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#MeToo movement also includes experiences on commercial flights

Many travelers from New York and elsewhere understand that they might have an unpleasant experience when they fly, which could range from lost luggage to unexpected delays. However, they may not anticipate the possibility of being assaulted on an airplane. Whether a person is a passenger or an airline employee, nobody should experience sexual assault or harassment on a flight.

Sexual harassment on a plane includes lewd comments, unwanted touching, inappropriate propositions and forceful physical attacks of a sexual nature. In a survey by the Association of Flight Attendants, nearly one out of every five flight attendants said they witnessed a passenger's sexual assault or were harassed or assaulted themselves. A report from NPR states that incidents of sexual harassment and assault on airplanes are increasing, and authorities believe incidents may be greatly underreported. Inadequate training and a lack of knowledge on how to handle incidents in the air and report them to the proper authorities may be partially to blame.

According to MarketWatch, reporting sexual assault incidents that occur in the air is more complicated than reporting an incident on the ground. The victim must inform a flight attendant, who in turn reports the incident to the captain, who tells a flight dispatcher, who reports it to law enforcement. Passengers and employees should be aware, however, that sexual assault on an aircraft is a felony that could include a sentence of 20 years in prison for interfering with the flight crew.

A woman who was sexually assaulted by a man sitting next to her while she dozed off on a flight recently filed a lawsuit against the airline for inadequate training and negligence after she claimed attendants did not know what to do when she reported her attacker's behavior and asked to be protected. Victims of assault on airplanes should know that they have rights, and they may wish to seek experienced legal counsel.

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