Engine Photos Land Spirit Airlines Flight Attendant in Controversy

Aviation industry insiders say the photos may not be that unusual.

ByABC News
May 27, 2015, 9:12 AM

— -- A Spirit Airlines flight attendant found herself in the middle of a controversy after passengers spotted her posing for photos inside a jet engine.

A passenger saw stewardess Ericka Paige Diehl posing for the photos while passengers boarded a Spirit Airlines flight at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. The passenger took down the flight attendant’s name and contacted ABC station WLS, asking if the photo was part of a new pre-flight checklist.

The passenger then found out that Diehl posted the photos to her Facebook page, WLS reported.

Spirit Airlines said in a statement about the photos, “The activity portrayed in the photo absolutely goes against Spirit policy.”

But for many in the flying community, the outrage over Diehl’s photo shoot is unmerited. Sylvester Pittman, an aviation consultant with Airline Guys and a former flight attendant, said such photos are popular for flight crews.

"I have a picture in a jet engine, and pretty much everybody that I know that has been a flight attendant ... it’s just one of those things that we like to do," Pittman said.

Heather Poole, a flight attendant and author of the New York Times bestseller “Cruising Attitude,” also addressed the issue, writing on Twitter, “The photo of the flight attendant in the engine isn’t a problem. We all take them. The time that she decided to take it could be an issue.”

Diehl did not respond to a request for comment, but told WLS she wasn’t at liberty to discuss the photos. The photos were removed from her Facebook page and replaced with the quote, “Your wings already exist, all you have to do is fly.”