The plaintiff says she reported the conduct to a flight attendant who, instead of intervening, served the off-duty pilot a fifth can of wine.
MINNEAPOLIS — A Twin Cities woman is suing Delta Airlines and an off-duty employee of a Delta subsidiary, claiming flight attendants overserved alcohol to the Wisconsin woman who then groped and kissed the passenger against her will.
Alison Petri says she informed a flight attendant mid-flight about the behavior, but instead of stopping it or reseating anyone, they served the person a fifth can of wine.
“You can’t leave on an airplane. So if you’re being assaulted, you really are dependent on the crew doing the right thing. And they didn’t. And then they continued to not do the right thing,” Petri said.
Petri said shortly after the woman boarded the plane, she told Petri and the other passenger next to her that she was a pilot, and she was going through a tough time. But as she began consuming alcohol on the flight, Petri said the woman grew more and more inappropriate – touching Petri and even kissing her on the mouth despite being told to stop.
Then, before deplaning – the woman groped Petri one last time, the lawsuit alleges.
“She groped my butt. I turned to her and said, ‘We are not doing that!” Petri said.
Petri immediately informed the gate agent, then reported the incident to airport police. Meanwhile, surveillance video captured the off-duty worker falling on an escalator and being physically unable to get back up without help.
The woman was initially criminally charged with 5th-degree criminal sexual conduct and disorderly conduct. A prosecutor dropped the sex charge but the woman pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct, admitting physical contact, with the agreement the case would be dropped after she serves probation.
The civil complaint now filed in federal court includes a photograph of the woman holding a vape pen. Petri said she was puffing clouds of vape into the air with a flight attendant nearby, but no one stopped her.
The civil file also includes Facebook Messenger messages between the woman and one of the flight attendants, who reached out to warn her about Petri’s complaint.
“Do u have any idea what she might have said?” the woman asked.
“You kissed her,” the flight attendant answered.
“Omg I did?” the woman asked.
“Yeah, you were pretty bombed,” the flight attendant answered.
The flight attendant later tells the woman to “stick with your story,” then tells her that when Delta questioned him, he told them that he wasn’t aware of any physical contact and did not serve her alcohol.
Petri and her attorney believe the texts are evidence that Delta employees tried to cover up the misconduct.
Since the incident, Petri said she’s suffered anxiety on flights which she often has to take because of her work around the country advocating against childhood drowning.
The lawsuit cites other instances where Delta employees allegedly over-served alcohol.
“Ms. Petri does not want to see this happen to any other person. And when you see the sheer number of other instances that this has happened in the past, this is necessary to ensure it doesn’t happen to another person,” said attorney Jeff Storms.
A Delta spokesperson said the woman no longer is employed by a Delta subsidiary.
“While we don’t have any specific comment on this pending litigation, Delta does not tolerate inappropriate or unlawful behavior. Nothing is more important than the safety of our customers and our people,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
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