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Lawsuit against Delta Air Lines says their customer assaulted minor

A Delta Air Lines plane on the tarmac at San Antonio International Airport in Texas.
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  • A new lawsuit against Delta Air Lines alleges a passenger sexually assaulted a minor and her mother.
  • The lawsuit says the man was continually served drinks on board despite being obviously intoxicated.
  • The plaintiffs are seeking $2 million in damages from the airline. 

A new lawsuit alleges that a man aboard a Delta Air Lines flight was served at least 10 vodkas on ice before sexually assaulting a woman and her minor daughter, who were seated next to him. 

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in New York’s Eastern District, says the airline is to blame for the assaults, and claims working flight attendants did nothing to stop the man from consuming so much alcohol or prevent his behavior toward both women. 

Incidents of passengers misbehaving on flights have been on the rise since travel resumed post-pandemic, with numerous conflicts occurring between passengers or between passengers and airline staff. 

The plaintiffs, a woman and her 16-year-old daughter, boarded a flight from JFK airport in New York to Athens, Greece, in late July 2022 and were seated next to an unnamed male passenger, according to the court documents. 

As the nearly 9-hour flight continued, the man, who, according to the complaint, was already intoxicated upon boarding, was continually served drinks by the Delta flight attendants. After about ten drinks, the man began trying to speak to the young woman seated next to him, per the lawsuit. 

“A.A. told the Delta flight attendant that the intoxicated Delta passenger was very drunk and was making both her and her 16-year-old daughter feel unsafe by yelling, making obscene gestures, and touching her daughter inappropriately,” the lawsuit reads. “The Delta flight attendant did nothing to help and just said ‘be patient’ before walking away.” 

Soon after, the man ran to the restroom, where he threw up. While he was gone, the mother attempted to have their seats moved to no avail, the lawsuit states. 

“Distraught that her attempts to protect herself and her daughter were not working, A.A. called over yet another flight attendant for the fourth time,” the lawsuit says. “Again, A.A. pleaded for help but the flight attendant nonchalantly said ‘oh shoot I just gave him more wine.'” 

In response to the man’s behavior, the teenage girl eventually had a panic attack, during which the male passenger reached under her shirt, per the lawsuit. 

Upon landing, the woman and her daughter were offered 5,000 “Sky Miles” as an apology, but employees did not notify police of the man’s behavior, the lawsuit states. The plaintiffs are now seeking $2 million in damages, according to reporting from Fox News.

In response to a request for comment, Delta gave Insider the following statement: 

“While we don’t have any specific comment on this pending litigation, Delta has zero tolerance for customers who engage in inappropriate or unlawful behavior.” 

The plaintiffs’ lawyer, Evan Brustein, called the incident a “nightmare.”

“Airlines are supposed to not just land the plane safely but keep their passengers safe,” Brustein said in an email to Insider. “What happened to my clients during this flight was not just a nightmare it was completely preventable.”

Have a news tip? Contact this reporter at scahill@insider.com. 

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