A woman alleged she was paid $75 of “hush money” when United Airlines was informed of a passenger who masturbated next to her throughout a flight from California to Chicago.
The woman was told by United the man would be detained by Chicago police upon landing, Fox News reported Friday. When the woman contacted police, they had not been informed of the incident.
The woman, 21-year-old Mikaela Dixon, tweeted about the offense on August 11.
“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…” her tweet read.
Dixon followed up with information on why she did not alert a flight attendant. “I couldn’t call an attendant over because he’s in the aisle seat and would’ve heard me reporting him. I sat there shaking until he got up to go to the bathroom as we landed. attendants came over, moved my seat, at this point the guy came back and knew what was happening,” her second tweet read.
She revealed United told her she would not know what happened to the man after the flight unless she pressed charges.
Dixon explained the airline did not want the public to know about her experience. “They were desperately trying to keep it internal,” Dixon told BuzzFeed News Wednesday.
United alleged they are “investigating the matter to learn more about what happened,” in a statement to Fox News.
“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,” the statement said.
The FBI revealed in June airline assaults against women are growing at “an alarming rate,” CNN reported June 20. The number of sexual assaults on aircrafts grew 66% from 2014 to 2017. Special Agent David Rodski explain the FBI’s job is harder if the incident is reported at landing.
“I’m shocked at the number of passengers who do not take that [action] and they’ll wait until the plane is on the ground,” he told CNN.
Two men were charged with sexually assaulting women on flights to Seattle September 1 according to CNN. The crimes were unrelated, one in January and on in March.