Sexual Harassment of Flight Attendants Prevelance

According to a study by the Association of Flight Attendants, more than two-thirds of U.S. flight attendants (across major airlines) have experienced sexual harassment while doing their job.

“More than one-in-three flight attendants say they have experienced verbal sexual harassment from passengers, and nearly one-in-five have experienced physical sexual harassment from passengers, in the last year alone.  Despite the prevalence of abuse and the emergence of the #MeToo movement, 68 percent of flight attendants say they saw no efforts by airlines to address workplace sexual harassment over the last year.”

More Findings From the Survey

More than 3,500 flight attendants from 29 U.S. airlines participated in the survey. Demographics of participants include gender ratios consistent with national averages of 80 percent women to 20 percent men. Key findings include:

  • 68% of flight attendants experienced sexual harassment during their flying careers.

  • 35% experienced verbal sexual harassment from passengers in the last year.  Of those, 68% faced it three or more times, and a third five or more times in the past year.Flight attendants describe the verbal sexual harassment as comments that are “nasty, unwanted, lewd, crude, inappropriate, uncomfortable, sexual, suggestive, and dirty.”  They also report being subjected to passengers’ explicit sexual fantasies, propositions, request for sexual “favors” and pornographic videos and pictures.  The most common response to passenger verbal harassment, by order of frequency, are to avoid further interaction with the passenger, ignore the harassment, or diffuse/deflect the situation.

  • 18% experienced physical sexual harassment from passengers in the last year.  More than 40% of those suffered physical abuse three or more times. Flight attendants said the physical sexual harassment included having their breasts, buttocks and crotch area “touched, felt, pulled, grabbed, groped, slapped, rubbed, and fondled” both on top of and under their uniforms.  Other abuse included passengers cornering or lunging at them followed by unwanted hugs, kisses and humping.  The most common response to passenger physical harassment, by order of frequency, is to avoid further interaction with the passenger, address the harassment directly with the passenger, ignore it, or attempt to diffuse/deflect the situation.

  • Only 7% of the flight attendants who experienced the abuse have reported sexual harassment to their employer. 

  • 68% of flight attendants say they have not noticed any employer efforts over the past year to address sexual harassment at work.

 

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