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Lois Frankel, Barbara Comstock Want Airlines to Cut Down on In-Flight Sexual Harassment

May 30, 2018 - 10:00am

A Florida Democrat is teaming up with a Republican from Virginia to call on the airline industry to take measures cracking down on sexual harassment on airplane flights. 

Last week, U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-Fla., and U.S. Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-Virg., joined forces to send a letter to 30 airline executives on the matter. The letter--which was signed by six other congresswoman including U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., called on the executives to  “publicly denounce sexual harassment, reinforce the role of flight attendants as safety professionals, and work with the Association of Flight Attendants to put in place policies to address this systemic issue.”

“Approximately 80 percent of flight attendants are female and they are often objectified on a daily basis by passengers, coworkers, and superiors,” the congresswomen wrote. “It is perhaps not surprising that sexual harassment is prevalent given the industry’s past objectification of flight attendants. Not long ago, airlines used flight attendants, and their sexuality, as part of a marketing strategy to sell more airline tickets. As recently as 1993, flight attendants were required to weigh-in regularly to maintain their employment.”

Frankel pointed to a study from the  Association of Flight Attendants which found that 68 percent of flight attendants experienced sexual harassment on flights. The study also found that 68 percent of flight attendants said their employers did little to prevent it. 

“Flight attendants are responsible for our safety and comfort when traveling the skies,” Frankel said. “They deserve our respect, and shouldn’t fear sexual harassment and abuse while on the job. We need airline executives to lead and create policies to protect them.”

“During our recent hearing held by the Congressional Caucus on Women’s Issues, we heard about the problem of sexual harassment of airline flight attendants and the need for reforms and action to establish zero tolerance policies. We applaud Spirit, United, and Alaska Airlines for denouncing sexual harassment and supporting flight attendants and taking a stand against sexual harassment in the workplace. We trust all airlines are addressing this issue and will come forward with policies to establish zero tolerance policies throughout the industry,” said Comstock.

The letter was set to Air Wisconsin Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Allegiant Air, American Airlines, ATI, Cathay Pacific U.S., Compass Airlines, Delta, Endeavor Air, Envoy Air, ExpressJet, Frontier Airlines, GoJet Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, Horizon Air, JetBlue, Mesa Air Group, Miami Air International, Norwegian, Omni Air International, Piedmont Airlines, PSA Airlines, Republic, Silver Airways, SkyWest, Southwest, Spirit Airlines, Sun Country, TranStates and  United Airlines. 



Florida House Pushes Bill Cracking Down on Workplace Sexual Harassment

Et Tu, Latvala? Rick Scott Issues Executive Order to Combat Sexual Harassment in State Agencies


As recently as 1993 flight attendants had to weigh in? You mean 25 years ago? Before many of today's flight attendants...and some pilots...were born?

Another example of out of control government. Why are so many supporting fascism? The government has NO authority to do any action such as this.

Well said Lisa. Unless you’re in first class you are bunched up in the main cabin. I fly every week and haven’t come across this unacceptable behavior from customers toward airline staff. I have on multiple occasions observed commaraderie among the male/female flight attendant teams walking through the airport, arriving at the gate for their flight, on the plane laughing and enjoying each other’s company. I believe the airline normally does a good job pairing these teams. I fly mostly in the morning so people aren’t usually drinking. As the day progresses and people are on multiple legs, frustrated with delays or cancellations adding alcohol I can imagine this unacceptable behavior occurring. How is this harassment defined? I appreciate the bipartisan discussion but then lost respect when I heard Rep Frederica Wilson’s name. Everyone deserves respect and that’s what I have observed. From the greeting getting on the plane to the thank you from the Captain and attendants when we deplane. Competition encourages this social interaction to who will succeed in customer loyalty. Does Frederica Wilson choice of policy reflect competition or Government coercion. Will the airlines share mutual benefit of entrepreneurial spontaneous order or will we be tethered to more regulations? I prefer to keep what freedom I still have without more government coercion. if the airline is responsible for our safety, can control flight schedules for millions of people a day, I’m sure they can find internal experts or hire private experts to work this issue out themselves. They are the experts. Many ideas I’m sure have been floated among those in the industry with the most observations of this behavior and the potentially have the best ideas/input, so let’s get the experts to challenge themselves to create the best outcome instead of government’s limitations in unbiased problem solving.

Education takes time and this is an education issue. Instead of beating everyone....create a "No Fly List" for those people with which attendants have issues. It may force some to different airlines, but the company didn't want them harassing their staff and there will be more customers.

"WHAT,.. No more "Mile High Club" ?!?!?....Awww Shucks !!!!

...."Just leave it to the girls, they'll fix Congress"...

They might bring up the issue of passenger seat room, and size of is claustrophobic in those cabins. Maybe not so much harassment if we weren't all on top of each other, including the flight personnel.

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