A woman, while travelling from London to Washington, DC, on October 5, started receiving harassing messages on the in-flight entertainment system. Jessica Van Meir, 24, saw the disturbing messages after returning from the restroom of Virgin Atlantic flight. She immediately reported about the incident to the flight attendants. According to Meir, the flight attendants were helpful and dealt with the situation swiftly.
Yesterday I was on a @VirginAtlantic flight, and I unexpectedly received these sexually harassing messages on my screen (I was in 55C).— Jessica Van Meir (@jessicavanmeir) October 6, 2019
The flight attendants were helpful & dealt with it swiftly.
Have any other women had this happen to them?#metoo #cyberharassment @SCFGallagher pic.twitter.com/7tbVkRhpQp
Taking to Twitter, Meir said, the airline should probably take measures to prevent such indents by flagging specific language and putting in place a reporting function on the chat to report abusive users. She said the seat chat is a fun function and she was not against it, but it can easily be abused. Meir also took a picture of the guys with whom the flight attendants spoke. “Afterwards, a young guy came up to me and said he heard about the chat between me & the guys and wanted to apologize on their behalf, they were on a rugby trip & he was one of the leaders,” she wrote.
Meir also received a mail from the airline apologising about the incident and said that they were investigating it as a matter of urgency.
“We have zero tolerance for any disruptive or inappropriate behaviour and while I am glad to hear the crew were helpful and dealt with this swiftly, I sincerely apologise for any upset caused,” an email from the executive office of Virgin Atlantic read. “I would like to reassure you we are reviewing our systems to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” it added.
A Twitter user said he was unable to understand the utility of the in-flight messaging system. “I have flown with Virgin Airlines before and wondered why the hell they’d have a chat feature between the seats—what normal person would use it? As my colleague @jessicavanmeir found out: sexual harassers. Honestly, men, stop. #flyingwhilefemale” the user tweeted. According to media reports, Virgin has started phasing out the system across its fleet.