Delta Air Lines says it will “vigorously oppose” a federal lawsuit filed by a passenger who alleges she was sexually assaulted during her flight.
Delany Luh claims another passenger molested her as she slept and Delta allowed him to get off the plane scot-free. Last year, the FBI received 63 reports of sex assaults on flights compared to 38 in 2014.
“I’m like, ‘get up! get up!’ I’m like, ‘What are you doing touching me? What is your problem?’ I’m like, ‘oh my god! Somebody help me!’ And I start bawling,” Luh told CBS News correspondent Jamie Yuccas.
Luh had just fallen asleep on her flight in June when she says the man sitting next her placed his hand down her pants and exposed himself.
“It’s very violating…and that’s how I felt. You know, I’m just like a piece of meat,” she said.
Luh, a 23-year-old clothing designer, says she ran crying to the flight attendants in the back of the cabin.
“I was shaking. I’m like, ‘this guy had his hand in my pants. I don’t know him, he’s a stranger, can you please help me?'” Luh said. “She said to me, ‘we’re going to make a report, don’t worry, we got you, you’re gonna be safe.’ Straight words from her mouth.”
Luh was moved to another seat. She says she was the first passenger allowed off the plane when it landed at Los Angeles where she was met by Delta customer service representatives.
“And I said, ‘where’s the police?’ I’m like, ‘you guys still haven’t called the police?’ I was like, ‘what is wrong with you guys?'” Luh said.
From Luh’s vantage point, he walked off the plane and left.
Luh also says he was visibly drunk when he boarded the plane in Minneapolis, but flight attendants still served him alcohol. According to Luh, he smelled like alcohol and attendants still served him six to eight drinks.
Luh filed a federal lawsuit in Tennessee, claiming Delta was negligent by over-serving the passenger. “Delta knew or should have known its actions could lead to harm to a passenger, including a sexual assault.” She feels that the flight attendants “just didn’t do their job.”
A Delta spokesman told CBS News customer safety is its top priority and it does not tolerate the harassment or assault of passengers. But the airline disputes Luh’s version of events.
“After deplaning, Ms. Luh first informed a Delta agent that she had been improperly touched on the leg by another passenger,” the spokesman said. “Delta then immediately reported the incident to local law enforcement for their handling, and our understanding (is) the matter was not pursued.”
According to the police report, Luh said she woke up with the man’s hand on her “right outer thigh above the knee.” It does not mention he sexually assaulted her or exposed himself.
The FBI opened an investigation but found they couldn’t corroborate any of the story and they closed it.
“I know it sounds weird but having to explain what happened to me to another man was just – I couldn’t do it,” Luh said.
Luh claims she was too embarrassed at the time to go into the details with the male police officer. She received a $200 travel voucher for her ordeal. Luh is suing Delta for $6 million in damages but insisted it’s not about the money.
“That’s not the case. I mean, I’m very well off myself. It’s not about the money, it’s about doing the right thing,” Luh said.
Delta Air Lines also told us its employees are trained to monitor passenger drinking and behavior, and take specific steps when handling disruptions such as harassment, assault, and intoxication. That includes separating passengers, and alerting law enforcement before the plane lands.