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.