I cannot believe that I've been reduced to Googling about airline seats, but after hearing a Trump surrogate deny that armrests came up back in the day, I did just that. This is a line of defense put forth to discredit accusations against Trump in last night's airplane-groping story.
Here are photos discrediting that theory. And also a true stories from Anne.
As someone who flew first class for years, my own challenges with unwanted groping and hands on my inner thigh were so excessive that United Airlines permanently blocked the seat next to me unless the cabin was full and the ticket was a paying one. 1) No one could change their seat to fly next to me internationally without my approval. 2) And United did not upgrade anyone from coach or business class into that seat ever.
I was given this courtesy by United because I was in their top 100 fliers in those days. I never complained to United but did mention to one of my executive peers that I was often under near sexual assault on international flights. SHE spoke with the Victoria's Secret Travel Dept and they spoke with United, not on behalf of me personally but as one of United's biggest clients. We flew out of Columbus, Ohio into Chicago O'Hare, where we then boarded United Intl. I flew internationally 1-2 times a month with many stops in multiple countries worldwide.
The United flight attendants called me "Queen Victoria" when I entered the cabin. The seat next to me was so totally blocked that I remember a time that I checked into my flight to Hong Kong in the first class lounge. A man who had already checked in saw me and hung around not far from the concierge desk. I was very aware of him -- that he was hanging around. About 10 minutes after I left, the man returned to the desk. I said to myself "He's trying to change his seat."
When they called the boarding I was on the phone and took awhile to gather myself. The man boarded the flight and was seated in 4C when I entered the vestibule outside the cabin. "Ah, Queen Victoria", the flight attendant said. They were, of course, familiar to me. "Can you wait one moment. We have a question for you." She motioned to the man in 4C and quietly explained that he had asked to sit next to me and they explained that the seat was permanently blocked because of my status. This was the same story they gave him in the lounge, but he was adamant that he wanted to fly next to me. The flight attendants explained that only I could give him that seat.
I did not.
Mine may be one of the highest-level examples of what millions of women travelers have lived with for years. I've known many armrests to come up in life, and about a decade ago when I was on a personal flight from Las Vegas to Miami, a very tall New York hockey player in first class saw me get on the plane flying coach. It was a red eye flight.
My seat was in the coach exit row, and I remained astonished as I saw this big guy who drove a Hummer (yuck) make his way to coach and take the middle seat next to me. Being near the exit door, the window seat was out.
I found this to be very strange and my radar was up. At the same time, I knew that I was older than him and not by 5 years. We chatted and had a drink, which is how I knew he played for the Rangers. With the lights out, I went to sleep and only woke up when I felt his hand, not only under my skirt, but in my pussy.
I grabbed his hand and pushed him away, sitting in silence and seething awake until we landed in Miami.
The Donald Trump surrogates should not use such a feeble defense as arm rests to tell the world what can't possibly happen on airplane flights. I lose more respect for the Republican party and it's aggression against women (usually over controlling our reproductive health) with every breath I take. ~ Anne
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