Lawsuit against Delta Air Lines says their customer assaulted minors

A Delta Air Lines plane on the tarmac at San Antonio International Airport in Texas.
Robert Alexander/Getty Images

  • A new lawsuit against Delta Air Lines alleges that a passenger sexually assaulted a minor and her mother.
  • The lawsuit says the man was constantly served drinks on board despite being clearly intoxicated.
  • The plaintiffs are demanding $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 sitting next to him.

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

Incidents of passengers behaving badly on flights have been on the rise since travel resumed after the pandemic, with numerous conflicts 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 Delta flight attendants. After about ten drinks, the man began trying to talk to the young woman sitting next to him, according to the lawsuit.

“AA told the Delta flight attendant that the intoxicated Delta passenger was highly intoxicated and made 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 toilet, where he vomited. While he was gone, the mother tried to get their seats moved without success, the lawsuit states.

“Desperate that her attempts to protect herself and her daughter were not working, AA called another flight attendant for a fourth time,” the lawsuit states. “Again AA asked for help, but the flight attendant nonchalantly said ‘oh, I’ve just given him more wine’.”

In response to the man’s behavior, the teenage girl eventually had a panic attack, with the male passenger reaching under her shirt, according to 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 demanding $2 million in damages, according to reporting from Fox News.

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

“While we have no specific comment on this pending litigation, Delta has zero tolerance for customers who engage in inappropriate or illegal behavior.”

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

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

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