American Airlines has cameras in some seat-back screens, but says it won't use them

Singapore Airlines was criticized earlier for having cameras in some of its entertainment systems.

Abrar Al-Heeti Technology Reporter
Abrar Al-Heeti is a technology reporter for CNET, with an interest in phones, streaming, internet trends, entertainment, pop culture and digital accessibility. She's also worked for CNET's video, culture and news teams. She graduated with bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Though Illinois is home, she now loves San Francisco -- steep inclines and all.
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American Airlines
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It turns out some American Airlines seat-back entertainment screens have cameras embedded in them. 

A passenger told BuzzFeed News he saw a camera on his seat-back screen during a flight to Tokyo in September. Those cameras can also be seen in a June 2017 review of American Airlines' premium economy option and a video by Business Traveller magazine, BuzzFeed notes.

American Airlines confirmed to CNET that there are cameras in some of its in-flight entertainment screens. 

"Cameras are a standard feature on many in-flight entertainment systems used by multiple airlines," a representative said. "Manufacturers of those systems have included cameras for possible future uses such as seat-to-seat video conferencing. 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."

Singapore Airlines landed in hot water last week after a passenger found what appeared to be a camera beneath the seat back screen. The airline company replied to her tweet to confirm that they were in fact cameras but added they'd been disabled with no plans to use them. 

At a time when cameras can be easily hacked, one can only hope these screens really aren't capturing our least glamorous moments.