United passenger says cabin crew made jokes after she reported another passenger masturbating

A United passenger has complained that cabin crew made jokes after she and a fellow passenger moved seats due to a male passenger masturbating.

Genevieve Pascolla was flying from London Heathrow to Chicago. Ms Pascolla posted about the incident on instagram. “On June 4th I was on a [United] flight from Heathrow to Chicago. On this flight the man next to me started masturbating I woke up and saw him touching himself under a blanket. I woke the woman next to me and got out of there to tell a flight attendant the attendants checked and confirmed that he was masturbating in public. Once I got up the woman next to me saw and she also got up. They gave us new seats. 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.”

Ms Pascolla also said in her post that the passenger was allowed to continue, and that a child was 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.”

The post continued, “It took [United] 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. [United] referring to being assaulted on one of your flight (sic) as a ‘uncomfortable experience is a bit of an understatement. (See email) your lack of action is disgusting.”

https://www.instagram.com/p/BlNp6VuHB_G/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

In an initial response to Ms Pascolla’s complaint, United emailed back saying, “Your observations are important as they help us improve areas needing our attention. Unfortunately, we are unable to honour your request for a refund of your travel from London to Chicago or offer goodwill compensation. Again, I apologize 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.”

A United spokesperson told BuzzFeed News, “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. 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 Pascolla has since given compensation of a voucher totalling half the cost of the ticket.

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