United Airlines has covered cameras installed on in-flight entertainment screens located on the back of some seats on United flights.
United representative Andrea Hiller confirmed to HuffPost on Friday that the cameras had been covered, two months after a BuzzFeed report revealed that cameras were installed on flights run by U.S. companies.
A United spokeswoman said that the cameras were a standard feature installed by the screens’ manufacturer in anticipation of a feature that would allow video conferencing. United never activated the cameras, according to the airline.
“None of these cameras were ever activated, and we had no plans to use them in the future, however we took the additional step to cover the cameras,” the spokeswoman said.
Just found this interesting sensor looking at me from the seat back on board of Singapore Airlines. Any expert opinion of whether this a camera? Perhaps @SingaporeAir could clarify how it is used? pic.twitter.com/vy0usqruZG
— Vitaly Kamluk (@vkamluk) February 17, 2019
Reports of these in-flight cameras first went viral on the internet after a Twitter user spotted one in front of his seat on a Singapore Airlines flight. The airline responded to the passenger from their official Twitter account and claimed the cameras were disabled.
These cameras have been disabled on our aircraft, and there are no plans to develop any features using the cameras. Thank you. (2/2)
— Singapore Airlines (@SingaporeAir) February 17, 2019
At the time, both United and American said that the cameras were disabled.
Hiller told HuffPost that the cameras were installed in some of the United fleet’s premium seats. An American Airlines spokesman told The Associated Press in February that the cameras were installed on premium economy seats in 82 Boeing 777 and Airbus A330-200 jets. American has nearly 1,000 planes.
United Airlines has covered some of their cameras with a dark, circular sticker, BuzzFeed news reported Friday. Sri Ray, a former site reliability energy for the news site, took a photo of the covered camera, which he noticed during a recent United flight, according to BuzzFeed.
An American Airlines spokesperson said that the company was “reviewing” the issue when asked by HuffPost whether it would block the cameras as United had reported doing. The company said it also has no plans to activate the cameras.
“While these cameras are present on some American Airlines in-flight entertainment systems as delivered from the manufacturer, they have never been activated and American is not considering using them,” the spokesperson said.