Updated: Wed, 25 Jul 2012 22:44:19 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

Jazz passenger complains of drunken sexual harassment



Jazz passenger complains of drunken sexual harassment

A woman is calling on Jazz, an Air Canada affiliated airline, to better protect customers after an incident that left her feeling "trapped" by a man believed to be drunk.

The alleged harassment started on an early Monday Jazz flight from Yellowknife to Calgary, which takes about two hours.

Alyson Beaudoin-Goodman, 19, who was heading home to Newfoundland, said the man sitting beside her appeared to be drunk and soon took an interest in her.

"He was like touching me and nudging me and I asked him to stop twice — he kept doing it," she said.

Beaudoin-Goodman said it got worse and the man tipped his drink on her.

"He was saying vulgar things, and saying he'd like to take me to a hotel," she said.

Beaudoin-Goodman said the flight attendant eventually asked the man to stop talking to her, but was told she couldn't move seats because the flight was full.

"She just told him to stop talking to me … then he started swearing on me and getting very angry with me," Beaudoin-Goodman said. "The only thing that upsets me is that there was no seats and if he was to get violent, where was I going to go — where would I go?"

Beaudoin-Goodman said at that point, she felt "trapped."

Civil liberties advocate Linda McKay-Panos said she had witnessed a man harassing a woman on her last flight from Calgary to Ottawa.

"You know that's why the attendants are there, to protect the safety [of others] — including that woman," she said.

The airline said it did not have an in-flight report on this specific case and cannot comment on specific behaviours of customers due to privacy issues.

The airline declined an interview, but issued a written statement.

"Any situation that impacts the comfort, and/or safety, of our passengers and crew is not taken lightly and our crews are well-trained to handle challenging situations and do so on a daily basis," wrote Debra Williams, manager, corporate communications and industry affairs with Jazz Aviation.

"If a passenger appears to be intoxicated, our customer service agents and in-flight crew will respond accordingly and as per standard operating procedures up to and including denied boarding and removal from a flight."

Beaudoin-Goodman said the airline needs to have an extra seat where someone could be moved. She also said the staff on her flight shouldn't have served the man beside her alcohol or even let him on the plane because he appeared to be in an inebriated state.

Beaudoin-Goodman has not filed a formal complaint, but said she plans to in the near future.

Jazz is a contract carrier for Air Canada and operates flights on that airline's behalf.

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