A now-retired Southwest Airlines pilot admitted in court he exposed himself during a flight in 2020, saying it was a “consensual prank” gone wrong.
Michael Haak pleaded guilty to exposing his genitals to a female coworker and watching pornography on a laptop during a flight from Philadelphia to Florida last year.
He was sentenced by U.S. Magistrate Judge J. Mark Coulson to unsupervised probation and a $5,000 fine.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Cunningham said Haak had "a duty to comport himself in a much more responsible manner. … This is not the kind of aberrant behavior that anyone should accept.”
Haak removed himself from the pilot's seat after the plane reached its cruising altitude and "disrobed," prosecutors alleged.
The former pilot apologized in court, but qualified his actions by saying it "started as a consensual prank" between him and his co-pilot.
"I never imagined it would turn into this in a thousand years," he said.
Southwest Airlines told the Washington D.C. publication The Hill that Haak retired before they were notified of the incident.
"Nonetheless, Southwest did investigate the matter and as a result, ceased paying Mr. Haak any benefits he was entitled to receive as a result of his separation from (the airline)," company spokesman said.