Problem

United Airlines has come under public scrutiny for a variety of incidents that revealed inconsistency in policies and aircrew training – from forcing a pet into an overhead compartment where it died to physically dragging a doctor off a plane.

Now United Airlines is placed on the 2019 Dirty Dozen List, which names 12 mainstream contributors to sexual exploitation, for systemic outbreaks of inappropriate aircrew reactions to sexual harassment on their airplanes.

Sexual harassment includes but is not limited to, unwanted sexual advances or attention including physical actions, speech, and viewing pornography in-flight.

While cases of these actions have occurred on virtually every airline, United Airlines aircrews have apparently received ineffective training due to consistent failures in addressing sexually harassing actions, speech, or pornography-use.

For example, United Airlines appears to have struggled with protecting flight crews and passengers alike from sexual harassment.

Sara Nelson, a United Airlines flight attendant and president of the union, told CNN, “In my 22 years as a flight attendant, I have never taken part in a conversation — in training or otherwise — about how to handle sexual harassment or sexual assault.” CNN continued: “While policies exist, Nelson says that if they’re not elevated in airlines’ training, flight attendants are at a loss for what to do when confronting inappropriate — and sometimes criminal — behavior.”

Further, United Airlines appears to be chronically ill-prepared to address the growing problem of pornography on airplanes and the ensuing culture of sexual harassment that this fosters. While most airlines have a policy on paper against in-flight pornography use, they are not adequately training their in-flight crews or support staff to ensure they A) are consciously aware the policy exists or B) know how to enforce it.

When this lack of clarity and training exists, United aircrews have resorted to giving alleged “hush” money or even openly joking about a case of sexual harassment. This leaves passengers vulnerable and isolated to endure a toxic sexual environment without recourse.

It is vital that United Airlines institute in-person, annual, trainings for flight crews with tactics to respond to the full spectrum of sexual harassment and abuses. These trainings must be informed by experts in the field.

Sexual assaults on airplanes have risen dramatically. Meanwhile, flight crews are ill-prepared to handle these situations due to lack of proper training. Tell United Airlines to improve their policies to fight sexual assault!… Click To Tweet

Proof



Actions

Email United Airlines Executives

Report Sex Trafficking On the Plane

If You Suspect a Case of Human Trafficking While on a Plane: 

  • Try to subtly get the attention of a flight attendant, either through the call button or when they walk past you.
  • Consider writing a note to them about your concern, so that you will not be overheard. Most flight attendants are also trained to identify trafficking victims, so you can ask them to pay attention to the individual(s) you are concerned about. Ask them to consider using cockpit communications to alert authorities on the ground to meet the plane at the gate.

Additional Reporting Options:

  • Call toll-free (866) 347-2423 from anywhere in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada.
  • Call (802) 872-6199 (not toll-free) from any country in the world.
  • Report the tip online at www.ice.gov/tips.

FBI Suggested Precautions for Sexual Assault on Planes

Precautions suggested by the FBI:

  • Trust your gut. Offenders will often test their victims, sometimes pretending to brush against them to see how they react or if they wake up. Don’t give them the benefit of the doubt. If such behavior occurs, reprimand the person immediately, and consider asking to be moved to another seat.
  • Recognize that mixing alcohol with sleeping pills or other medication on an overnight flight increases your risk.
  • If your seatmate is a stranger, no matter how polite he or she may seem, keep the armrest between you down.
  • If you are arranging for a child to fly unaccompanied, try to reserve an aisle seat so flight attendants can keep a closer watch on them.
  • If an incident happens, report it immediately to the flight crew and ask that they record the attacker’s identity and report the incident.
  • If alerted in advance, FBI agents can be on hand when the plane lands to conduct interviews and take subjects into custody. FBI victim specialists can respond as well.

Stay updated on these projects

Button Join the movement

Subscribe to our email lists

Graphics

Updates

Action Alert #1: Making United Airlines’ Friendly Skies Friendly Again

Over the years, NCOSE has heard story after story of passengers watching pornography on flights, passengers or aircrew being sexually harassed or assaulted, and more. While having these incidents happen at all is bad enough, what’s worse is that flight crews are rarely, if ever, prepared to handle these situations. United Airlines seems to have…

NCOSE's 2019 12 Days of Action: United Airlines

12 Days of Action 2019: A Chance For YOUR Voice to Be Heard!

NCOSE’s annual Dirty Dozen List admonishes 12 mainstream targets who facilitate sexual exploitation. Because of your voices, this campaign has led to major changes at many targets over the years including Google, Snapchat, Comcast, Hilton Hotels, the Department of Defense, and more. It’s time now for our mid-year push to keep up the pressure on these cultural…

NCOSE's 2019 12 Days of Action

Airline industry treats sexual assaults in the skies like an inconvenience, not a crime – USA Today

Excerpt of Article on USAToday.com In April 2016, I was sexually assaulted on an overnight flight. I awoke to a male passenger grabbing my crotch repeatedly. He hit and blocked me as I yelled “no,” slapped his hands and scrambled to get away and alert the crew. Despite my efforts, and to my shock, no action was taken by the…

Lawsuit Says United Airlines Didn’t Help Teen Sexually Assaulted on Seattle Flight

Excerpt from SeattlePi.com, published Jan 22, 2019 A lawsuit filed last week accused United Airlines of failing to protect a 16-year-old girl who was sexually assaulted on a July 2017 flight from Seattle to Newark, New Jersey. Vijaykumar Krishnappa, 29, was sentenced to 90 days at a federal court in New Jersey earlier this month. But the…

united airlines sexual assault

CBN News: ‘Dirty Dozen List’ Accuses Businesses and Nevada of Sexual Exploitation

The following article was originally published by CBN News You might be shocked at some of the famous names accused of committing or at least tolerating sexual exploitation in America. Twelve are named by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) in what it calls the Dirty Dozen List. NCOSE announced the list at a…

Related Campaigns