A woman on a United flight from Orange County, Calif. to Chicago claims the man seated next to her masturbated for “hours” and the airline didn’t report it to law enforcement.
Mikaela Dixon, 21, was traveling with her boyfriend on August 11 when she noticed the man inappropriately touching himself.
“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,” she tweeted about the incident that gave her the “worst panic attack of [her] life.”
Dixon went on to say she couldn’t alert the attendant without the man finding out, so she had to wait until he left his seat. “I sat there shaking until he got up to go to the bathroom as we landed,” she wrote.
After being alerted of the incident, a United flight attendant moved Dixon to another row and reportedly told her the airline had contacted local law enforcement.
When the man “bolted” to get off the plane, Dixon claims he was detained and escorted into the airport. When she inquired about what would happen to him, Dixon said the airline refused to tell her and instead gave her $75 of “hush money.”
Dixon later learned the passenger had been released and when she called the Chicago Police Department, they told her they hadn’t been alerted to the incident.
Officer Michael Carroll told BuzzFeed News that they received a 911 call from a citizen, not the airline, and that the man in question had already left when an officer arrived at the scene.
“They were desperately trying to keep it internal,” Dixon told BuzzFeed. “Basically United lied about everything, let the man go after a few questions, and refused to involve law enforcement until I called the cops myself and forced them to file a report w [sic] the FBI,” she tweeted.
A spokesperson for United told Fox News they are “investigating the matter to learn more about what happened.”
“The safety and well-being of our customers is our top priority. Our customer was immediately moved to a different seat when the flight attendants were made aware of the issue and the aircraft was met by our security personnel.
“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 airline spokesperson said.
This isn’t the first time a passenger has claimed they’ve witnessed inappropriate behavior on a flight. In May, a woman said the man sitting next to her on a Southwest flight from Las Vegas to Philadelphia masturbated during the duration of the trip and she had to tweet the airline to alert them of the situation.
After reporting the incident, the woman said the airline offered a dinner voucher. A spokesperson for Southwest said at the time they were still investigating the matter, though the woman said they never contacted her directly.