A woman is suing American Airlines, claiming she was raped in a lavatory then mocked by the crew.
It is a sad story, considering AA allegedly served the already-intoxicated aggressor six additional alcoholic drinks in a very short timespan. Here’s a bullet point summary of what occurred onboard according to the plaintiff’s lawsuit against American:
- Redeye AA flight from Phoenix (PHX) to New York (JFK).
- AA1280 on 18 June 2017.
- Woman takes her seat in 12A.
- Man stumbles aboard toward the end of the boarding process and takes seat 12B.
- He immediately requested alcohol, but was told he would have to wait until after takeoff.
- Woman (and eyewitness) claims he was unmistakably drunk and should have been denied boarding.
- Man proceeded to hit on the passenger in 12A, who initially politely engaged him.
- Man ordered two vodkas, a Coca-Cola, and beer.
- Woman ordered a single alcoholic drink.
- After polishing them off quickly, he ordered two more vodkas and another beer and was obliged.
- All this time he continued to hit on the woman in 12A and even began to physically touch her.
- Later in flight, man excused himself and visited restroom.
- Woman in 12A took the opportunity to also use restroom.
- Woman claims that while entering the lavatory, the man in 12B forced his way in with her and raped her.
- Woman did not report incident to crew.
- Back at the seat, the man in 12B continued to pester her; this time she ignored him or responded coldly.
- Man became agitated and began to verbally assault her.
- Passenger in 12C reported behavior to a flight attendant who shrugged and said, “Well they are drinking,” before walking away.
- Still inebriated, the man knocked over his beer on the eyewitness passenger in 12C.
- 12C jumped up and complained to a FA, demanding to be re-seated and that woman in 12A should be re-seated.
- Woman in 12A was told to move back two rows and argued with the crew about it, apparently using profanity.
- Crew told her to “sit down and shut up” and she complied.
- Upon landing in New York, the captain yelled at the woman in 12A never to speak to his crew members again in the manner in which she did.
- 12A retorted that the crew didn’t “give a damn” about passenger safety
- Captain and crew laughed, stating, “Maybe drink less next time.”
- Witness in 12C comforted 12A, who confided in her that she had been raped.
- 12C stopped and explained the situation to the Captain.
- Captain claimed he had no idea there was a rape onboard and asked why it had not been reported.
- Captain apologized to 12A.
The key, in my mind, hinges upon the eyewitness testimony of the passenger in 12C. Her written testimony recalling the event includes horrific details about the passenger in 12B and underscores that he was drunk while boarding:
From the beginning of the flight, [12A] had been talking in a friendly manner with him, but as drinks were consumed, the conversation got louder, more erratic, and more uncomfortable. Even with headphones in, I heard every word, but my annoyance turned to concern when I started hearing him say how pretty she was, how lucky her husband was to have such a ‘bangin’ wife’ and how ‘what happens on vacation stays on vacation.’ As I heard her refute each claim and attempt to redirect his comments to another topic, Itook out my headphones.
While [12A] had been drinking, she clearly was not interested in pursuing this man in 12B, but over time he began to move closer to her, grab her face and kiss her, which she would push him off and say that “couldn’t happen.” He then began to tell her he wasin love with her, to which she retorted, “That’s impossible! You can’t fall in love with someone in one night!” Which followed a shouting match of “Yes you F*ing can!” “No f*ing way!” etc. This drew a lot of attention, but when I alerted the flight attendant as he walked by, he shrugged and said, “Well they are drinking…” and walked away.
You can read the entire legal filing here. It’s long, but interesting.
Not surprisingly, AA has no specific comment concerning the incident.
Look for some hush money plus a non-disclosure agreement pronto. It may be that there is a whole other side to this story, but the eyewitness testimony paints AA in a horrible light no matter how you look at this.
Even if you put on your skeptics hat and say that 12A was drunk as well, that does not excuse the jerk in 12B for his disgusting behavior or the AA crew for serving him far too much alcohol.
This case, unfortunately, is yet another reason why I make every effort not to talk to people around me when I fly…