An Australian couple has told how she and her Perth partner were subjected to homophobic abuse onboard their domestic Jetstar flight and claimed staff didn’t intervene.
Cat Franke and Julz Evans were flying from Melbourne to Perth on New Year’s Eve when they were verbally abused by an “intoxicated, arrogant man” sitting in the seat behind them.
In a lengthy Facebook post to the airline about the incident, Ms Franke said it was the “most awful verbal abuse and discrimination I have ever experienced.”
The man allegedly punched the back of their seats, demanded the couple kiss and called them “faggots”, “dykes” and “poofters”.
“I feared for mine and my partner’s lives on that plane, we were physically trapped with someone who wanted to hurt us and make sure we had a terrible time,” she wrote.
“When I spoke up to ask him to stop, he only got more aggressive and louder with his homophobic hate speech and began boxing the back of my partner’s chair.
“The punching continued for hours and my partner could not lean back against their seat. They had to lean forward against the seat in front, even upon landing.”
Ms Franke also claimed Jetstar staff had been alerted to the passenger’s behaviour but failed to intervene and even continued to serve him alcohol as they “giggled” at his drunkenness.
“When I mentioned it to the crew about how he was terrorising us the whole flight and felt we couldn’t speak up without him getting worse as we were leaving the plane your crew replied with, ‘Oh I’m so sorry, he was making comments to me too,’” she said.
“Your staff had been receiving abuse from him too yet failed to do anything about him other than giggle at his drunkenness.
“It was clear that the man had been drinking heavily before the flight, yet your staff continued to accept his money for about 5-7 drinks and he became so intoxicated he could barely walk straight or follow instructions.
“You could imagine how much this helped with his filter.
“I started off my year shaking and in tears from fear and from how much the verbal abuse had hurt me.”
Fairfax Media reported the couple have received $50 gift vouchers from Jetstar while the incident is investigated, but the couple want their tickets fully refunded and the man blacklisted from Jetstar flights.
A Jetstar spokesperson said the company doesn’t tolerate “any discriminatory or offensive behaviour” on board the company’s flights and encouraged customers to report it.
“We are appalled to hear about the alleged behaviour of a passenger during a flight on Sunday,” the spokesperson said.
“Our crew were made aware of the alleged behaviour at the end of the flight while passengers were leaving the plane, and have submitted an internal report which is currently being investigated.”