A mother and daughter are suing Delta Air Lines after the duo claims they were sexually assaulted by an intoxicated passenger during a nine-hour flight from Athens, Greece to New York City.
The lawsuit contends that the woman and 16-year-old girl were both groped on the July 26, 2022, flight.
According to NBC News, the federal complaint says a drunken male passenger was served at least 10 vodkas on the rocks during the flight. The mother is referred to as “A.A.” in the complaint and her teenage daughter is identified as “N.A.”
The intoxicated passenger was reportedly slurring his words while attempting to get the teenager to engage in conversation while seated next to her but became “aggressive” and touched her back after she asked to be left alone, the plaintiffs allege.
“N.A. was frightened by his personal questions, tone and body language and turned her back to him to tell her mother that she was scared,” reads the lawsuit. “When N.A. turned away from him, the intoxicated Delta passenger began grabbing N.A., putting his hands on her back.”
The filing says the intoxicated passenger reportedly “began pulling and pushing” at the mother’s arm as she told him her daughter was a minor and to leave her alone.
The mother tried talking to a flight attendant and said the man 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.”
However, the flight attendant allegedly replied, “be patient” before walking away. The man was also served red wine after the mother asked that he not be served any more alcohol as he appeared to be getting “drunker and drunker.”
The lawsuit states that the drunken man also put his hand up the teen’s shirt and fondled her bra strap and back.
“N.A. was frozen as she felt the intoxicated Delta passenger’s hand fingering her bra strap and moving over her body. N.A. was trembling, petrified and crying and finally got the courage to jump out of the seat and out of his reach,” lawyers for the mother and daughter say.
The man also allegedly put his hand on the mother’s thigh and moved it “toward her vagina,” and they again complained to the flight staff, who replied that there was nothing they could do. He also called the mother-daughter duo “f–king b–hes.”
Both the mother and daughter were in tears at this point and another passenger offered to switch seats. A flight attendant claimed later that they asked for volunteers to switch seats. The intoxicated man was allowed to leave without consequence once the plane landed at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Delta did not notify the police and the duo was offered 5,000 free miles as an apology, they say.
A spokesperson from Delta said that the airline has “zero tolerance for customers who engage in inappropriate or unlawful behavior” and “nothing is more important than the safety of our customers and our people.”
The mother and daughter filed a $2 million lawsuit against Delta Air Lines. Evan Brustein, an attorney for the family, released a statement condemning the actions of the Delta flight crew.
“Airlines are supposed to not just land the plane safely but keep their passengers safe,” said Brustein. “What happened to my clients during this flight was not just a nightmare. It was completely preventable.”