??*Trigger Warning*?? On June 4th I was on a #unitedairlines 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 (see attached video) 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. 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. It took @unitedairlines 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. #unitedairlines referring to being assaulted on one of your flight as a “uncomfortable experience” is a bit of an understatement. (See email) your lack of action is disgusting. @united #unitedairlines #metoo
A woman who flew from London to Chicago on a United Airlines flight says that a man masturbated next to her, and after she reported the incident, flight attendants made little of the whole ordeal.
Genevieve Pascolla, 26, told reporters that the incident happened during a July 4 flight, and that the man was reportedly masturbating under a blanket. Pascolla, a photographer, shared a video on Instagram that appears to show the incident, according to BuzzFeed.
"On this flight the man next to me started masturbating," she wrote.
Pascolla went on to wake up the woman sitting next to her to alert her of what was going on before telling the flight attendants.
She added that the man was "allowed to finish, with a child sitting closely by."
WARNING: The video may contain footage that might be considered disturbing to some viewers.
While the two women were given different seats after the incident, Pascolla claimed on a following post that the United Airlines crew members actually joked about the ordeal.
"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,'" she said.
"They were excusing his disgusting behavior and making jokes," Pascolla told reporters. "I understand you can't control the situation, but you can control how you handle it."
Pascolla filed two complaints with the airline after the flight, but it was only after she shared the horrific experience on social media, she said, that United reached out to give her a refund for half of her ticket.
After landing, she explained, a “security guard” asked her if she wanted the man to apologize, which she rejected.
United Airlines spokesperson Maddie King told reporters that "inappropriate and offensive conduct like this" is rare, and that the airline called the customer the same day she arrived for a “wellness check.” King also explained that they reported the incident to law enforcement and that there’s “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," King said.
The compensation given to Pascolla was meant "as a goodwill gesture."
On Instagram, many commentators sided with Pascolla, saying that the company was “enabling sexual predators.”
Hopefully, this incident will put pressure on United Airlines and other flight companies to prevent these situations. And if they do occur, they should be handled appropriately.