Travelers aboard a series of American Airlines flights have recently been subjected to an odd series of sounds blaring over the aircraft’s PA system, as detailed by a recently viral video.
The video, recorded by Los Angeles based writer, actor and producer Emerson Collins, has received more than 2 million views thus far, something that Collins said he was forced to listen to for a portion of his flight from Los Angeles International Airport to Dallas for a writer’s festival.
“Someone on this flight seems to have broken into the intercom system,” Collins says in the video, as loud sounds best likened to groaning and grunting fill the cabin of the plane.
He noted that the sounds even began as passengers were still boarding the flight.
“At the beginning it sounded like maybe gastrointestinal distress,” Collins said. “Then like sort of moan-y, and then sort of vomit-y.”
In response to the video, American Airlines issued a statement that read in part:
“Our maintenance team thoroughly inspected the aircraft and the PA system and determined the sounds were caused by a mechanical issue.”
When asked what he thought of the airline’s claim, retired airline pilot Ross Aimer said, “I’m afraid that’s incorrect. … This was not a malfunction from what you and I heard. I would call that a malfeasance. Someone hacked into , because you can hear the breathing.”
During the course of Collins’ flight, the pilot made a point to reassure the passengers that there was no danger.
“The pilot announced quickly there was no danger – that all the flight systems were fine,” Collins said. “I lived overseas in high school. I travel significantly. I trust our airline industry safety standards. So I wasn’t worried.”
Aimer said that while there was no sign of danger on this flight, it is possible that someone could hack into the aircraft’s controls.
“Yeah, it is possible, if someone can do this,” he said. “Although not probable.”
In response to a request for comment, an American Airlines spokesperson made it clear that their aircraft PA systems are hardwired and cannot be accessed remotely.