Flight attendant's engine photo kicks up storm of controversy

A Spirit Airline flight attendant is under fire for posing for photos in an aircraft engine well at Chicago’s O'Hare airport.

According to ABC News, flight attendant Ericka Diehl, 41, struck a number of poses earlier this month in front of the immobile blades before boarding the aircraft and beginning her regular duties.

When a shocked passenger asked what she was doing, Diehl reportedly replied, "Taking a picture."

The passenger then looked Diehl up on Facebook and saw the images she had taken earlier on her page.  The passenger later reported it to the local ABC TV station questioning if it was allowed.

When contacted by the news outlet, Spirit Airlines said that the flight attendant had violated company policy.  An airline representative later confirmed that disciplinary action was taken.

"We investigated it further and we took the appropriate action that goes in accordance to the investigations' results," media relations manager Irisaida Méndez told The Daily News, while not elaborating on what those actions were.

But flight crews from around the world are coming to Diehl’s support on social media –posting images of themselves in similar poses-- and saying the photos are part a long-standing tradition in the airline industry. Also, a number of hashtags including  #‎StewsforEricka and ‪#‎SupportEricka have popped up.

"I have a book here that's full of pictures, just one book full of pictures of flight attendants in front of those engines. This is very common and what flight attendants have been doing over the past 24 hours is posting the pictures that they have of themselves in the engines," said Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants.