The seatbelt light is off, your phone is is on airplane mode, and you’re cruising hundreds of feet in the air. No-one can contact you, let alone bother you: except your fellow passengers.
When you travel you expect to be in a safe environment, exposed to (at worst) sub-par plane-food, lacklustre coffee and severely cramped legs. However, as one unfortunate United Airlines passenger just found out, some people are just as gross in the air as they are on ground zero.
It has just come out that on August the 11th, a 21 year old woman, Mikaela Dixon was seated on a United Airlines flight from California to Illinois, in between her boyfriend (on the window side) and a 50 year old man (on the aisle side). Then, while her boyfriend was asleep, the stranger next to her began “rubbing himself” and “breathing heavily” (she told Buzzfeed).
tw: sex offense
i just spent hours next to a guy who was masturbating on this flight. my bf was asleep in the window seat, i’m in the middle, and the man is in the aisle. i had no idea what to do, i couldn’t get up bc i didn’t want to go anywhere near him….
— mik (@mik_dix) 11 August 2018
Confusingly, when she pointed out the man’s behaviour to her boyfriend, he replied, “It’s absolutely what you think it is,” (Buzzfeed), and went back to sleep. She then endured another hour and a half, sitting in shock, unable to react until the man went to the toilet towards the end of the flight. At this point she reported the incident to the crew, but the man, realising that he’d been caught, “bolted” after landing. On his way out the airport he was briefly detained by United’s security crew, then released.
i did! he noticed what was happening and expressed how gross it was but was ultimately too groggy to process it until i woke him up again 30 mins later and it was still going on.
— mik (@mik_dix) 31 August 2018
Dixon then alleged (via Twitter) that, “United airlines gave me $75 and told me I’m not allowed to know what happens to him unless I press charges against him… Sooo I got my hush money and now I have to wonder forever whether this guy got away with it? F*** that.”
She then added, “Basically, United lied about everything, let the man go after a few questions, and refused to involve law enforcement until I called the cops myself and forced them to file a report w the FBI.”
Basically, the airline told Dixon they would call the police to meet the man at the gate, but then changed their mind, as reported by Yahoo Lifestyle, “At the discretion of the flight crew and gate agent.”
“The safety and well-being of our customers is our top priority. Our customer was immediately moved to a different seat when the flight attendants were made aware of the issue and the aircraft was met by our security personnel. We are investigating the matter to learn more about what happened. Although United Airlines, as a company, cannot press charges on our customers’ behalf, we will provide as much assistance as possible to law enforcement authorities should they investigate this matter further,” United Airlines have since said, in a statement.