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Then There Was That Time United Refused To Help Teen Who Was Being Sexually Harassed

An earlier incident pointed to United’s customer service issues

Then There Was That Time United Refused To Help Teen Who Was Being Sexually Harassed

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They said her “short shorts” were to blame.


Chelsea Schiffel was just 15-years-old at the time, flying home to Sydney from Los Angeles when an older man reportedly grabbed her breasts twice. The incident allegedly happened when Schiffel’s mother Narelle had briefly left her seat to speak with a family member located in a different section of the plane. After hearing what had happened, her mother reportedly then asked United Airlines staffers to change their seats but were ordered to return to their own, next to the man in question, for the remainder of the lengthy flight.

Afterward, Schiffel’s mother, 42, wrote a letter to United Airlines about the July 2014 incident. But in their response, carried by local outlet 9News, the airline appeared to blame the teen’s clothing for the incident:

“The flight attendants and passengers also stated that you and your daughter were allowed to move to other seats several times, that Chelsea repeatedly moved in and out of her seat, crawling over the other customer who was attempting to sleep, and that your daughter wore extremely short shorts,” United Airlines officially said in a letter that was first published by News Corp. "You have provided no evidence of any negligence on the part of United regarding this matter."

In an interview carried by the Daily Mail, Chelsea said: “For me it comes across, by them saying that, (it) feels like they were telling me that I was asking for it.”

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