3 Passengers Held In A Turkish Prison After Filming Flight Attendant Doing Safety Demo

Nine Israeli citizens were arrested on arrival in Istanbul after a flight attendant on their Pegasus Airlines flight complained she had been sexually harassed.

The passengers say that the crewmember simply “didn’t like Israelis.” But one member of the group “took a video of her giving the safety instructions before takeoff” and she used that as a pretext for her complaint, though she’d asked the passenger to delete the video and he complied.

  • When the flight landed, no one was allowed off the aircraft.
  • Police boarded, took the flight attendant’s statement and that of a corroborating Turkish passenger
  • Then took the group of 9 for questioning at the airport police station

Six were released, but three were held in “a remote prison close to the Syrian border.” After a week, they remain in custody.

While in America filming in public is generally permitted by law, some airlines have had rules against it on their own property. Sometimes airline employees take matters into their own hands to keep a customer filming them from traveling, but there’s no legal jeopardy.

Elsewhere it’s important to know local customers – and the long tail risks you face while traveling, like winding up in a Turkish prison.

In India we’ve seen passengers arrested for filming a flight attendant and charged with ‘outraging a woman’s modesty’.

There’s no question that, from their earliest days, flight attendants have faced sexual harassment. It’s probably somewhat less common in the U.S. than it used to be since social norms have shifted away from “coffee, tea, or me?” and air travel itself is, for the most part, no longer ‘sexy’. (Plus, Hooters Air is out of business and Southwest no longer dresses their flight attendants in hot pants.)

This apparently still needs to be said, especially when traveling somewhere that your rights are a less secure, look if you must (but keep your glances furtive). Don’t film. Definitely do not touch.

(HT: Paddle Your Own Kanoo)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. What a shame that FAs on international flights can’t or won’t understand that their native customs or beliefs shouldn’t apply when it comes to matters of filming one who’s giving safety instructions.
    That said, passengers ought to be aware that on international flights staffed by members of non-Western cultures behavior that may be all right, though not necessarily encouraged, may be considered rude, vulgar, or even sexual harassment.
    Until IATA or some other authoritative body sets rules, unfortunate incidents like the one Gary describes may well continue.

  2. @st

    OK, let us pick a bit more nits…
    Should actually be customs, not Customs. The office that deals with the inspection of goods crossing a boarder is a proper name, hence the capital letter, whereas the shared values of a group is lower case.
    If you are gonna swim with sharks, don’t bleed ! LOL

  3. Good on the FA to stand up for herself and do something about the harassing passengers.

  4. Denis, if you really want to pick nits, it should be border, not boarder.

  5. Are the people being held in an actual prison or a jail? Turkish prisons have a reputation pretty close to a gulag while jails are pretty much always less harsh.

  6. @BOB, I am a flight attendant. Yes, it is important for us to stand up for ourselves and not be harassed. But filming someone? That is in no way, intimidation or harassment.

  7. As much as Turkish Prisons are notorius for Homosexual activities (Midnight Express). I don’t think the Israelis have anything to Fear. (a) The Israelis will want compensation for that (b) They will have to take a Bath First.

  8. Cmon you gotta be very naive to believe it was only filming.

    They got what they deserved.

  9. You can’t be pissing people who think they have such power, off. Just sit remember why you’re there, for a flight and myob.

  10. Readings news articles,it was a bit more than just filming. They were filming her and mocking. Perhaps she saw it as disrupting a key safety briefing.

  11. Were where these detained guys headed? To cheap(er) Turkish brothels? Not an unheard of thing for the Israeli guys to do when off from IDF service or right afterwards, and so if wouldn’t surprise me if they were making sexually lewd comments.

  12. Remember, that in America, planes are not public. They are private property you are allowed on. The law that filming in public is allowed doesn’t apply here. Most airlines probably allow it but not because it’s law. That’s why airlines can refuse service to anyone.

  13. “social norms have shifted away from “coffee, tea, or me?”
    True, but how often are words or actions sexual harassment only if they don’t like you? More situational ethics.

  14. Situational ethics? :rolleyes:

    As with sexual harassment of this alleged sort, physical contact related sexual activity too can be a crime or not depending on whether an involved person likes to grant permission or not to another. Or does One Trippe want to try to downplay the crime of vaginal and anal rape too where rapes of such sort take place by bringing up “situational ethics”?

    Speaking of ethics, some would argue that a “bro’s trip” to “have some fun” in Turkish brothels should generally be considered an act of sexual violence.

  15. Does (Turkish) “Pegasus” translate to (English) “Spirit”?

    Probably the same “Turkey” where 36 years ago, when I was deployed on the first US aircraft carrier to make a liberty port visit to Antalya (Turkey), we were warned (by senior Navy officers) way ahead of time – many times – to not accept offers (from civilians or police or military) to visit (and receive “services” from) the nearby women’s prison.

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