DENVER -- A federal class-action lawsuit was filed Monday against Frontier Airlines on behalf of two Colorado residents who allege the airline failed to prevent, report and respond to sexual assaults of passengers.
The women say they want Frontier to improve their policies and procedures for handling passenger-on-passenger sexual assault allegations, and they are also asking for monetary damages.
One woman, going by the name Jane Doe, alleges that she was sexually assaulted by another passenger on a flight from Denver to Florida in 2018. She is represented by Pamela Maas, a lawyer in Littleton, as well as New York Life's Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP and Massachusetts based attorney Tyler Fox.
“This was a red-eye flight. She was asleep. She had the blanket over her, and the passenger next to her stuck his hand under the blanket into her private region,” Maass said.
The woman says she contacted the flight attendant, who did not report the incident to anyone else, and did not ask for law enforcement to be contacted.
According to her attorney, Jane Doe called the FBI herself once she landed, and they are investigating.
In the second case, Lena Ramsay claims she was sexually assaulted on a late night Frontier flight from Denver to Rhode Island in 2018. She says she was groped by the passenger sitting in the seat behind her.
“I was so shocked, it took me a minute to say is this guy reaching around the seats and touching me the way that he is, and it wasn`t until I saw his hands come completely through that I jumped up, and I reported it immediately,” Ramsay said during a FaceTime interview with her attorney, Tyler Fox.
She says the flight attendant refused to let her switch seats, did not report the allegations to anyone else and did not ask for law enforcement to be contacted. She says the FBI was contacted after the fact, but no criminal charges were filed.
“In both of these cases it was clear that either they weren't following any policies and procedures, or they did not have any policies and procedures,” said Pamela Maass.
Frontier Airlines says it cannot comment on pending litigation, but issued a statement saying, “The safety of our passengers and crew members is our number one priority at Frontier Airlines and we have strict policies in place to proactively and appropriately respond to reports of misconduct and alleged crimes."
Before either of these alleged incidents were reported, the FBI had posted a warning about an increase in sexual assaults on flights.
Agents say the assaults generally occur on long flights when the cabin is dark. Victims are usually in the middle or window seat, sleeping and covered with a blanket or jacket.