Home / News / American Airlines Employee Harasses Passenger: promises upgrades, lounge passes, in exchange for “friendship”

American Airlines Employee Harasses Passenger: promises upgrades, lounge passes, in exchange for “friendship”

Ashley Barno started receiving text messages from a phone number she didn’t know commenting on many personal things about her–what flight she was on, how attractive she was, and the creepiest of all to me, a text describing her current outfit.

The anonymous texter confessed he was an American Airlines employee on the same flight that she was about to board.  Onboard, he tried to get her to sit next to him and after she told him to leave her alone, he started promising airline perks in exchange for her “friendship”.

You can read the whole story here at the Washington Post.

It turned out the man (who was eventually fired) got her information off her luggage tags.

Keri from Heels First spoke on traveling as a single woman at FTU back in 2013.  One of the topics of conversation that came up was how important it was to not have visible luggage tags on your bag.

Since I tend to have multiple destinations, I put my detailed travel itinerary inside my bag.  I’m sure the airlines would resort to opening it at some point if they had no way of identifying me.

You can also get luggage tags like these, where your information is tucked safely away.

It’s scary how quickly someone knowing just a little bit of information about you can turn into an uncomfortable situation.  I’ve had to ask my boss at one of the bars I worked at to stop using my last name (“Hey, Hoffman!”) after one guest used it to somehow track me down.   In the early days of dating websites, someone created a profile just to connect with me–but pretended they had just discovered me on the dating website.

But with travel, there’s a lot of little things you can do.  Keep your boarding pass folded.  Don’t use easily viewable baggage tags.  Don’t walk around with the name of your blog on your tank top (JEANNE).  Things like that.

I know the vast majority of people you come across in the airport are good, non-creepy people, so I feel paranoid when I am super cautious.  But stories like this creep me out and remind me why I should be cautious.

About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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7 comments

  1. This is the chauvinist culture that women have encouraged for a millennia that is to blame. The guy has to run after the woman, and we make movies where the guy goes through the ringer to convince the woman to date him and we all go ‘awwwww’ how romantic.

    Women are the most evil, hypocritical, two faced idiots ever. Don’t send mixed signals. And pull your weight in the dating world instead of being always the passive receiver.

    That said the guy is an idiot. he should have been aware of the double standards. If that woman had said yes they would be saying “this is how i met your mother” in 10 years to their kids. Did i mention double standards and hypocrisy of women?

    • What a ridiculous response to a report of an employee abusing the access his job gave him to someone’s information as a way to try and pick someone up. Guess who invented the “chauvinist culture” you describe? Spoiler: It wasn’t women. You can lay that one squarely at the feet of the patriarchy, which has told women for millennia that we’re not allowed to be “forward” or to seek out sexual relationships.

      Not that I expect any of this to sway you, as your own misogyny is showing in both your keenness to blame women for being harassed rather than this man for harassing one, and your broad generalizations about women’s behaviour.

      Regardless of cultural norms around dating, no one should be abusing their position to gain access to contact information for personal purposes. That’s a very concerning breach of privacy and security, and it would be so whether it was to hit on a customer or to try and sell them stuff from an MLM.

    • When I first read your comment, I thought, wow, guys got a chip on his shoulder but to be honest, you’re probably just like the AA employee – delusional, emotionally and mentally stunted person making excuses for your own inadequacies. You like to blame women for chauvinism and point out that you get mixed signals and are subjected to double standards. Ever wonder if it’s not women that are the issue but that you’re the creep? If you can’t treat someone with respect, they may not want to go out with you and right from the get go, you have some child-like misdirected anger.

      Here’s some tips for the future, if nothing else, maybe you can have your eyes opened to your boorish behavior.
      1) Women should not be stalked. End of story. Shut up after that if you want to say but….
      2) If someone, not just women, but anyone, says No, understand that it is a No.
      3) Treat people with respect and they will do likewise. Your attitude is classic incel behavior. If this is the type of attitude you project, its understandable why women are repulsed. As a man, I am repulsed reading what you wrote.

      You should work on your maturity and responsibility as you are quite lacking. I am not sure what leads someone to be so mentally and emotionally stunted, but I hope you can work on that and one day grow up to be a respectful man, not the present misogynistic individual you are presenting here.

  2. No one is making excuses for Ahmed. But things happen for a reason.

    For example, You can do all you want to defeat donald trump, but if you don’t understand why he was elected in the first place by 50% people then you are being willfully blind of the underlying cause. This doesn’t excuse any of his behavior.

    Women have a bad habit of excusing anything that point to their privilege: If it’s a problem that affects me then it’s a problem, if it’s a problem that affects you then work on your own growth and maturity.

    The culture needs to change and ahmed is product of that culture that women had just as much hand in creating. Many other guys woruld have done what ahmed did but were afraid of the consequences and knew they would likely be caught. This guy just didn’t have that filter. So don’t assume just ahmed was the problem.

    In any case i am no politician nor an anthropologist so i am just talking in the wind. What i say carries no weight and will change nothing. But i think i am right.

    • He wasn’t elected by 50%. He lost the popular vote. But you are totally right that you’re just talking into the wind, anyway.

    • Wait, so you’re saying that most guys, yourself included, would stalk a woman who says no if they wouldn’t be caught? Any women are at fault for that because we want men to be mature(btw, most men I know would be appalled at the idea of stalking a woman)? And we should say yes to stalkers because it will be the start of a great love story.
      You sound like a real catch. No wonder you want women to “pull their weight” in the dating world, it’s because you assume that no is mixed signal and stalking is a great idea, and are now flummoxed at women not wanting you. So, it’s the culture’s fault and women! They are evil and hypocritical but why won’t they date me?! It’s not fair!(I imagine you stomping your foot here).
      Yes, I am being petty. Yes, you deserve it.

    • Wait, so you’re saying that most guys, yourself included, would stalk a woman who says no if they wouldn’t be caught? Any women are at fault for that because we want men to be mature(btw, most men I know would be appalled at the idea of stalking a woman)? And we should say yes to stalkers because it will be the start of a great love story.
      You sound like a real catch. No wonder you want women to “pull their weight” in the dating world, it’s because you assume that no is mixed signal and stalking is a great idea, and are now flummoxed at women not wanting you. So, it’s the culture’s fault and women! They are evil and hypocritical but why won’t they date me?! It’s not fair!(I imagine you stomping your foot here).
      Yes, I am being petty. Yes, you deserve it.

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