An off-duty Delta Air flight attendant allegedly sexually assaulted a female passenger sitting next to her during a November 17, 2022, flight from Las Vegas to Minneapolis after being overserved canned wine by crew members who knew the suspect.
The allegations have come to light in a new lawsuit which was filed in a Minnesota District Court just before Thanksgiving, which accuses Delta of breaking Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rules by allowing its employees to continue serving a passenger who was already intoxicated.
Alison Petri claims the off-duty flight attendant kissed her on the mouth without her consent after downing three cans of wine gifted to her by the working crew members, but when she complained to the flight attendants, one of them provided the suspect , identified as Abigail Trebnick-Emerson, with another can of wine.
After drinking five cans of wine, the Trebnick-Emerson then allegedly repeatedly kissed the victim on the cheek and began vaping, which created “plumes of smoke”, according to the civil complaint.
Alison immediately reported the incident to gate agents, but prosecutors dismissed a charge of criminal sexual conduct and accepted a plea deal in which the suspect admitted to disorderly conduct.
The victim says she had to seek psychological counselling as a result of the assault and is now pursuing the civil claim against Delta and the flight attendant.
The lawsuit alleges that one of the working crew members initially gifted Trebnick-Emerson two cans of wine, and later in the flight, the same flight attendant came back with two more cans of wine.
Alison says she was assaulted after the suspect had downed the third can of wine.
Following the assault, she went to the back of the aircraft and told one of the flight attendants what had happened and expressed her concerns about how drunk Trebnick-Emerson was, but rather than heeding her concerns, the crew member came back with a bottle of water and a fifth can of wine.
The suspect promptly drank the fifth can of wine and started vaping before ‘rubbing’ the victim’s buttocks as they were disembarking.
The lawsuit alleges that the working flight attendants, who include an in-flight training manager, became aware of their off-duty colleague’s “extreme intoxication” during the flight but “failed to take any reasonable measure to protect other passengers from the obviously intoxicated Trebnick-Emerson”.
After Alison got off the plane, she immediately alerted Delta gate agents and requested law enforcement so she could report an alleged sexual assault. At this point, two of the working flight attendants got in contact with the suspect, with one of them telling her that she had been “pretty bombed” (very drunk) during the flight.
Trebnick-Emerson, however, appeared to have no memory of kissing the victim, reacting with surprise in text conversations with her colleagues. She was discovered by first responders in the airport after she fell down an escalator twice and had to be sent to the hospital on ‘medical hold’ because she was so intoxicated.
Attorneys acting on behalf of Alison claim her assault is just another example of inflight incidents that have occurred after Delta flight attendants overserved passengers, resulting in victims being sexually assaulted.
Alison is suing Delta for its flight attendants serving alcohol to Trebnick-Emerson despite the fact that they knew or ought to know that she was obviously intoxicated. The lawsuit also alleges negligence, and in the case of Trebnick-Emerson, assault and battery.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.