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Woman Claims Sexual Assault During Spirit Airlines Flight

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A woman flying on a Spirit Airlines plane back to Detroit claims she woke up to find another passenger sexually assaulting her.

According to Fox2Detroit.com, 22-year-old Tia Jackson of Westland, Michigan, was on a Tuesday morning flight back to Detroit with her friend when a man they didn’t know sat in the aisle seat.

Jackson and her friend fell asleep, but she was awoken by the feeling of a hand on her bare butt. She quickly realized the man next to her had used his jacket to hide from the view of flight attendants as he assaulted Jackson while also playing with himself.

“I was turned away to go to sleep, I had my back to him like this kind of. He just went right in there – like what?” Jackson told Fox Detroit. “He had taken his coat off, I thought he had his coat on him, to cover him because he was cold. But he really had it over him to hide that he was trying to touch me while he was also touching himself.”

When Jackson realized what was happening, she stood up and started yelling at the man to stop touching her. She immediately informed Spirit attendants about the issue, but she reportedly received a negative reaction from the staff, who tried to blame her for not moving sooner.

Jackson was moved to another seat, but the airline reportedly did not reach out to airport police. The victim decided to handle the situation herself and contacted law enforcement, who began the investigation immediately after the flight arrived.

Due to the details of the case, federal investigators are also now involved. A Spirit spokesperson released a statement about the incident to the Miami Herald:

“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.”

“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.”

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Airlines Scaling Back On Some In-Flight Services Due to Coronavirus

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A few airlines, including those already affected by the coronavirus outbreak, have begun scaling back on some in-flight services as a way to help fight the virus.

The Points Guy writes that Singapore Airlines – obviously based in Asia, where the coronavirus has been most dangerous after originating in China – recently sent its frequent fliers an email about such changes.

Singapore advised its customers that some in-flight amenities will be discontinued, such as hot towel service, after-takeoff drink service, removal of reading materials from seat-back pockets, and suspension of in-flight sales.

Henry Harteveldt, president of Atmosphere Research, said that Chinese and Taiwanese carriers have taken similar precautionary steps based on government guidance, including removing pillows and blankets on some flights.

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“They’re changing their cabin service procedures, so the passengers will notice this,” Harteveldt told The Points Guy.

But Harteveldt also remained optimistic that passengers wouldn’t pitch a fit given the circumstances.

“Passengers will accept (the reduction in services) because they’re being done in the interest of health and wellness,” he said.

As the virus, now known as covid-19, continues to expand globally, it remains to be seen if other airlines – including those based in the U.S. who offer international travel – adopt the same practice.

The aviation industry is quite often a copycat business, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see some similar changes put into place.

“As adults, we have to be logical and rational when we experience these inconveniences,” Harteveldt told The Points Guy. “This isn’t cost-cutting, this isn’t random, this is in the best interest of public health.”

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