Harassment and worse in the air

Last month, a male passenger on an Alaska Airlines flight from Seattle to Burbank called out “ooh sexy” while the flight attendant demonstrated the use of the life vest. When she told him to be “respectful”, he responded: “I’m just fooling around.” The aircraft was diverted to offload him.

This was not the first time that airline had taken such action following harassment by a passenger. A few months ago, it diverted a flight from Portland to Anchorage when an intoxicated male passenger groped and forcibly tried to kiss a 16-year-old girl on board. A few other airlines have taken similar action.

These kinds of violations on passenger aircraft are generally under-reported, but in the United States the reports are periodically published. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has had 58 investigations into sexual assault on airplanes this year so far, compared with 40 for all of 2015.

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Photo Credit: Rudy Chiarello