Report Shows Airlines Doing Little to Curb Discrimination on Flights

Report Shows Airlines Doing Little to Curb Discrimination on Flights

Angry air passengers

PHOTO: Angry air passengers. (photo courtesy of Thinkstock)

Just a few months ago, a passenger on a Ryanair flight went viral when video surfaced of his racist remarks against another passenger. The viral story was fueled even more by people’s surprise that the flight attendants didn’t remove the passenger. Unfortunately, incidents like this are not uncommon.

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A new report by the International Air Transport Association shows that airlines are not doing much when it comes to racism and sexual harassment on flights.

The International Air Transport Association reported that there were 350 reported cases of racial, homophobic, ageist, and sexual abuse on flights, and yet only one in 20 offenders were removed from planes.

Police or security personnel were involved in only 178 of the incidents and 141 of the incidents resulted in a simple warning.

The real kicker? Only 17 of the 350 passengers who engaged in discriminatory or abusive behavior were taken off the aircraft.

“There should be zero tolerance to this,” said Tim Colehan, assistant director of external affairs at IATA. “However, it requires people to be willing to report the incident to the crew and sometimes for there to be witnesses. And if a country doesn’t have the jurisdiction to intervene, the accused will just be released.”

The International Civil Aviation Organization tried to battle these inflight offenses with their Montreal Protocol of 2014, which sought to encourage action against these offenses and close up some jurisdiction loopholes, but only 15 of the 22 countries have ratified the law. Three of the biggest aviation markets—the U.S., China, and the U.K.—have not adopted the ruling.

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