Woman alleges she was sexually assaulted while asleep on Spirit Airlines flight

The FBI is reportedly investigating.
The FBI is reportedly investigating. Photo credit: Getty Images

A US passenger on a flight from Atlanta to Detroit has alleged she was sexually assaulted while asleep, and that crew members did little to help her.

Tia Jackson, a 22 year-old student, told CNN she was sitting in the middle seat next to her friend who had the window seat when she put on headphones and went to sleep.

Not long before the Spirit Airlines flight arrived in Detroit, Jackson said she felt the man in the aisle seat touch her.

"I thought, maybe he just bumped me," she said. 

But then she says she realised the man's hand was in the back of her pants.

Jackson says she jumped up and called for assistance immediately.

"Hey - you are going to stop touching me! Get off of me!" she says she said, while pushing the call button.

Jackson claims the flight attendant offered her a different seat, but she didn't want to leave her friend, and felt like it should be the man being moved, not her.

"He touched my bare ass! He needs to be moved!" she says she said.

When the flight landed, Jackson said she spoke to the pilot of the aircraft, who told her to speak to ground staff in the airport.

Jackson claims she was ignored and mistreated by Spirit Airlines, so filed a complaint with police.

"They let him and any potential witnesses leave," Jackson said.

The airline confirmed to local media that they were aware of the incident and that Jacakson had been offered another seat at the time of the alleged incident.

"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," an airline spokesperson said.

"Our flight attendants onboard that flight learned of the alleged incident 18 minutes prior to landing when the guest pressed the call button and received immediate attention. 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."

Spirit Airlines said no further action could be taken immediately as the flight was about to land and everyone had to be seated.

"Law enforcement began its investigation immediately after the flight arrived," the airline said. 

Jackson says she's speaking out to protect any possible future victims from the same thing.

"He needs to be held responsible. He is a predator. He displays predatory behavior. Who knows who else he has done this to," she said. 

Police confirmed to CNN an investigation is underway and is being led by the FBI.