DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao announced she has established the National In-Flight Sexual Misconduct Task Force to review current practices, protocols and requirements of U.S. airlines in responding to and reporting allegations of sexual misconduct by passengers onboard aircraft.
Chao said the DOT will also provide recommendations to the Aviation Consumer Protection Advisory Committee (ACPAC or Committee) on best practices relating to training, reporting, and data collection regarding incidents of sexual misconduct by passengers onboard commercial aircraft.
Just earlier this month, CBS 11 reported that an American Airlines passenger was suing the airline, blaming in part, flight attendants for her alleged sexual assault while on a flight. A woman claimed a man boarded her Phoenix to New York flight last summer already drunk. Then she said he sexually assaulted her in the plane’s lavatory. The airline said they were “deeply troubled by any allegation of misconduct onboard our aircraft.”
The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 (FAA Act), signed by President Trump on October 5, 2018, specifies that Task Force members must include representatives from the Department of Transportation, Department of Justice (including the Federal Bureau of Investigations, Office of Victims of Crime and Office on Violence Against Women), Department of Health and Human Services, national organizations which specialize in providing services to sexual assault victims, national consumer protection organizations, national travel organizations, labor organizations representing flight attendants and pilots, State and local law enforcement agencies, airports, and air carriers.
According to a press release from the DOT, The FAA Act also “mandates that the Department establish an advisory committee to address the air travel needs of passengers with disabilities and another advisory committee to improve the disclosure of charges and fees for patients requiring lifesaving air medical transport.” The agency said they will be selecting members to serve on those committees soon.
Membership in the Task Force will be announced at the first meeting of the ACPAC scheduled for January 16, 2019 in Washington, D.C.
The meeting is open to the public and will be livestreamed here.