A British woman who has just completed an arduous training course to become a fully trained paramedic claims an Etihad Airways employee looked up her personal details via an airline computer system to personally message her on WhatsApp.
Hannah Smethurst, 22, from Manchester, had been on a luxury holiday in Abu Dhabi after just qualifying as a paramedic and was waiting to board her return flight home when she received the ‘creepy’ message from someone who identified themselves as an airline employee.
Sharing a screenshot of the conversation she had with the airline employee, Hannah said that she believes the man got hold of her details after glancing at her passport at Abu Dhabi Airport. He was then able to access an airline computer database to find out personal information, including her phone number.
As the man attempts to ‘slide into Hannah’s DMs’, he soon seems to have second thoughts about his actions as Hannah questions him about how he got hold of her details.
After asking Hannah to block his number, he then tells her, “FYI Ur flight is boarding”.
Writing on Twitter, Hannah said of the experience: “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.”
Replying to one of her followers on Twitter, Hannah explained: “Saw I was a young girl alone and absolutely decided to take advantage, the Etihad team at Manchester were amazing once I landed!”
Following the incident on Wednesday, Hannah publicly reached out to Etihad’s Twitter support team but did not get a reply.
In a statement, however, a spokesperson for Etihad told us: “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.”
“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.”
In 2021, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) introduced a comprehensive Data Protection Law that is meant to ensure the confidentiality of personal information. The law is meant to protect people inside and outside of the UAE.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.