Colorado resident Aubrey Lane is suing American Airlines for failing to protect her from a drunken passenger who raped her on a redeye flight from Phoenix to New York in 2017.
Lane filed the suit on October 31 in federal court in New York. It claims that American Airlines allowed a visibly drunk man to board the flight on June 16, 2017, and then continued to serve him as many as six more alcoholic drinks on the flight. The man has not yet been identified, but he was seated next to Lane and harassed her and another passenger throughout the flight, and then followed Lane to the plane’s bathroom and sexually assaulted her.
American Airlines is headquartered outside Dallas. In a statement, it said: “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.”
According to FBI figures cited in the lawsuit against American, in 2014, 38 cases of in-flight sexual assault were reported in the US. In 2017, there were 63 such cases. Previous reporting has spotlighted a lack of relevant training for airline employees.