The Taoyuan Flight Attendants Union is calling for change to airline policy following an incident where a passenger on board Taiwanese airline EVA Air allegedly demanded three female flight attendants help him wipe his backside after taking a dump.
The incident occurred on Jan 19 on the flight during a flight from Los Angeles to Taiwan, which had an all-female crew.
- Facebook / Jeff Lin
One of the flight attendants, known by her last name Kuo, broke down in tears while recounting the incident at a press conference held with members of Taoyuan Flight Attendants Union on Jan 21.
According to Kuo, around 2.5 hours into the 14-hour flight, the American passenger – who was wheelchair-bound – claimed that he had injured his right arm, and said he required assistance getting on and off the toilet seat.
Within a minute of entering the toilet, the passenger, who is overweight, asked the cabin crew for help to remove his underwear which was already pulled down halfway.
At one point, the crew put a towel over his groin but he violently slapped Kuo’s hand away, she claimed during the press conference.
According to Kuo, he told them at the time: “I don’t need this. Come in and help me take off my underwear. I need to use the toilet.”
A short while after, he requested for the door to be opened as he felt breathless – but the flight attendants refused.
After he had finished relieving himself, he told Kuo to enter and wipe his backside for him. The flight attendants were thrown into an awkward situation as there was no male crew to help, and they could not leave the passenger in the lurch.
According to Kuo, the man claimed she had promised to help clean up earlier. Although she denied doing so, he insisted that she had to help him. The chief attendant then helped him with the wiping while Kuo supported the man from the front.
Kuo claims that the man then let out moans, saying: “Mmm… deeper, deeper.” As he was not convinced she did a good job, the chief attendant was made to repeat the action two more times.
“You better have had cleaned it properly,” he later said, according to Kuo. He then told her to put his underwear back on for him.
Kuo wrote about the encounter in a Facebook post, which was later translated by Facebook user Jeff Lin on Sunday (Jan 20).
According to Lin’s post, upon landing, the passenger declined help when a male ground staff member asked if the passenger required assistance in the toilet.
In her speech, Kuo said EVA Air had failed to protect her as an employee, and that a crew member was questioned on why a photo of the passenger was leaked online.
Taoyuan Flight Attendants Union has urged EVA Air to change its policies, and establish that physically-challenged passengers must be accompanied by their caretakers, and that employees should be able to turn down unreasonable demands made by the passengers.
Kuo also revealed during the press conference that this was not the first time the passenger had made such demands when flying with the airline.
According to a Facebook post by Taoyuan Flight Attendants Union yesterday, the man had defecated in his underwear on board an EVA Air flight in May last year.
EVA Air issued a statement yesterday on Weibo saying that it values the safety and well-being of its employees, and clarified that crew members are allowed to decline passenger demands they deem inappropriate – such as toilet assistance, feeding and medical services.
It added that investigations will be conducted and appropriate measures will be taken.