Woman says she was sexually harassed by passenger aboard United flight

Friday, April 14, 2017 01:08PM
Toni Yates spoke with a woman who says she was sexually harassed on a United Airlines flight.


BASKING RIDGE, New Jersey - The now-infamous video of a United Airlines passenger being ripped from his seat is prompting other customers to come forward with their own complaints.

Eyewitness News has learned about a disturbing alleged incident aboard a flight out of Newark involving physical and sexual harassment.

"They should not have boarded him," said Jennifer Rafieyan, a Somerset County resident. "He was intoxicated, they should not have boarded him to begin with."

Rafieyan is talking about the United passenger, whom she says, back in March, made the flight to Phoenix for a family vacation, a nightmare.

She was in a middle seat, her 12-year-old daughter in the window seat, and then the man was brought to sit next to her.

"I saw the flight attendants bring a very intoxicated man down the aisle, she had her hands on his hips, she put him in the seat next to me," Rafieyan said.

Once airborne, the flight went downhill from there.

"He started touching my leg, grabbing my knees, holding my hand," Rafieyan said. "I kept holding his hand because it was better than him touching my knee and leg."

After her vacation, she complained to United saying, "Before takeoff, both flight attendants gave me warnings about him. He started to harass me immediately, constantly holding and kissing my hand, grabbing my knee, stroking my leg...etc., and wrote a note that he wanted me to have a passionate night."

She also wrote, "I complained to the FA, and she replied, 'I'm sorry. We felt really bad putting him next to you but there was nothing we could do.'"

"What response did you get from United?" Eyewitness News asked.

"A form letter saying my feedback would help them improve services," Rafieyan said.

Here's part of that letter she says United sent: "I'm sorry for your family's disappointing and uncomfortable flight to Phoenix. As a gesture of goodwill, a separate email with four electronic travel certificates will arrive soon to make amends."

She says she won't use them. What she wants, is policy change.

"They were in clear violation of two FAA regulations safety regulations," Rafieyan said. "I want to know why they broke them and why that was justified, and I don't want this to happen to anyone else."
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