On the other hand I’m not sure how many bites at the apple the pilot ought to get here.

It’s rather shocking that this issue at the property still hasn’t been addressed though. There may be people hanging it all out for the security checkpoint to see on a daily basis, or at least there will be again once travel returns to normal.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I’ve still never understood why anyone would have windows in which you can see out, but you can’t see in. I have *never* been in a hotel with a window in which I couldn’t see out. And if I ever was, it would freak me out.

  2. I’ve stayed at the hotel…you definitely can see out, I don’t understand that aspect of the story/claim. I remember looking down at the walkway in between the train stop and the hotel entrance.

  3. I’ve stayed at this hotel twice. I felt I could see out of the windows like normal both times. I’m not sure it’s relevant though–the important part of the story is that you can see into the hotel room and there are definitely large numbers of people moving around outside on a constant basis that are likely to be able to see in. It’s an airport, after all.

  4. The only way this is going to stop is if cops have their homes broken into by citizens who have guns drawn and who place their naked wives and naked daughters under citizens arrest. Until cops and their families face the same consequences as they place on regular citizens this nonsense won’t stop. Cops get away because at worst the county, state or federal government loses some money and cops don’t suffer physical consequences and physical punishment for their actions that will deter them. I say this as a Christian conservative: cops are henchmen for big government politicians, judges and bureaucrats who will blindly follow orders and act with poor judgement. Cops are just as bad as thugs.

  5. It’s physics. Even clear window aren’t completely transparent so some of the light from either side is reflected. During the day the outside is much brighter so the windows appear to be mostly opaque looking in and clear looking out. At night it’s the reverse.

    In addition most windows are coated on the outside pane to either keep heat out (in southern climates) or the inside pane to keep heat in (in northern ones). These coatings are tuned to be primarily reflective in the UV part of the spectrum but they aren’t perfect so there is some mirror effect in the visible portion.

    The reason for drapes is that it is well known that at night when lights are on in a room people outside can see you even if you can’t see them. I’m astounded this is news to an adult, let alone a pilot.

  6. “I’m not sure how many bites at the apple the pilot ought to get here.”

    I do.

    He should sue every single person in sight for every dime they have until he runs out of targets. Every damn one of them.

    Like that Covington Catholic kid.

    The crap that these arrogant government types pull is getting completely out of hand in this country. Money seems to be the only thing they understand. So get their attention.

  7. Upon looking into this it happened during the daytime, not at night.

    Apparently its not that you can’t see out the windows during the day (that’s not possible) but that he was enjoying the view and was unaware there was a clear line of sight from the terminal into his room.

    Given no one was in mortal danger the police should have just knocked on the door and said “hey fella, do you know people can see you?” They paid the cost for that mistake but is it really negligence not to place a warning in every hotel room with a window stating “warning you can be seen from the outside?”

  8. I have no issue when at hotels talking in front of the window naked on the phone. Especially now. Cha Ching.

  9. Beware of similar issues at other airport hotels, such as the TWA Hotel and the Grand Hyatt at SFO…

  10. The $300k he received from the City of Denver was for wrongful arrest / violation of his civil rights, not because the city owns the hotel.

  11. I like this hotel and have stayed here. Very useful for late night flights to DEN. Good to know.

  12. @Jackson Waterson

    100% correct! I’m sick of it as well. SOMETHING has to be done! Police in this country are a cancer!

  13. I had a nice room at that hotel some years ago and recall thinking it was a good thing the floor-to-ceiling windows have that reflective film because I would have been completely exposed as I headed to the shower naked. The hotel should warn guests, though I’m ambivalent as to whether there’s a legal duty here.

  14. You need to pull Amazing Larry’s comment. Police in our country are NOT a cancer. They do the best they can do, they put their lives on the line every day for the people they serve. Sure they make mistakes from time to time…….just like every business and organization and our policy makers. But, overall, we would be nowhere as a nation without them. Take this comment off by Amazing Larry and ban him from your site. Disgusting. Even more disgusting during this time of pandemic when they are out there on the front lines and getting sick themselves and some of them dying from this virus which they caught while preforming their duties.

  15. @Jeff

    Cops enforce liberal laws that infringe on fundamental freedoms. They are not heroes but serve as the muscle for oppressive government regulation of our lives. They are not keeping us safe when they arrest people for having friends or family over completely consensually and voluntarily on their own private property during coronavirus. They are not keeping us safe when they wage the war on drugs that says you don’t have a right to decide what you do to your own body. They are not keeping us safe when they arrest people for speech in Europe or arrest people in the U.S. because a judge orders you not to speak. They are not keeping us safe when they pull people over by threat of force for not wearing a seat belt, again, a personal choice for ones own body.

    Just because we don’t want thugs terrorizing our communities doesn’t mean we need cops who equally terrorize our communities. Cops are not peace keepers who act reasonably and seek to keep us safe and pacify situations but they escalate and instigate many situations and act with poor judgement. Cops are paid handsomely with union protection and pensions and they have a motive to continue enforcement of oppressive nanny and police state laws and to look out for their “brothers” at the expense of regular citizens.

  16. I still don’t get why it’s illegal to be naked and it’s perfectly legal to have automatic military-style weapons. Make love, not war!

  17. @Jeff, nothing is more anti American than saying a comment needs to be pulled because it disagrees with you. For further reading may I suggest the Constitution of the United States, amendment one.

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