Some shocking revelations have come from a recent Transport Workers Union Survey which found that 65% of cabin crew working for Australian airlines have been harassed by a passenger or workmate.

The union survey of 419 cabin crew working for Qantas, Virgin, Jetstar and Tigerair represents a snapshot of the 8000 cabin crew working in the industry in Australia.

The survey was open to all cabin crew with 71% of the respondents who chose to disclose their gender, female and 29% male.


The results indicated that half of the cabin crew who had been harassed had actually had it happen more than four times.

“We are touched on the groin and buttocks region every single day, sometimes every single flight.”

Cabin crew survey feedback

Those who had been harassed said their experiences ranged from serious sexual assault, groping, passengers exposing themselves, sexualised comments and workers being abused because of their sexual orientation.

A passenger exposed himself and asked me to perform oral sex,” said one respondent.


Sadly, most incidents were never reported with close to 70% keeping the issue private for fear the situation would only be made worse by reporting it.

“I didn’t think I would be believed over a senior captain. The culture in the industry assumes cabin crew are disposable but pilots aren’t.”

Cabin crew survey feedback

One cabin crew member said “as a casual, I was afraid they wouldn’t believe me and I could lose my job. I didn’t want to have to face the person again if the company did nothing about it”.

Of those who did speak up a massive 84% said they were not happy with how it was handled, while almost 80 % said their airline was not doing enough to stop the harassment.

Image: Volkan Olmez/ Unsplash

“It was handled appallingly by management and compounded the anguish and pain already experienced by the event,” one cabin crew member said.

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