A woman is suing United Airlines for failing to protect her from a “horny” pilot who allegedly molested her on a 13-hour flight.
Anne Dowling was flying in business class on United from Hong Kong to San Francisco in July 2016. Her lawsuit claims that she woke up to find her seatmate, an off-duty FedEx pilot, with his hand on the back of her leg, near her butt. He was drunk, having earlier been served several vodka sodas. He had also told FAs that he “missed his wife” and was “horny”.
Dowling told him to stop and returned to sleep. But according to the lawsuit when she woke up again, he was “rubbing her thigh, grabbing her butt, and attempting to reach into her pants” with one hand and masturbating under a blanket with his under hand. She yelled at him to stop but he forced his hand in and began rubbing Dowling. He also stated, “I think you’re horny and I’m horny too.”
She quickly notified a FA and was told her that there were no other open seats besides the extra seat in her row (this was United’s 2-4-2 business class 747). Dowling was also allegedly told to go and speak her seat mate in order to work out the issue. She appealed to the purser, who moved Dowling to another seat in the same row and added that she was “hardly surprised” by the pilot’s behavior.
Dowling filed a police complaint in San Francisco and a lawsuit against the FedEx pilot later in 2016. The pilot was acquitted of all charges six months later. He was also fired by FedEx based upon the allegations.
Now Dowling is suing United for $75,000, claiming the incident resulted PTSD and “severe emotional distress.”
She accuses United of serving “excessive alcohol” to [the FedEx pilot] saying that despite being informed of his “inappropriate, sexualized behavior,” the cabin crew “took absolutely no precautionary measures” to prevent the attack.
The UK Daily Mail has plastered the pilot’s pictures all over their article. I’m not going to do so here. The fact that Dowling immediately complained to FAs onboard and then to the police the day after leads me to believe her account is credible. Let’s not forget this incident took place before the #metoo movement emboldened many to step forward for the first time. Let’s also not forget that just because there was not sufficient evidence to convict him does not mean he was innocent…just not guilty. Having said that, I see no reason to place his picture here.
What a sickening story.
image: Alan Light / FLICKR