A week after Singapore Airlines confirmed that its seat-back entertainment screens have built-in cameras comes similar confirmation from United Airlines and Delta. The airliners’ have confirmed that some of their seat-back entertainment displays — specifically the ones in the premium economy class — have embedded cameras, but claim they are not activated and there are no plans to use them.
The issue of cameras facing air travelers first surfaced last week with a report of cameras on the entertainment displays in Singapore Airlines planes. The airline confirmed the cameras, and soon after another report revealed that similar cameras can be found on American Airlines entertainment systems.
In a statement to BuzzFeed, Delta and United Airlines both confirmed that their seat-back entertainment systems also contain cameras, but both say the cameras are not active. Rather, and as with Singapore Airlines’ explanation, the cameras were included as a feature on the devices by the manufacturer.
For its part, Delta said the cameras aren’t activated and that it doesn’t have any plans to add the software necessary to use the cameras. United provided a similar statement, explaining that the cameras are built into the entertainment systems “for possible future purposes such as video conferencing.”
Both statements are similar to a comment American Airlines gave BuzzFeed last week. According to that airline, the cameras aren’t activated and the airline isn’t considering using them; rather, they’re built into the system for possible future use, which could include using hand gestures to control the system.
The cameras have proven controversial among travelers, some of whom express concerns that the cameras could be used by unauthorized parties to monitor them during the trip. Others say that while they’re not concerned about the cameras, they are upset that the airlines’ failed to disclose their presence.