In 2016, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA union surveyed nearly two thousand flight attendants regarding their experiences with reported passenger-on-passenger sexual assaults. During that survey, one-fifth of those participating attendants said that they had personally received reports of sexual assaults from passengers, which had taken place during flights on which they had been working. FBI investigations into sexual assaults reported during air travel also rose an astonishing sixty-six percent between 2014 and 2017.
Despite the figures derived from the 2016 AFA survey and FBI investigations, it remains unclear just how many sexual assaults actually occur midair these days, as many times sexual assaults are not reported. Further hindering the accuracy of in-flight sexual assault statistics, there is currently no designated federal agency in place to monitor this data nationwide. Still, it is clear that in-flight sexual assault of passengers is an ongoing problem.
According to Mike Adams, a former FBI special agent who investigated sexual assault incidents at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport for several years, sexual assault on a flight “[is] quite common. Many women and, in some cases, teenage and adolescent children, are victims. There are so many women out there, being touched [inappropriately], and no one is reporting on it.”
Many of the flight attendants who participated in the 2016 AFA survey went on to note that their employers have not instructed them on how to handle incidents of sexual assault, and that assistance from law enforcement is generally requested and/or received less than fifty percent of the time. As a result, many victims do not receive the support that they need to adequately respond to and address the sexual assault.
Commuters and tourists should be vigilant during their travels and properly insured. Trip insurance can offer travelers peace of mind, valuable resources, and emergency assistance with just a phone call. Travel insurance company emergency assistance team members are trained and ready to assist victims who may find themselves in need of medical treatment, transportation by ambulance, hospitalization, prescriptions, or more. They are also knowledgeable of many customs and laws in varying foreign countries, offering additional aid in dealings with local policies, procedures, and practices when needed.