United Passenger Charged For Filming Fellow Passengers In Aircraft Toilet

A United Airlines passenger is in serious trouble. On a flight from San Diego to Houston, a passenger discovered a video recording device in the First Class lavatory. Although unidentified at first, soon enough the culprit was discovered.

United 737 MAX
A passenger on a United flight was charged with filming other passengers in the lavatory. Photo: United Airlines

UA646 on May 5th

An ABC News affiliate in Houston reported that the incident occurred on UA646 from San Diego to Houston on May 5th, 2019. A passenger in First Class went into the lavatory. Upon entering, she noticed a device with a blinking blue light. This is a strange piece of equipment to find on a plane so, the passenger removed the device with a paper towel and handed it over to the flight attendant. Upon landing, the crew turned over the device to United Corporate Security personnel. From there, the investigation began.

A United Airlines passenger discovered a strange device with blinking blue lights. Photo: Jay Singh/Simple Flying

The investigation

Security reviewed the footage. They discovered that the person who put the device in the lavatory filmed himself while doing it. Authorities were able to identify the member by his clothing and distinct pieces of jewelry. San Diego FBI officials were able to confirm the passenger wearing those items boarded the flight. Furthermore, authorities in Houston were able to track down the passenger. He was confirmed to be a First Class passenger who worked for oil company Halliburton.

The passenger who recorded the incident flew First Class. Photo: United Airlines

United Airlines offered Simple Flying the following statement on the matter:

The safety and security of our customers is our top priority. When our crew was alerted of this issue they acted quickly to notify the appropriate authorities. We will fully cooperate and support this investigation as it moves forward.

Other incidents

It turns out the same passenger has done this before. Except, it was on an Emirates flight. One of the people filmed was, in fact, an Emirates flight attendant.

The passenger also recorded in an Emirates flight attendant. Photo: Tom Boon/Simple Flying

The charges

View From the Wing reports that the man is being charged under a rarely-used law. As part of this law, it is illegal to film a person’s genitals or portions of the female breast in a location where a person would expect privacy. For sure, a lavatory is a place where a person’s privacy should not be compromised.

Aircraft lavatories, regardless of airline, are places where a person should expect reasonable privacy. Photo: United Airlines


This is an incredibly disturbing story. Thankfully, an incredibly observant passenger and a host of authorities were able to apprehend the person in question. Every passenger should expect privacy in an aircraft lavatory. Hopefully, these kinds of incidents do not become more common.

What do you make of this incident? How would you have reacted if you discovered the device? Let us know in the comments!


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Jorn Hodal

It looks like a MAX, but that wa groundedbin March

Ben Farrell

lately I have started to realize that Americans just dont know how to act on an airplane


this is a joke, right? look up one year worth of incidents and you will find it is worldwide. so stuff it.

Roy Ducker

The passenger doing this should be banned from ever flying again.


Yes, yes, and then… YES.

Bhakti swami

I agree, the Person involved should be banned from travelling for life