A Woman of Color Was Allegedly Assaulted by a White Man On Southwest Airlines
Photo Credit: Photo by Trac Vu

Photo Credit: Photo by Trac Vu

A Woman of Color Was Allegedly Assaulted by a White Man On Southwest Airlines

Flight Cancellations , flights , Orlando , United States , Phoenix , United States , news , southwest airlines , Travel News
Spencer Jones
Spencer Jones Sep 26, 2022

Saarah Sareshwala, an Indian woman, was allegedly assaulted by a white man on Southwest Airlines. According to Sareshwala’s husband, Faraaz — a Google engineer who recounted the story on Twitter — the flight was on its way to Phoenix from Orlando.

According to Faraaz, his wife had attended a conference in Orlando. But, because she was exhausted from the conference, Saarah decided to rest her head on the tray table when suddenly, the man sitting in front of her “violently pushed his seat back.”

Faraaz explained, “after coming to, she initially thought it was an accident; someone falling down in their own seat after returning from the bathroom or something.” Saarah soon discovered that the man’s actions were quite deliberate. And, allegedly, the fellow Southwest Airlines passenger — whose identity has not been revealed, as of this writing — didn’t stop there.

Saarah went to the bathroom to “check her injuries,” and when she returned, the two people sitting next to her asked one of the flight attendants for some ice. These passengers — a mother and daughter, one of whom revealed herself on Twitter after Faraaz’s Twitter thread went viral — tried to confront the man and he lashed out at them, mocking them and cursing them out as he did so.

Let’s take a look at what else we know about this alleged assault during a Southwest Airlines flight.

The Man Got Increasingly Violent

Faraaz wrote, “the man made the blah blah motion with his hands and facetiously said ‘fu*k off, fu*k off!’ He told the daughter to ‘stay in [her] fucking lane, bitch.’ He then said about my wife that ‘the fu*king bitch got what was coming for her.'”

The situation continued to escalate. While the flight attendants were serving drinks, the man said to his wife that he would shove his seat back again so Saarah would spill her drink. Southwest offered Saarah the chance to change seats. But, Faraaz noted with frustration, the man wasn’t reprimanded by the carrier. Saarah decided to stay where she was because she felt safer with the mother and daughter duo.

“Only when the mother brought up to another flight attendant that this was actually physical assault, they offered to call the police,” Faraaz wrote. So as not to rouse the attention of the man, Sarah and her seatmates “began to communicate via notes on a napkin.”

All the while, the man continued to hurl racial and misogynistic statements at Saarah. He also, “kept pushing his seat back in an attempt to hurt Saarah.”

Other Southwest Airlines Passengers Began Passing Notes For Saraah's Safety

Faraaz posted one of the notes written by the mother. It said, “rather than having a civil discussion after Saarah bumped the man’s chair while resting her head, he slammed the chair back, hitting her head and never settled in his seat and starting swearing and using racial and misogynistic slurs to Saarah.”

But The Man Changed His Tune When He Realized The Police Had Been Called

Faaraz said, “as passengers started deplaning, the man suddenly became very chatty with others around him, complimenting potential witnesses. Police escorted Saarah to a safe area to get her story and barred the aggressor and his wife from leaving. The Phoenix police took everyone’s stories (the man, his wife, Saarah’s, the mother and daughter sitting next to Saarah, etc). They said that because the incident occurred above the gulf of Mexico, it was out of their jurisdiction and the FBI would have to get involved instead.”

At no point did Saarah exchange words with the man before, during or after the incident. “Even if she did bump his seat by accident,” her husband wrote, “it didn’t warrant using racial slurs, misogynistic comments, or a violent, repeated, physical assault.”

People chimed in with their own opinions. Some suggested Saarah should sue the airline, while others noted that Southwest Airlines “was a MAGA safe haven.” One user noted the airline had yet to discipline a Southwest pilot for chanting, “let’s go Brandon,” on another flight. They noted that the airline probably wouldn’t do anything in Saarah’s case either.

As of this writing, the man’s identity is unknown.

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