A belligerent drunk on a Delta Air Lines flight was served at least 10 vodka drinks and a glass of wine before groping a 16-year-old girl and her mother, court documents allege.
Delta flight attendants “blatantly ignored” pleas for help from the women as the intoxicated male passenger behaved aggressively toward them and escalated into inappropriate touching over a nearly nine-hour flight that departed from JFK Airport, a lawsuit filed on Tuesday in the Eastern District of New York claims.
Fox News reports staff then allegedly permitted the drunken man to exit the plane at its destination in Athens, Greece, without alerting local authorities or US law enforcement about the alleged sexual assault.
The $US2 million ($3 million) lawsuit accuses Delta of gross negligence and demands compensation for the victims. It states Delta flight attendants continued to serve the intoxicated man drinks even though he was noticeably drunk.
“The intoxicated Delta passenger appeared to be getting drunker and drunker as the Delta flight attendants continued serving him alcohol,” the complaint states.
The intoxicated man was seated next to the plaintiffs on the flight. As he got more drunk, he attempted to speak with the 16-year-old girl, who tried to ignore him. Angered, the drunk became aggressive toward the girl and began yelling at her.
He also made “obscene gestures,” demanded to know her address and other personal information and grabbed her, putting his hands on her back, which “frightened” her, the lawsuit claims.
The girl’s mother told the man her daughter was a minor who was still in high school. He allegedly replied that he did not care. He then allegedly reached over the girl and began pulling on her mother’s arm.
Other passengers started to notice as the man was screaming loudly at them. But when the women told flight attendants the man was drunk and making them feel unsafe, they told them to just “be patient” and walked away, according to the complaint.
The unidentified drunk, who “mumbled” that he was from Connecticut, then allegedly began touching the minor again, “mumbling drunkenly and forcefully kicking the seats in front of them causing the rows of seats to shake.”
Suddenly, the family recounts, he put his head down “for about thirty seconds,” then shot back up and ran to the rest room, where he reportedly was heard puking.
The mother and daughter said they requested the man be moved to another seat and cut off from drinks, but flight attendants allegedly brushed off their complaints.
When the intoxicated man returned from the bathroom, he allegedly had a glass of red wine.
After repeated pleas from the women, the head flight attendant eventually told the man to “stop talking to them,” which provoked an explosion of screaming and profanity directed at the family.
The teen was “terrified” and began to have a panic attack. She put her head down in her mother’s lap — and that’s when the man allegedly slid his “clammy fingers” underneath her shirt and groped for the clasp on her bra strap. “Trembling, petrified and crying,” the teen leapt out of her seat and away from the man, the lawsuit states.
But the man proceeded to place his hand on the mother’s leg and allegedly “began moving his hand” up the inside of her thigh. She screamed too and jumped out of her seat.
The mother again demanded that the flight attendants change their seats. The flight attendants allegedly said there was nothing they could do, but another male passenger volunteered to switch seats with the teen girl and sat between the intoxicated man and her mother for the rest of the flight.
Once the plane landed, the flight attendants offered the woman and her daughter 5000 free airline miles and an apology.
Delta did not offer specific comment on the pending litigation but told Fox Business the company “has zero tolerance for customers who engage in inappropriate or unlawful behaviour.”
“Nothing is more important than the safety of our customers and our people,” the airline said.
This article originally appeared on Fox News and was reproduced with permission