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This Is How Often Flight Attendants Are Sexually Harassed

This Is How Often Flight Attendants Are Sexually Harassed
Jennifer Billock

A new survey conducted by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA shows a disturbing pattern of sexual harassment endured by flight attendants at the hand of passengers, and that the rate at which it occurs is much higher than many might have expected.

On Thursday, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA released results of a survey that polled 3,500 flight attendants about sexual abuse they face from customers on flights. And the results are sobering: 68 percent of respondents said they have been harassed both verbally and physically, and airlines have done nothing to combat the problem.

The study looked at employees working for 29 airlines in the U.S. Flight attendants reported they’ve faced a litany of abuses, Forbes wrote: lewd, suggestive and inappropriate comments; and being “touched, felt, pulled, grabbed, groped, slapped, rubbed, and fondled” on top of and under their uniforms.

“Harassment of flight attendants is legendary, but this survey shows just how commonplace it remains even during the #MeToo era,” Sara Nelson, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA president, said in a statement reported by Forbes. “It’s time for all of us – airlines, unions, regulators, legislators and passengers – to put a stop to behaviors that can no longer be condoned. The dignity and well-being of flight attendants and the safety of all travelers depend on it.”

This type of abuse of flight attendants has more implications than to the employees alone – it’s also a problem for passengers and their safety, because it makes it more difficult for flight attendants to intervene in passenger disputes, and undermines their authority during emergencies.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

View Comments (7)


  1. JackE

    May 14, 2018 at 9:51 am

    This is a meaningless statistic without details. Does it include unwanted glances? Being asked out? Merely knowing someone who felt victimized?

  2. BJM

    May 14, 2018 at 11:14 am

    verbal sexual harassment, including lewd, suggestive and inappropriate comments.

    physically harassed during the same period, reporting that they were “touched, felt, pulled, grabbed, groped, slapped, rubbed and fondled,” on top of and under their uniforms,

    The additional details above are included in the Forbes report at the link in the article.

    Additional details are included at the AFA CEA website, easily found by a Google search, at this link.

  3. elusive1

    May 14, 2018 at 2:51 pm

    I would say that the “US Big 3” have managed to cut this harassment to a minimum through creative hiring

  4. jonsail

    May 14, 2018 at 3:39 pm

    I think unwanted sexual touching can be vigorously prosecuted under US law where US courts have jurisdiction. However, I think unwanted comments and other boorish behavior is something that is pretty hard for the airlines to combat given how little control the airlines have over passengers and how they would be afraid of being sued if, for example, they tried to black list passengers who made unwanted comments.

  5. edgewood49

    May 14, 2018 at 6:31 pm

    I agree with “JackE” if one is going to report or post on such a sensitive issue at least back it up with real supporting data. The issue is some of these bloggers make a statement without proper backup I.e. click bait. Give it up

    Not withstanding that it goes on.

  6. ri_us

    May 15, 2018 at 2:55 am

    Why do pax sit idly by? Each of us has a role to play in moving our society to a better place.



    May 15, 2018 at 7:52 am

    elusive1’s comments are spot on!

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