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Opinion
Adam Minter

Sex Harassment in the Skies

The average Cathay Airlines flight attendant must put up with being sexually harassed by a passenger approximately “one in every 10 flights.”
Are Cathay uniforms too sexy? (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Are Cathay uniforms too sexy? (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

It's not easy being a flight attendant at Hong Kong's award-winning Cathay Pacific. Selection criteria are strict, service standards are high and, according to Michelle Choi, a Cathay union official, the average Cathay flight attendant must put up with being sexually harassed by a passenger approximately "one in every 10 flights."

She's not exaggerating. In February, the city's Equal Opportunity Commission and the Hong Kong Flight Attendants Association released the results of a survey showing that 27 percent of the city's flight attendants had been sexually harassed in the prior 12 months, and 47 percent had "either heard about or witnessed" a colleague being harassed. What's worse, the same survey revealed that 68 percent of the respondents had received no training on "preventing sexual harassment," and the remaining 32 percent had received their training from online courses.