Alaska Airlines has launched an investigation into Randi Zuckerberg’s report of a passenger in her row making “repeated lewd sexual remarks” as the flight attendants “brushed off his behavior” and “kept giving him drinks.”
The founder and CEO of Zuckerberg Media, who previously worked at her brother Mark’s company Facebook, said the person talked to her about touching himself, repeatedly asked her if she fantasized about her female colleague she was traveling with, commented about other passengers’ bodies and made “many more equally horrifying and offensive comments.”
When she alerted the flight attendants, they allegedly said the man was a frequent traveler on the route and they have had to talk to him about his behavior in the past. She said they told her not to take it personally since he doesn’t have a filter.
“They came by my seat a few times and sweetly asked the passenger, ‘Are you behaving today?’
with a smile and giggle,” Zuckerberg wrote in a letter addressed to airline executives, including the CEO Brad Tilden, that she posted to Twitter on Wednesday night.
She tweeted: “Feeling disgusted & degraded after an @AlaskaAir flight where the passenger next to me made repeated lewd sexual remarks. The flight attendants told me he was a frequent flier, brushed off his behavior & kept giving him drinks. I guess his $ means more than our safety? My letter:”
The flight attendants then apparently offered to move Zuckerberg from her first-class seat to a middle seat “at the very back of the plane.” She said she almost accepted the offer until she decided against it, thinking she should not have to move since she was the one being harassed.
“All of this happened before the plane took off … why is it the woman that needs to switch seats in this situation? Shouldn’t he have been thrown off the plane?!” Zuckerberg wrote.
She said flight attendants continued to serve the passenger drinks for the duration of the three-hour flight from Los Angeles to Mazatlan, Mexico. She said he “continued to make inappropriate and offensive comments” to her.
Within two hours of the initial post, Zuckerberg tweeted again saying she talked on the phone with two executives from Alaska Airlines who told her they’re conducting an investigation and have temporarily suspended the person’s travel privileges.
She tweeted: “UPDATE: I just got off the phone with two executives from @AlaskaAir who informed me that they are conducting an investigation and have temporarily suspended this passenger’s travel privileges. Thank you for taking this seriously.”
Andrea “Andy” Schneider, Alaska Airlines vice president of people, called Zuckerberg’s report “very disturbing” in a blog post published Thursday. She said the airline has launched a “thorough investigation,” though she did not say whether the person had been temporarily barred from flights as Zuckerberg said on Wednesday.
Alaska Airlines did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
“The safety and well-being of our guests and employees is our number one priority,” Schneider said in the post. “We want our guests to feel safe. As a company, we have zero tolerance for any type of misconduct that creates an unsafe environment for our guests and our employees.”
She said the airline will work to review and strengthen its approach to preventing, identifying and addressing these issues in the coming weeks.