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Answers (1)

Verbal threats/harassment by passenger on QR, little action by FAs

Verbal threats/harassment by passenger on QR, little action by FAs

  1. Anonymous

    I flew on a DOH-JFK flight recently. At the secondary screening area at the Doha gate, a passenger in front of me was talking very loudly about checking for terrorists because there were lots of terrorists here. I found this strange and looked at him, and then he asked me if I “was a devil worshipper” because only “devil worshippers looked like that.” I asked him if everything was okay and he became more agitated. I stopped responding to the passenger while he continued yelling about how he was a good Christian, how I was a devil worshipper, and some other menacing things. I was concerned for my safety on the flight and informed the gate agent immediately and in turn spoke to the supervisor at the gate; they informed me that I need not worry because the passenger was a wheelchair passenger and since we were seated apart on the aircraft he could not continue to harass me.

    Immediately on boarding, I notified the FA managing my section of the economy cabin, N, of what had happened in the gate area and she said to not worry. Around 2-3 hours after departure (around 4 AM Doha time), I could see and hear the passenger in the galley area next to my seat (I was in 30C on an A350) talking to the FAs there about me (N and one other). I was vaguely concerned but let it go, figuring they would handle the situation. Around 6-7 hours into the flight, the passenger came over to my seat and said he wanted to talk and apologize. I asked him to not talk to me. He became agitated and then started to threaten me, saying that “I know your seat number, I know your name, I know where you work” and that “something bad’s gonna happen to you.” I immediately notified an FA and asked to speak to the ISM. After a few minutes, someone named M1 came and said he was the ISM. I explained the situation and the threats, and M1 told me the following: 1) the passenger had faked the wheelchair disability (the original FA, N, concurred and said they had discussed this among the FAs since early on the flight), 2) the passenger had asked the FAs about me and my personal information, but that 3) the passenger was just bluffing, 4) I was not to worry, and 5) they didn’t find the situation serious enough to do anything at that point. M1 offered to move me to a different seat, but some FAs said the passenger frequented the aft area (even though he was seated in 27K, far from the aft, I was told), so it would not be a good idea to sit there. M1 offered to move me to the first section of the Y cabin but I refused because I felt safer next to the galley area with FAs instead of without a crew presence in the first section of the Y cabin. I repeated to M1 and the FAs around that the passenger had threatened me, but they did not change their response.

    M1 then said that he needed to take his rest and that I should refer to another FA, M2, with any further issues. Around ten hours into the flight, the passenger came over to my seat (within 2-3 feet, <1 meter) and stared me down. I immediately found M2 in the aft galley, who moved me to the front of the Y cabin and said she would notify the captain. She said that if he comes closer to my new seat that only then would they do something, because then "it would become really serious." M2 said that the crew and flight deck are concerned about the passenger because he did not just threaten me but other passengers as well. I stated I was not comfortable in the new seat (16A) because there was no crew presence, but M2 said the other Y cabins were not a good idea to move to. Important to note, when the passenger had come over to my original seat in 30C, there were 2 FAs seated in the crew seats on the right side of the cabin (near 30 HJK). They had not stopped the passenger from crossing over the galley to my seat, even though M1 had said hours earlier that everyone was aware of the situation.

    Here's a picture of A350 seating, for reference: [URL=''][/URL]

    I think there was a massive failure on the part of QR's staff, but I'd like to hear your thoughts and if I'm simply believing this out of shock. Obviously you can't foresee a threatening passenger (and it's probably too little to divert over verbal threats), but here's what I think they did wrong:
    [*]The ground staff at DOH automatically assumed that because he was apparently a "wheelchair passenger" (though the FAs said they realized he was faking soon into the flight) he would not be able to harass or threaten me on the flight and thus dismissed my concerns. I would not have boarded the flight had I known that this was not true and that I would indeed be threatened on the flight. I did not feel safe after the first incident onboard (6-7 hours in, on a 14-15 hour flight) and could not sleep or even close my eyes.
    [*]The ISM/FAs should have moved the dangerous passenger to another part of the Y cabin (like the aft), and not me to the front cabin (where was seated, actually).
    [*]The passenger did not face any repercussions at JFK for the threats he made against me, even though I asked the FAs to ask the captain to consider bringing security at JFK.
    [*]The biggest failure of the FAs was that they continued to entertain the passenger even as it became obvious he was threatening to me and other passengers - for example, laughing (or pretending to) with what he said even after he badgered them for details about me (and continuing to let him hang around the galley area by my seat), or not preventing the passenger from coming to my seat even though he crossed the galley right in front of them. I know QR's customer service is excellent, but I think this is one situation in which they must deviate from the smile-and-(pretend to)-be-happy routine.

    I've sent this over to QR, but I'm expecting a canned response from them. What are your thoughts on what happened here? Was I just being too dramatic, or was there cause for concern?

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