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An airline worker texted a passenger as she waited to board her flight after looking up her number in the company system, then told her to 'block me' if she didn't like it

Business Insider logo Business Insider 23.06.2023 17:54:20 (Sawdah Bhaimiya)
An Etihad Airways worker tracked down a female passenger's number through the airline's system. Joan Valls/Urbanandsport/Nurphoto/Getty Images

A contractor working for Etihad Airways sent WhatsApp messages to a British passenger by locating her details in the airline's system, British newspaper The Guardian reported Thursday. 

23-year-old Hannah Smethurst tweeted that she received the messages from an Etihad Airways worker - whose name has not been revealed - when she was waiting to board a flight from Abu Dhabi to Manchester. 

"A guy who works for the Etihad airline used my personal data which he found via the airline database after seeing my passport to get my phone number and proceeded to text me, terrifying experience travelling alone," she wrote in the tweet. 

Smethurst posted screenshots of the messages in which the worker says: "Heyyy I have seen you from abudhabi," with a smiley face emoji tacked on. 

When Smethurst asked how he got her number he explained: "I searched you in the system." He clarified that he was "working" and used the airline's system. 

"Sorry for the trouble. If am disturbing u. just block me," he added. Despite this, about 10 minutes later the worker sent another message saying "FYI Ur flight is boarding." 

Smethurst who travelling back home to Preston in northwest England told the Guardian that she felt unsafe after the incident. 

"I was alone, so I just felt really vulnerable because it stuck in my mind that he knows my number, knows my home address and my full name and email address and obviously everything you give the airline when you book," she said. "I just felt vulnerable and scared. [It] made me feel like he knew what was going on and where I was going."

Smethurst said airport staff were dismissive when she reported the incident and a manager offered to take her off the flight so she could file a police report. However, she'd have to wait 24-hours to get another flight to Manchester. 

Smethurst called her mum who convinced her to remain calm and get on the flight and once she landed in England customer service were able to deal with the situation properly, she told The Guardian. 

"Our team have been in contact with the guest and Etihad initiated a full investigation as soon as it was made aware of inappropriate conduct by an employee of a third-party contractor," Etihad Airways told Insider in a statement. 

"As a result of the investigation, the relevant employee involved has been disciplined in accordance with the contractor's disciplinary procedures. The privacy and safety of our guests is our number one priority and we sincerely apologise for the distress caused to our guest." 

Smethurst did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment via Twitter about the incident. 

vendredi 23 juin 2023 20:54:20 Categories: Business Insider

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