NEW: Andrea's Delta Victory; New Southwest Pilot Predator?; Flight Attendant Documentary
We're chock full of news today
The usual content warning for discussion of sexual assault
I’m always open to victims or victims’ supporters who want to talk or tip me off. Email me anytime at Metooairlines at proton .me
If you are a victim of late American Airlines flight 587 pilot and rapist Sten Molin, I’m looking for more people to go on the record to talk about their experiences. Email me if interested
I hope you all had a restful weekend, though I imagine many of you were working.
I went to the seaside and worked on a new mystery/thriller novel in between walks, paddleboarding and mojitos with fresh mint from my aunt’s garden. I was forced to unplug as there’s no internet and cell service is weak, so it was a weekend of calm and relaxation.
Now back to real life, where predators continue to operate freely within the airline industry, largely because they know the consequences will almost always range from zilch to none.
A Brand-new Pervy Southwest Pilot?
Today we’re talking about a man identified in the media as an as-yet-unnamed Southwest Airlines pilot, which would not be the first in SWA’s ranks to display disgusting behavior.
This fresh story just came out August 12.
According to articles about the incident, this alleged off-duty Southwest pilot apparently thought to himself,
“Self, wouldn’t it be fun and normal to AirDrop sexually graphic videos and dick pics of my junk to two women who are flying home on an aircraft owned by the company I work for?”
The answer must’ve been “yes,” because Elizabeth Huffman, 27, and her sister were returning from a visit with their mom in Washington earlier this month when, during a layover in Las Vegas, the guy did just that.
Because what woman doesn’t want to be sexually harassed by a creepy stranger forcing his genitals on her? Huffman explained she’d received harmless AirDrops in the past, so when she received one while boarding the Southwest flight,
“So, I just opened it, and it was a dick pic.”
Huffman told Insider that she declined multiple AirDrop requests from the same person over the next several minutes [while seated on the plane].
"As soon as I declined it, they tried again," she said. "Four or five times. At that point, I was just like, oh my god, what is going on? And so I opened it."
This time, it was an innocuous photo taken out of an airplane window, Huffman said, adding that her sister received the same photo.
"Then a few minutes later, I get another one, and this time it's a video," she said. "A really graphic one."
I’ll follow the story and update as needed. Southwest says they’re investigating and does not “condone this type of behavior.”
It’ll be interesting to see if Southwest is more concerned about paying passengers who can raise an almighty racket in the media with impunity about their assault, than they have allegedly been about their own pilots being assaulted.
Who can forget convicted sex pest Michael Haak, the now-retired Southwest Captain who threw a semen-stained napkin after stripping down and allegedly masturbating mid-flight in front of then-First Officer Christine Janning while she was at the controls and locked in the cockpit with him?
Janning’s ensuing lawsuit said Southwest retaliated against her for reporting the alleged assault (he was convicted in federal court of a lewd and indecent act) and shines a spotlight on Southwest’s alleged toxic and pervasive “Old Boys’ Club” culture, which the complaint says is “the perfect breeding ground” for what happened to her.
And now these two young women. Shameful. My guess? Because of the media attention, Southwest will reach out and attempt to settle quickly with these women so the name of the alleged predatory pilot will never see the light of day. We’ll see…
A Win for Delta Captain Andrea Ratfield!
For all those following what’s by far the most-read story in The Landing’s short history, we have a victory to report.
Captain Ratfield will have her day in court. Delta Air Lines’ motion to dismiss was denied on two of three claims. As United States District Judge Katherine Menendez writes in part in her August 11, 2023 decision,
Delta’s motion is denied to the extent it seeks dismissal for failure to state a claim. Ms. Ratfield has plausibly pleaded a claim for retaliation under Title VII and the MHRA and sexual harassment under the MHRA.
Delta Air Lines utilizes the Railway Labor Act (RLA) to get away with illegal actions. The airline, under the management of CEO and Board of Directors, Ed Bastian, has a history of retaliation and sexual harassment. They also have a history of filing motions to remove these cases from the courtroom and pull them into the grievance process, of which they own both the arbitrator and the process.
Congratulations to Capt. Ratfield. The cost of taking a stand is high, and can drain both your finances and your energy. But she’s standing firm, and I look forward to continuing to follow her court case.
And Finally…an Update on That Flight Attendant Documentary
I spent about an hour in an interview with the producers for their sizzle reel a few months back, and have been in touch with them as they worked to find a home for the series.
Some of you have spoken with them, too.
As you might recall, this reputable TV documentary production company in New York contacted me about the revelations exposed on The Landing about pilots and flight attendants. They are investigative journalists with strong track records and are in active development for a U.S. TV network for a documentary series about how flight attendants are the forgotten heroes of the airline industry—how they have often been exploited and abused.
They want to tell the stories of how flight attendants have been the victims of sexual assault, particularly from pilots. They believe that their series can help break the hidden scandal which has been simmering in the industry for so long.
I spoke with them recently over email, and they tell me they remain in active development. It’s not unusual in that business to take a while for a project to get picked up, though I can only I imagine it’s taking longer than they’d hoped.
In any case I’m sure they, and possibly I, will be in touch when it does find its home.
Thanks for reading and have a great week.
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