Teen 'groped' on plane told she was wearing 'extremely short shorts'

Girl, 15, says she's been made to feel like she was 'asking for it'

Updated: 
Teen 'groped' on plane told she was wearing 'extremely short shorts'


A teenage girl has said she was groped by a man during a flight - and that United Airlines in response said she wore "extremely short shorts".

Chelsea Schiffel claimed she was groped by an elderly man whilst travelling on a flight from LA to Sydney on a United Airlines flight in July 2014 when she was aged 15.

See also: Flight attendants' minidress uniform an 'invitation to sexual harassment'

See also: BA passenger 'groped' while sleeping on flight


She was travelling with her family when she alleges she was touched inappropriately.

She says a passenger touched her breasts twice after her mother Narelle, 42, had got up to speak to a family member, who was seated at the rear of the plane.

The mother asked to move seats but reportedly said they were told they could not, something United denies.

According to 9 News, a letter seen by News Corp from United Airlines read: "The flight attendants and passengers also stated that you and your daughter were allowed to move to other seats several times, that Chelsea repeatedly moved in and out of her seat, crawling over the other customer who was attempting to sleep, and that your daughter wore extremely short shorts.

"You have provided no evidence of any negligence on the part of United regarding this matter."

Schiffel was not happy with the response and said it contributed to a blaming culture for women, saying: "For me it comes across, by them saying that, (it) feels like they were telling me that I was asking for it."

The family attempted to take legal action against United Airlines but have been hampered by insufficient evidence.

The Daily Telegraph reports that a United Airlines spokesperson said: "United is committed to providing a safe and comfortable travel experience. We are sorry about the experience Ms. Schiffel reported.

"We took this claim very seriously when we first learned of it two years ago and have been in touch with Australian police, who chose not to pursue the matter. However, we offered the Schiffel family goodwill compensation in the hope that they would choose to fly United again."

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