Jennifer Rafieyan says she and her 12-year-old daughter were awaiting takeoff on a United Airlines flight from Newark, New Jersey, to Phoenix last month when they watched a flight attendant seat a visibly drunk man in the empty aisle seat next to them. The man was intoxicated enough that the attendant had to guide him by his hips, and two attendants warned her about him. Over the course of the next hour, Rafieyan says the 64-year-old repeatedly groped her and sexually harassed her. He rubbed her legs, grabbed her knee, kissed her hands, put his head on her shoulder and snatched her pen and notepad to add “PASIONAT NITE XX” to the to-do list she was writing. Rafieyan, a married mother of three from Warren, New Jersey, said she was too “meek” to confront the man.
… Eventually, when her daughter asked to use the bathroom, Rafieyan says she was able to get up and report the groping to one of the flight attendants, who didn’t seem surprised.
… The Federal Aviation Administration prohibits boarding “a passenger who appears to be intoxicated” and serving additional alcohol to a passenger who becomes inebriated on a plane.
After she involved the Federal Aviation Administration, the Department of Transportation, and even the FBI, which handles sexual harassment on airplanes, United finally offered up an apology.
"We sincerely apologize to Ms. Rafieyan and her family for their experience. We are reviewing the way that this situation was handled on board, and how our customer care team responded," a United spokeswoman told The Huffington Post. "We will follow up with Ms. Rafieyan to apologize again, and discuss how we could have handled this situation better."