Virgin Atlantic Steps In After Female Passenger Receives Creepy Messages From “Dirty Mike”
By Parker Diakite
Virgin Airlines is apologizing to a passenger after the woman says she received inappropriate messages from unknown passengers through the company’s seat chat function.
“Yesterday, I was on a @VirginAtlantic flight and I unexpectedly received these sexually harassing messages on my screen (I was in 55C),” Twitter user Jessica Van Meir said to her followers. “The flight attendants were helpful & dealt with it swiftly. Have any other women had this happen to them?”
Van Meir, a legal analyst who specializes in the area of sexual assaults and harassments, posted screenshots of the alleged exchange that took place on her flight to Washington.
The messages seemed to have come from a group of men seated behind her whom she had passed on her way to the restroom.
In response to the incident, Virgin Atlantic released the following statement to Travel Noire:
“We were extremely concerned to hear of the incident reported on-board one of our flights and are investigating as a matter of urgency. We want all of our customers to have the best possible experience when they fly with us and have zero tolerance for any disruptive or inappropriate behaviour. We’re grateful to our cabin crew who supported our customer following this incident and would like to apologise for the distress caused. We are now reviewing our entertainment systems to ensure this does not happen again.”Virgin Atlantic
Virgin Atlantic added that “this is the first incident we are aware of.”
According to Van Meir, after flight attendants spoke with the guys, she walked through the aisle to take a picture of them.
“Afterwards, a young guy came up to me and said he heard about the chat between me and the guys and wanted to apologize on their behalf,” she said on Twitter. “They were on a rugby trip and he was one of the leaders. He said the guys had been drinking and he’d talk to them, was sorry and hoped we could leave it at that. What matters to me is not going after these guys, but making sure they understand why it was harmful.”
Virgin Atlantic confirmed with Travel Noire that the company intends to phase out seat-to-seat messaging across its fleet. New aircrafts joining their fleet will not have the messaging functionality. Van Meir thinks this is good news.
“Good news,” she tweeted. “Glad to see @VirginAtlantic is removing their chat system & surprised it took this long for them to realize the potential for abuse. I have no problem with flirting when it’s done in a respectful way. “You tidy babe” and “welcome to hell” ain’t it. #flyingwhilefemale”