United Airlines logo superimposed over a stock photo of the inside of an airplane passenger cabin
February 3, 2020

VICTORY: United Airlines Removed from Dirty Dozen List, Agrees to Train Crews to Stop In-Flight Porn Use

Your voice matters! With hundreds of messages flooding into United Airlines’ Customer Service line this past year while the corporationwhich employs over 85,000 people worldwide and flies over 150 million customers a yearwas listed on the 2019 Dirty Dozen List, United has now stepped up to combat in-flight sexual harassment and pornography use with improved training for its flight attendants. The new training emphasizes United Airlines’ zero tolerance policy for hardcore pornography (and anything over an R-rating) on personal devices and helps flight crews with how to approach passengers who view such material in-flight.

Flight attendants reported to the National Center on Sexual Exploitation that this new topic of training began in January 2020, and a United Airlines spokesperson confirmed to NCOSE that the training is now taking place.

United Airlines provided the following statement to the National Center on Sexual Exploitation to share with the public:

The safety of our customers and colleagues is our top priority. Sexual harassment, inappropriate behavior, intimidation or predation have absolutely no place anywhere in our society — including, and especially, in our industry and on our aircraft. In 2018, we strengthened our training for flight attendants to recognize, address and respond to instances of sexual harassment of any kind on board our aircraft and will continue to adapt and enhance this training moving forward. We recognize the need to continue the discussion among all of our work groups to further ensure that our policies reflect our values and safeguard those traveling with us.

In recent years, incidents have soared of passengers viewing hardcore pornography on their personal devices in tight, closed quarters, leaving fellow passengers and flight crew feeling unsafe, emotionally triggered, and victim to sexual harassment. Many reports expressed that United Airlines’ flight attendants appeared to be particularly ill-suited for these situations. From ignoring complaints to laughing at traumatized passengers to simply offering free dinners to victims of in-flight sexual harassment, it was clear that United Airlines had a significant problem that was going unadressed.

As a result of the inadequate training to curb sexual assault, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation listed United Airlines on the 2019 Dirty Dozen List. With improved training and a dedication to making their airplanes free from pornography and sexual harassment, United Airlines has now been removed from the annual list which names 12 mainstream contributors to sexual exploitation and abuse. (The 2020 Dirty Dozen List will be revealed February 6th at DirtyDozenList.com.)

Sexual harassment includes but is not limited to: unwanted sexual advances or attention including physical actions, speech, and viewing pornography in the presence of a child or non-consenting adult.

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation applauds and thanks United Airlines for recognizing the importance of training flight crews on the topic of pornography and improved training to avoid sexual harassment. We call on other airlines to follow United Airlines’ example.

Want to join us in taking more actions? Check out these related projects with more ways you can help!

Thank United Airlines with a Tweet!

Thank you @United for making the skies safer for your crew and passengers by improving your sexual harassment training, including prohibiting in-flight viewing of pornography and equipping your crew to address the viewing of such material. Click To Tweet

Thank you for joining with us in holding corporations accountable for their role in enabling—and sometimes profiting from—sexual exploitation. Your voice makes a difference. This progress comes on the heels of other major industry leaders changing policies too. (Google, Hilton Worldwide, Comcast, Instagram, and more have made changes thanks to your advocacy through the Dirty Dozen List.) We encourage you to continue your support for the movement to end sexual exploitation by as many means as possible, including a donation to help grow the movement!

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