Man Claims His Wife Was Assaulted, Racially Abused on Phoenix-Bound Flight

Efthymis Oraiopoulos
By Efthymis Oraiopoulos
September 27, 2022US News
Man Claims His Wife Was Assaulted, Racially Abused on Phoenix-Bound Flight
File photo of a Southwest Airlines plane. (Daniel Slim/AFP via Getty Images)

A man claims his wife was assaulted and racially abused by another passenger while on a Southwest Airlines flight.

Details on the alleged assault on Saarah Sareshwala were posted Sunday on Twitter by her husband, Faraaz Sareshwala, a Google software engineer.

As part of his claims, Faraaz posted an image of the man who allegedly assaulted and harassed his wife with racial slurs on Saturday.

According to her husband’s Twitter posts, Saarah was returning to Phoenix from a weeklong “Grace Hopper Conference” in Florida, and she was resting her head on the tray table, trying to get some sleep.

“This man violently pushed his seat back in an attempt to hurt @saarahfaraaz while her head was there. After coming to, she initially thought it was an accident; someone falling down in their own seat after returning from the bathroom or something,” Faraaz said on Twitter.

Saarah went to the bathroom to check if her head was injured. She did not exchange any words with the man either before or after the incident.

“Sitting next to her were a mother and daughter who were awake when this all occurred. They asked for ice from the crew for Saarah and confronted the man,” Faraaz said.

The man insulted them, Faraaz said, and began swearing, saying that Saarah “got what was coming for her.”

“While Saarah was in the bathroom, flight attendants began serving drinks. The man and his wife discussed using their seat in this way again so that Saarah’s drink would spill on her,” Faraaz said.

Gabi, the younger of the two women sitting close to Saarah, passed her some notes when she returned from the bathroom.

On one note, Gabi said that Saarah had bumped the man’s seat with her head while she was sleeping. Instead of “having a civilized discussion with her”, the man slammed his seat back and said swear words and racial slurs against Saarah.

When Saarah reported the incident to the cabin crew, initially she was only offered an option to change seats, he said.

“@saarahfaraaz chose not to change seats because she felt safer with her current seatmates who witnessed the ordeal. Throughout the rest of the flight, this man kept spewing racial slurs and misogynistic venom at Saarah. He kept pushing his seat back in an attempt to hurt Saarah,” he said.

Later, after speaking to another member of the cabin crew, the option to call the police at the destination’s airport was mentioned.

Faraaz said it could be possible that his wife, received the act of aggression due to her Indian nationality, as the passenger who hit her had not exchanged words with her and only looked at her.

Upon landing the plane, police escorted Saarah to a safe location and barred the man and his wife from leaving.

“The Phoenix police took all the details and sent the information to the FBI. We don’t have an FBI case number, but the Phoenix police said that if the FBI thinks there is enough evidence to press charges they will reach back out,” Faraaz said.

Faraaz’s initial post has more than 37,000 retweets on the social media platform.

In a statement to KTVU, Southwest Airlines said, “After being made aware of a situation on a Southwest flight on Saturday, the Crew requested law enforcement meet the aircraft upon arrival. Southwest Airlines maintains zero-tolerance for any type of alleged harassment or assault on our Customers or Employees.”

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