Michigan woman Tia Jackson, 22, was flying into Detroit on a 7 a.m. flight Jan. 21. She was sitting in the middle seat, between her friend in the window seat and a stranger in the aisle.
According to the Eastern Michigan University student, she was leaning on her friend and going in and out of sleep while the flight was descending, when the alleged incident occurred.
Jackson said while she was dozing off, she felt the man next to her touch her, but shrugged it off as an accident.
“I could feel him being real jittery. He kept moving. I thought he was cold. He took off his coat, sat it across his lap — and I’m thinking he was cold, so I’m not paying attention,” Jackson said to People.
However, soon after, Jackson said the man put his hand down her pants and touched her bare butt.
“When he noticed I moved away, he slid his hands in my pants and then he touched my thigh and then part of my butt,” Jackson alleged to People. In a screengrab of an alleged social media post by Jackson, she also claimed the man was “pleasuring” himself underneath his coat.
Jackson said she immediately told flight attendants and “made a scene” by yelling at him to stop touching her. However, she felt the flight tried to blame her for the situation by asking her to move seat, which she did not want to do because she did not want to leave her friend, Fox 2 reported.
"I said you have to get him away from me," she said to Fox 2. "They said, 'If it was such a problem or it was bothering you so much, why didn't you move?'"
The woman said she alerted Spirit Airlines crew and then told the pilot once the plane landed, who allegedly directed her to tell a gate agent. Jackson said she reported the incident to Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport and claimed the Spirit Airlines staff would not call on her behalf – a claim a spokesperson for Spirit Airline disputes, stating it was a staff member who contacted law enforcement originally.
In a statement to Fox News from Spirit, the airline said it is looking into the claim and said its staff reacted appropriately to the 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,” the statement read.
“Our flight attendants on board 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.”
Law enforcement agencies are currently investigating the incident.