A passenger on a Spirit Airlines flight from Atlanta to Detroit said she woke up to a man sexually assaulting her, according to multiple news reports.
The 22-year-old woman said she was asleep in her seat with her back to a man next to her when she felt his hand in her pants, WJBK reported.
“He had taken his coat off, I thought he had his coat on him, to cover him because he was cold,” she told the TV station. “But he really had it over him to hide that he was trying to touch me while he was also touching himself.”
The woman has been outspoken in television interviews about what happened on the flight Tuesday, but McClatchy News does not typically name victims of sexual assault.
“Hey — you are going to stop touching me! Get off of me!” she reportedly told the man as she called for a flight attendant, according to CNN.
She said the flight attendant offered to move her to a different seat but not the man who allegedly assaulted her, WXYZ reported.
In a statement to McClatchy News, Spirit Airlines said the incident happened 18 minutes before the flight landed.
“Once she told the flight attendant who came to her seat, the flight attendant directed her to a different seat. The cabin crew wanted to move her, as opposed to him, because the move would have left him with an empty seat on one side and an aisle on the other,” the airline said.
“By the time the guest declined to move, landing was imminent and everyone had to be seated as required by federal regulation. Law enforcement began its investigation immediately after the flight arrived.”
The woman told WJBK she made a report with airport police when the plane landed in Detroit. The FBI will also investigate the accusations, CNN reported.
“I feel he needs to be held accountable for sure because obviously if he was bold enough to try this today, I don’t know how many times he has been ‘friendly’ on other flights,” she said, according to WJBK.
“We take this claim seriously and are in direct contact with the guest. We thank our crew for their quick and professional assistance to address the situation,” Spirit said.