TRAUMATISED flight attendants have spoken out after an overweight passenger forced them to undress him in a lavatory and wipe his backside as he "moaned with pleasure" on a long-haul flight.
The all-female EVA Air cabin crew were working on-board a flight from Los Angeles to Taipei on Saturday when the alleged incident occurred.
Two hours into the 12-hour journey, a wheelchair-bound man demanded assistance as he needed to use the toilet.
According to reports from Taiwan, the man threatened to relieve himself on the floor if staff refused to help him.
His request was granted as the flight wasn't full, but the man further demanded he be escorted to the jet's business class lavatory as he could not fit in the economy cubical.
One flight attendant, named only as Kuo, told a union press conference that the man claimed an injury to his right hand prevented him from undressing himself.
She said two other flight attendants helped her hold up a blanket to cover the man's genitals as they attempted to remove his underwear.
However, the man slapped her hand away causing the blanket to fall and his semi-naked body to be exposed as he relieved himself.
He then forced staff to wipe his bottom repeatedly as he moaned "mmm, deeper, deeper", according to news site Focus Taiwan.
"I felt that as a flight attendant, removing a passenger’s underwear was beyond the scope of my responsibilities," Kuo told reporters.
"I told him we couldn't help him, but he started yelling. He told me to go in there immediately and threatened to relieve himself on the floor.
"As the passenger's genitals were now exposed, one of my colleagues brought a blanket, which I used to cover his modesty – but he very angrily slapped my hand away, saying he didn't want it and only wanted me to remove his underwear so he could use the toilet".
The man then called staff back into the cubical to wipe his backside, Kuo said, and her chief attendant reluctantly agreed in order to avoid leaving the lone passenger trapped in the lavatory.
But the cabin crew's discomfort quickly turned to humiliation when the man allegedly began moaning in apparent "pleasure", as the chief attendant wiped his backside while wearing three pairs of latex gloves.
Kuo, who was holding onto the passenger to keep in steady, recalled: "He said: 'Oh, mmm, deeper, deeper', and then accused my chief attendant of not properly cleaning his backside, requesting that she do it again.
"My chief attendant repeated the action three times before leaving, at which point the passenger said: 'You can pull my pants back up now'."
Kuo added that the passenger, who she estimated weighed around 440lbs (31.4st), had previously demanded three adjoining seats in economy class to accommodate his large size upon boarding the plane.
EVA Air, which only employees female cabin crew, said in a statement that its staff are not obliged to accept demands from passengers – even those requiring special assistance.
However, the Taoyuan Flight Attendants Union – which is representing Kuo and her colleagues – claims that the problem is systemic and stems from a service industry culture that frowns upon staff who do not meet the customer's every demand.
The union has now called for the recruitment of male cabin crew staff and for troublesome passengers to be banned.
According to the airline, an investigation into the incident is underway and appropriate measures will be taken if necessary.