A woman has told of her anger at not only finding a man apparently performing a sex act next to her on a plane – but at how cabin crew reacted when she alerted them.
Genevieve Pascolla was getting some shut eye on the United Airlines flight from London to Chicago when she woke to find the man appearing to pleasure himself under a blanket. Terrified by what was happening, the 26-year-old raised the alarm with the woman sleeping beside her and informed the cabin crew.
But what happened next left Genevieve “appalled”. She claims that after being given a new seat, the crew started making jokes and laughing about her ordeal – suggesting he was carrying out the sex act because of her. And shockingly she says the man was “allowed to finish, with a child sitting close by”.
Writing on social media, Genevieve said: “They then started making jokes about the situation asking ‘what perfume are you wearing’ and excusing him saying ‘he’s had a bit of wine’. No one stopped him. He was allowed to finish, with a child sitting closely by. After exiting the plane first to talk to security, the security guard asked me if I’d like an apology from the offender. I immediately rejected the request.”
Genevieve has since shared a video of the man appearing to carry out the sex act, along with the email she received from United Airlines after she complained about what happened. In the email, sent to her by customer care, it states Genevieve’s request for a refund for the flight on June 4 has been refused and they are unable to offer goodwill compensation.
It adds: “Again, I apologise for the uncomfortable situation you experienced. I appreciate that you chose United for your travel. We hope your next trip with us will be a more positive experience.” In response Genevieve said: “It took United Airlines a month an a half to respond to my complaint. And I received this email today.
“I am appalled at the lack of action taken in this situation in which as a woman, I was terrified. This man is clearly capable of much more. So women and men out there pick an airline that cares about your safety. Referring to being assaulted on one of your flight as a ‘uncomfortable experience’ is a bit of an understatement. Your lack of action is disgusting #metoo.”
Maddie King, a United Airlines spokesperson, told BuzzFeed News in a statement that the “inappropriate and offensive conduct like this” is exceedingly rare on their aircraft, “but we have a protocol to ensure our customers’ safety because it is our top priority.” She added: “That’s why, in this case, our customers were promptly moved to different seats in a different section of the plane and law enforcement officials were summoned in advance to meet the perpetrator when the plane pulled into the gate.”
Ms King also stated that they gave Genevieve “compensation as a goodwill gesture” and called her the same day she arrived for a “wellness check.” Genevieve said she received half of her ticket refunded in the form of a voucher after she posted her experience on Twitter, not after two complaints she filed soon after the flight.