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American Airlines Sued For Overserving Drunk Man Who Sexually Assaulted Woman

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A lawsuit was filed against American Airlines by a woman who claimed she was sexually assaulted by a man who was served too much alcohol onboard the flight. In this image, an American Airlines jet is seen in the air preparing to land at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport in Rosemont, Illinois, Sept. 3, 2004. Photo: Getty Images/Tim Boyle

By Susmitha Suresh, International Business Times

American Airlines was being sued by a woman who filed a federal lawsuit alleging a man sexually assaulted her as he was intoxicated after being served alcohol while onboard their flight, reports said Thursday.

According to the lawsuit, filed Wednesday, Aubrey Lane of Colorado said the man, who was not identified, was visibly drunk at the time he boarded the plane which was headed from Phoenix, Arizona, to New York in June 2017.

Lane said, while on board, the man was served up to six more alcoholic drinks. During this time, he allegedly harassed a woman seated next to him. The lawsuit claimed the man followed Lane to the bathroom at some point and sexually assaulted her.

“Knowing the clear dangers of intoxication and the sexual assault threats, especially on red eye flights, American offered no protection to Aubrey Lane...despite the verbal warnings of Passenger 12C and the obvious obnoxious, aggressive, threatening and intoxicated behavior of Passenger 12B,” the complaint, filed at a federal court in New York, said according to a report in the Dallas News.

In a statement, which was obtained by Fox News, American Airlines said they were yet to receive the report and added they planned to “thoroughly review” it once they do.

"We want all of our customers to have a safe, positive travel experience with us and we are deeply troubled by any allegation of misconduct onboard our aircraft or at any of our facilities. If our crews discover or are told about any alleged illegal misconduct that may occur on the aircraft, law enforcement is contacted and will meet the aircraft upon arrival," the statement said.

“In all cases of misconduct between two passengers, we will immediately separate them, and request law enforcement meet the aircraft, which is our standard protocol,” it added. “It is up to law enforcement to determine what, if any criminal activity, took place.”

Experts who have dealt with similar cases told the Dallas News that Lane’s case combined two elements frequently present in onboard sexual assaults, that is, alcohol and overnight flights. A woman, who sat in the same row as Lane, identified only as Passenger 12C in the lawsuit, described the man in an email to American Airlines executives, sent a week after the incident.

“He fumbled in the aisle, struggling to find his seat, and once seated, he immediately confessed that he had been drinking for hours, that we was very nervous to fly and that he needed a drink,” the email, addressed to American’s CEO Doug Parker, senior vice president of customer experience Kerry Philipovitch and another customer relations manager, said. “This man was not fit to fly, but yet American Airlines allowed him to fly.”

After the plane landed, airport police reportedly met with Lane, but the man who assaulted her was not subjected to the same. The case was turned over to the FBI, reports said, but they are yet to make a comment about the incident.

According to a report in Fox News, Lane said she was offered $5,000 by American Airlines for what they described as a "nuisance claim," but it later apologized for how it responded. The airlines said it had since then put new procedures to follow-up on reports of sexual misconduct and other onboard disturbances.

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U.S. - U.S. Daily News: American Airlines Sued For Overserving Drunk Man Who Sexually Assaulted Woman
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