Etihad worker disciplined for sending creepy “I searched u in the system” Whatsapp message to Preston woman

An Etihad worker has been disciplined for sending a string of “terrifying” Whatsapp messages to a Preston woman claming he had searched for her in the system.
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23-year-old Hannah Smethurst, originally from Preston, shared the Whatsapp messages on her Twitter feed and said receiving them was a “terrifying experience travelling alone”. She was flying back to Manchester Airport from the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday (June 21), with Etihad Airlines and had checked in her bags and had her passport processed at the front desk. It was as she was lining up to board the plane home that she says she received the unsettling Whatsapp messages from an unknown number, with the person admitting they had 'searched her in the system'.

The third year student paramedic said she shared a screenshot of the messages on Twitter to highlight the issue for others. “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 abd proceeded to text me. Terrifying experience travelling alone. I am glad I am able to highlight this issue, especially for females travelling alone.”

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Hannah Smethurst was sent the inappropriate messages, inset, by an Etihad workerHannah Smethurst was sent the inappropriate messages, inset, by an Etihad worker
Hannah Smethurst was sent the inappropriate messages, inset, by an Etihad worker
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The text messages read: “Heyy, I have seen u from Abudhabi" before she then asked twice how they had got her number. "I searched u in system," they replied before adding: "I am working." Hannah went on to ask what system they had retrieved her number from, to which they replied: "Airline. Sorry for the trouble. If am disturbing u... just block me." They then sent a final message saying: "FYI your flight is boarding."

A spokesperson for Etihad Airways said: “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.”