Tuesday, January 29

In flight Harassment AK62

I had been terrified from a recent flight I took for a business trip with Air Asia. I considered myself street smart and have good experience traveling. What I encountered that day may sound nothing serious, but that gave me a big impact about flying again.

I am sharing this with the intention that you stay alert during your flights and look out for our neighbours.... If you see anything amiss, please step in and intervene as I was the victim I was too terrified and confused to think straight.

So here's the story about my in flight harrassment....

****

I was on Kolkata, India for a business trip to from 22/1/2019 Tuesday to 24/1/2019 Thursday. I took the only direct (midnight) flight Air Asia (AK62) back to Kuala Lumpur on Friday. The flight was 0120-0735 (GMT 5.5).

I was seated on first row, A1, which is a window seat. There was no passenger on A2, but there's a Indian man seated on A3. Once the plane has took off at 0120 (GMT 5.5), I fell asleep.

Roughly about 2 hours into the journey, I came into realization that someone was grabbing by my right arm. I quickly opened my eyes saw the man who seated on A3, was pulling my right arm towards his direction.

Puzzled, confused, sleepy and tired, my response was to ask him repeated why, why, why, and why.

As I am getting more awake, my voice was louder too and that's when he STOPPED GRABBING my arm.

He had the gut to reply me with "no why".

I remained at my seat starting fiercely at him. I tried to recollect what happened and why did he grabbing my right arm.

I was breathing profusely and scared. I could feel my heart pumping fast. I didn't know what to do. I saw the guy seat at A4 was still awake, but he did not do or say anything. Perhaps he did not see what he did to me, and if he did, he should have spoken a word.

An air stewardess, probably heard me, came to asked if everything was OK. I told her no and explained what has just happened. The man remained silence. She asked if I would like to change my seat which I said yes.

I moved to row 3A, but was traumatized by the whole incident and remained alert throughout the remaining of the flight. It was terrifying.

When I landed in Kuala Lumpur, I was tired from lack of sleep and quickly got down the plane and make my way to the office. Honestly I have never thought of making a report, as it did not cross my mind at all. It was only suggested by my husband to do so. In the evening, I tried to go to make a police report nearby the office but was told that I did not have enough information.

1.  where did the incident happen? "During flight" is not an answer. It should be things like "Above Myanmar air space, etc. --> Sounds ridiculous but it is needed as part of police report
2.  what time did it happen? around 2 hours into the flight is also not a good answer. As I was traveling across the globe, it could be GMT 5.5 to GMT 8.0

Since I couldn't provide the information above and having the risk of making false report, I was ask to go back to the airport to make the police report. I tried to call the KLIA and KLIA2 Police station just to confirmed if i can make the report but the calls never get through...

So what I have done is to write to Air Asia and writing down what I have learned for awareness for everyone.

****

As I said, grabbing by my arm may sound nothing, but why was he holding my arm, why was he not letting it go until I started to make noises? But what should be considered "serious" and worth a headline? Will it be too late by then? I am thankful that I am a light sleeper, but regardless, no one, I repeat NO ONE can touch or grab you unwillingly. It is considered harassment.

What to do if you are harassed during your flight? 


  • Call for attention and get flight attendant to come to you. Or call the button for their assistant. The flight attendant is trained to handle any situations so they will be able to help you. 
  • Report to flight attendant and ask them to request for SECURITY upon arrival. That person will be detained upon arrival by security. Then, from there proceed with investigation 
  • However, once you step down and make report else, they cannot and will not take action already. Remember this!
I came across this website which is very insightful for your further reading... 
 https://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-metoo-movement-has-now-reached-35000-feet-2018-05-23 

Please get our hands together to stop any kind of harassment as it was really nasty thing to go through such ordeal. It's terrifying. It's disgusting.

I have written the same information to Airasia, and hope for their immediate respond. If they cannot give me any explanation, at least please spread the awareness in their travel magazine or print documents to educate travelers of what we can and should do.

Perhaps it is about time to introduce "female row" for lone traveler like me.

#metoo #ak62 #AirAsia #harassment

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