A woman is suing American Airlines and a former employee after the latter took her phone number from her luggage tag and proceeded to barrage her with more than 100 text messages.
Ashley Barno was waiting to board a flight from San Diego to Chicago in April 2019 when she first received a message from an unfamiliar number.
The message, seen by the Washington Post, asked how she was doing, followed up by: “Btw I must tell you that you are gorgeous!”
Ms Barno was simply told to “guess” when she asked who the sender was and how they got her number. He eventually admitted to taking the number from her bag tag.
A later message complimented Ms Barno on her “grey top”, indicating that the person messaging could see her.
Once onboard the flight, Ms Barno continued to receive messages from the unknown sender, who revealed he was also on the plane.
He persistently asked her to come and sit next to him, telling her he’d watched her board the jet.
After Ms Barno asked him to leave her alone, he sent 10 messages in a row, including the following: “Friendship with me will be very beneficial for you!!
“I can always give you good seats, access to the lounges and free flights too!! You can think about it!”
During the flight, Ms Barno told a flight attendant about the situation, who ensured the pair were sitting in different sections of plane and regularly checked in with her.
“[It’s not] the first time he’s done something like this,” the flight attendant said, alleges Ms Barno.
After touching down, the man in question, who had identified himself only as “Ahmad”, appeared to be escorted off the plane by law enforcement.
Ms Barno’s harassment did not end there however; according to the lawsuit, filed last week, the man “did not stop contacting her for a long period of time, and also sent her sexually-suggestive images.”
The lawsuit claims American Airlines “knew of its employee’s propensity to inappropriately contact its customers yet continued to retain him as an employee,” and asserts that Ms Barno has had difficulty eating, sleeping and socialising since the incident.
“Just knowing that he knew what I looked like, and that we were in an enclosed plane and that there’s no way out, like really, really scared me,” she told NBC7.
An American Airlines spokesperson told The Independent that the man was not on duty for the airline at the time of the incident.
“American Airlines takes the privacy and safety of our customers seriously,” they added. “We investigated the allegations and took appropriate action. The employee involved in the complaint is no longer employed at American Airlines.”