American Airlines flight attendant accused of ‘smuggling pet RAT onto plane in her underwear’
- Louann Giambattista, 55, was accused of smuggling pet rats onto an American Airlines flight last year
- No rats were found, but the flight attendant was blacklisted by customs for more than a year
- Giambattista is suing American Airlines for undisclosed damages for stress and anxiety
By Alex Greig DailyMail PUBLISHED: 08:15 EST, 7 July 2013 |
An American Airlines flight attendant is suing the airline after allegations were made by her colleagues that she had smuggled her pet rats inside her underwear and pantyhose onto an international flight.
Long Island flight attendant Louann Giambattista, 55, says the accusations have resulted in her being blacklisted by customs for more than a year.
The 33-year industry veteran is seeking damages for ‘debilitating anxiety’ and post-traumatic stress disorder from the airline.
Suing: Louann Giambattista was routinely scrutinized by customs officials after colleagues alleged she smuggled rats onto planes in her pants
Ratted out: Louann Giambattista’s colleagues told ICE officials they suspected she had smuggled rats onboard an American Airlines flight in her underwear and hosiery
In February 2012, a pilot reported that Giambattista had ‘a bulge in [her] pocket’ and saw ‘what he thought was a live pet,’ according to papers filed in Brooklyn federal court.
According to the court papers, colleagues on the Miami flight smelled a rat and dobbed Giambattista in to customs officials upon landing in Florida.
Rat race: As a result of the allegations of rat-smuggling, American Airlines put a flag on Giambattista’s passport but wouldn’t take her off international flights
She says she was questioned and had her luggage searched for more than an hour, but the agents didn’t find any rats.
Nevertheless, Giambattista claims the airline put a flag on her passport as a result of the accusations, meaning that every trip through customs became a lengthy ordeal and ICE agents bullied her and threatened her with a strip search, and that it became ‘nearly impossible for [her] to report to work.’
Rat-finks: Despite Giambattista’s colleague’s claims, no rats were ever found about her person
According to the New York Post, Giambattista is an admitted animal lover, but her lawyer says she knows there’s a time and a place for pets.
‘Everybody has pets – she has her pets at home, not at work,’ Stephen Morelli said. ‘She’s not a nut. They’re making her out to be a nut.’
‘She’s got a lot of different pets. She had the rat – it died.’
Giambattista told the Post that the claims she smuggled a rat on board a flight are ‘absurd’ and ‘patently false’.
‘There was no reason for it,’ she said. ‘People say, “There must have been a reason” but there was none.’
She says she was made an example of in front of colleagues and questioned in a communal break room where other colleagues could witness her interrogation.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2357813/Rats-plane-American-Airlines-flight-attendant-smuggled-pet-rat-plane-underwear.html#ixzz2YOaEnv6A
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