While flying to Washington on October 7, Jessica Van Meir became the target of a group of men who used the flight's online chatting service to send sexually explicit messages to her. One of the men called her "tidy babe" while the others supported the man with winking emojis. Meir alerted the flight crew and took to twitter to make Virgin Atlantic aware of the flawed chat service.
After being called a "tidy babe" by the stranger, Meir responded that she is a lawyer who works for McAllister Olivarius, a law firm that specialises in online sexual harassment. It did not dissuade the anonymous passengers who commented "welcome to hell" and "ussy".
Meir reported the incident to the flight crew, who spoke to the passengers who had sent the message. In her twitter thread, Meir narrated that after the passengers were addressed by the flight crew, she went and took pictures of the men who had sent the messages. Later on, another young man approached Meir and apologised on behalf of the men.
As per Meir's twitter thread, the men were a part of a rugby team and the man who apologised was one of the "leaders" of the team.
The man told Meir that the men were drunk and urged her to leave the matter there. Twitterati shared the opinion that being drunk is not an excuse to harass strangers. Meir did not take any legal action against the men, but said that she wanted them to realise why their actions were inappropriate.
Virgin Atlantic got in touch with Meir over e-mail to assure her that the company would be looking into the incident as well as the chatting facility. The inflight facility allows passengers to play games and chat with each other.
A twitter user pointed out that passengers can only see messages from other passengers by accepting chat requests. However, that was not enough to deter the strangers from messaging Meir. The use of the system to harass a stranger can be avoided by flagging specific language and allowing passengers to report the chat online was Meir's suggestion.