Ahh, the luxurious of flying. Getting to take a seat extremely near strangers, being reduce off out of your electronic mail, and having a scrumptious selection of damaged cookies or bland pretzels to snack on. Bliss. Properly now you possibly can add sexual predators to that charming checklist of flight hazards.
Sexual harassment, in its new prominence, is drawing a whole lot of consideration, and airplanes are a hotbed for sexual harassment. Almost 70% of flight attendants say that they’ve been subjected to sexual harassment whereas within the air. Many say that they’re poked, “someplace between the knees and the stomach button,” by passengers on, “practically each flight.” Many are requested, suggestively, concerning the notorious “mile-high” membership.
What’s extra, flight attendants and flight crews are within the place of authority with regards to stopping sexual harassment on flights. Offenses can vary from undesirable touching of fellow passengers, to extra severe acts.
An airplane, as a office, poses a novel state of affairs. A lot of your “prospects” are taking medicine to deliberately make themselves go to sleep. Many are ingesting alcohol. Everyone seems to be seated very shut collectively. Generally legislation enforcement can not instantly arrive on the scene. And even then jurisdiction will be onerous to put, as a result of the situation of your flight is quickly altering. Whew.
The matter of jurisdiction was lately clarified by Brian Nadeau, Assistant Particular Agent in Cost of the FBI’s Baltimore workplace. In a news conference at Baltimore’s Thurgood Marshall Airport, he mentioned, “Any crime aboard an plane falls inside the FBI’s jurisdiction.” He clarified that, on an airplane, sexual assault can vary from “grazing a physique half to much more graphic acts.” He warned that sexual assault is a felony and people convicted may face, “as much as 10 years [in prison], or if aggravated, as much as life.”
Some airways have additionally reported that they’re altering their coaching to higher handle in-fight sexual assault. United’s CEO introduced a zero-tolerance coverage with regards to sexual harassment and sexual assault. Delta has mentioned that its crews comply with a collection of steps to analyze a problem and, if crucial, arranging for native legislation enforcement to be current upon arrival. And American focuses on coaching to curb passenger misconduct and offers crew members the authority to, “transfer passengers, and if crucial, . . . have legislation enforcement meet the flight upon arrival.”
There’s additionally new legislation that has been launched that might change how sexual harassment is dealt with on this business. The invoice is named the “Cease Sexual Assault and Harassment in Transportation Act,” and its goal is to have airways and different transportation firms create new or higher sexual harassment insurance policies and procedures. A few of these procedures would come with a greater system for reporting sexual assault and sexual harassment, the flexibility for firms to ban passengers convicted of assault whereas utilizing their service, and a rise within the civil penalty for interfering with a flight crew from $25,000 to $35,000.
One other measure to be taken might be altering the announcement on flights. These bulletins, which already warn about tampering with smoke detectors and different illicit habits, may embrace a message that daunts sexual harassment and assault as an added layer of safety for flight attendants and passengers.