By Shannon Najmabadi
We can all breathe a little easier knowing that a male passenger who reportedly “struck the buttocks” of a female flight attendant is now in police custody, according to the Shanghai Daily.
The incident took place on an Air China flight flying from Guiyang to Shanghai. As the flight attendant helped passengers load luggage into the overhead compartments before takeoff, the passenger struck – hitting her on the buttocks, according to what she later told police.
Other crewmembers called the airport police, who took the passenger away for questioning – causing the flight to be delayed by one hour.
While the flight attendant insists he struck her intentionally, the passenger denies wrongdoing.
“I used newspaper to touch the flight attendant because she blocked my way and I just wanted to get to my seat,” the passenger later told police.
Airport police held the passenger for “investigation of sexual harassment of flight attendants,” an issue that has repeatedly occurred on various Asian airlines.
Many flight attendants have been harassed by passengers, but in most cases, they just warn them to avoid affecting flight schedules, a flight attendant with Shanghai Airlines posted online.
“For instance, a passenger tried to touch my hand repeatedly on a flight, but I remained silent because he was a VIP passenger and I was afraid of getting complaints,” the attendant surnamed Zhang said on her microblog.
A passenger was detained by police in August after he touched the hands of a flight attendant and repeatedly attempted to get a hug from her on a TransAsia Airways flight in Taiwan.
There was outrage in August 2012 when it was reported that a Guangdong CPC official had been accused of hitting and scratching a flight attendant on a plane from Hefei to Guangzhou. The airline eventually withdrew the accusation after a police investigation.