November 29, 2023

Rape allegations against JetBlue pilots are part of a disturbing trend

By lauren Lango From Care2

Airlines have a history of sexual assault and a tendency to not handle the subject well. New allegations against JetBlue pilots, as well as the company’s response, appears to follow that unfortunate trend.

According to a lawsuit filed against the airline, two JetBlue pilots drugged and raped fellow JetBlue crew members while on a layover in Puerto Rico. The allegations state that three female crew members met Flight Officers Eric Johnson and Dan Watson on the beach and shared some beers.

“The beer was laced with a drug, and after that point, the rest of the night became a blur for [the women],” according to the lawsuit, filed earlier this month.

The women could not remember leaving the beach but somehow ended up with the pilots at a hotel, where the pilots allegedly raped two of the women. They attempted to rape the third before being “turned off” by her vomiting. One of the women contracted HPV as a result of the rape.

All three women returned to work the next morning but were overcome with nausea and vomited throughout the return flight to Newark.

The lawsuit states the women reported the sexual assaults to JetBlue’s corporate headquarters, but the pilots were not disciplined in any way. One of the women continued having to work with one of the pilots and had to leave the room whenever he was nearby.

This is not the only incident of airlines failing to take action against sexual assault allegations. Last year, an Alaska Airlines pilot sued the airline after a fellow pilot drugged and raped her. She reported the incident, but nothing happened. A United Airlines pilot took sexually explicit photos of a flight attendant and posted them online, and the airline did nothing. The victims sued their employers in both these instances, as well.

Given airlines’ poor treatment of their own employees in the face of sexual assault allegations, it’s no surprise, then, how airlines typically react with equal disinterest when passengers experience assault.


According to FBI data, mid-flight sexual assaults increased 66 percent between 2014 and 2017, and that doesn’t account for all the assaults that aren’t reported or don’t reach the FBI.

Yet, airlines often don’t have policies regarding in-air sexual assault, or those policies are glossed over so much in flight crew training that many staff don’t know how to handle harassment or assault.

This ineptitude leaves passengers helpless with nowhere to go and no one to turn to when flight attendants ignore their pleas for help.

One recent exception to this upsetting trend happened on a Canadian airline on March 25. A journalist was one row in front of a teenage girl traveling alone who was seated beside a man. The man seemed very pleased to sit next to the teenager and proceeded to chat her up, at one point giving her his phone number and saying he wanted to take her out to eat. He kept going and eventually asked the girl for a dirty photo.

At this point, the journalist stood up and confronted him. He left to go to the bathroom. Another woman nearby had also heard the comments and asked the girl if she was okay and offered her support. A flight attendant was called, and at that point the staff acted quickly to gather witness statements and forced the man to move. He was met by security after landing.


Ignoring sexual assault on its planes is unacceptable. Join over 22,000 Care2 members and sign and share this petition demanding that JetBlue fire these rapists now.

For more on this story go to:

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
About ieyenews

Speak Your Mind