Flight Attendant Raped in Hotel Room — and What You Can Do to Protect Yourself

A  flight attendant — who is 18 years of age and was not publicly identified — was reportedly raped in her hotel room at the Days Inn Detroit Metropolitan Airport in Romulus sometime between 4:00 and 6:00 in the morning on Monday, June 20, 2016 after she arrived at the hotel property with co-workers.

Flight Attendant Raped in Hotel Room

According to this article by Daniel Bethencourt of the Detroit Free Press, the “assailant arrived at around the same time as the victim. He drove a separate vehicle, loitered both inside and around the hotel — and at some point Monday morning, the assailant was able to get into the victim’s hotel room, commit rape and leave a short time later. No weapons were seen.”

The flight attendant is employed by Air Georgian, which is based in Mississauga, Ontario and is one of the family of small airlines which operates as Air Canada Express.

Julie Mailhot — who is the chief operating officer for Air Georgian — issued the following official statement to the media pertaining to the incident:

Air Georgian is aware of the incident involving one of our employees which occurred during a layover in Romulus, Michigan on Monday, June 20th. We have reached out to the employee to offer our support, and are cooperating fully with the investigating authorities. As this is an active police matter, and to protect the privacy of our employee, we will be making no further statements.

How the suspect was able to gain entry into the hotel room of the flight attendant is currently unknown at this time; and the police department of Romulus — which is a city located near Detroit Metropolitan Airport — is seeking assistance from the public for any details about the alleged perpetrator in addition to what is shown in the surveillance photograph at the top of this article.

What You Can Do to Protect Yourself

While not completely foolproof, the 12 essential hotel room safety tips from this article can help reduce your chances of becoming a victim of a crime — as well as how to protect yourself from theft. The following list is a summary from both of those articles, which contain more detailed information than what is listed below.

  1. Always be as alert and as aware of your surroundings as possible at all times, as this is the single most effective way of preventing yourself from becoming the target of a criminal or thief — and if you see anything or anyone that is suspicious, report it to staff; management; law enforcement personnel; or other appropriate authorities.
  2. Check out the surrounding area of the hotel property before booking your room to see whether or not it is considered safe.
  3. Ensure that the front desk is staffed 24 hours a day; and that access to guest floors is restricted by key card or some other means.
  4. Avoid a room located on the ground floor room if it is at all possible; and instead opt for a room as low as the third floor and as high as the sixth, making break-ins unlikely but your floor will be low enough so that fire department ladders can reach you should an emergency arise.
  5. Once in your room, keep the door locked at all times — including using additional locks such as deadbolts, security chains, and swinging metal security bars — and never leave your door propped open for even a split second.
  6. If someone knocks on the door of your room claiming to be a member of the hotel staff and you have not requested the service, call the front desk before opening the door to verify that it is in fact a hotel employee — and use the peep hole of the door of your room to help verify that there is indeed an employee of the hotel property at the door of your room.
  7. To protect your valuables — including important papers and passports — leave them in the hotel safe at the front desk and do not leave them in the safe located in your hotel room; and please read this article as well as this article to find out why; as well as watch the video accompanying this article.
  8. If you invite someone back to your room whom you do not know well or at all, ensure that your clothing and personal items are put away in unlikely spots in the room which are difficult to reach— or perhaps try to avoid bringing back people to your hotel room altogether unless you trust them or have no reason to be concerned about them.
  9. Leave a note with your destination and the time you are leaving with a colleague if you are a member of a flight crew who is traveling alone and leaving a hotel room on a layover.
  10. Always leave the television or radio on and put the Do Not Disturb sign on the door in order for the room to appear occupied — and in the rare event that you actually have a room which still has a Please Make Up Room Now sign, do not use it because that announces to the world that your room is not occupied.
  11. If you lose your room key, have the hotel disable the first one when making a replacement; or — better yet — do not lose your room key in the first place.
  12. Ensure that any sliding glass doors and windows are locked and fully secured — whether or not you are occupying your hotel room; and even if your room is located on a higher floor.
  13. Always locate the nearest emergency exit and staircase upon arrival at a hotel so that you immediately know where to exit in case of an emergency.

Summary

By following the advice outlined in the above list, you can lower your chances of being the target of an assailant or thief when you arrive at — and check into — the hotel at which you are staying as a guest.

Source: Romulus Police Department.

23 thoughts on “Flight Attendant Raped in Hotel Room — and What You Can Do to Protect Yourself”

  1. John says:

    “As the flight attendant who was allegedly raped was not experienced — as she was only 18 years of age — she most likely did not know what she needed to do in order to protect herself from being a victim of a crime…”

    This is a WILDLY insensitive statement to make.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I certainly had no intention of being insensitive, John; so I removed that statement from the article.

      Thank you for bringing it to my attention.

      1. John says:

        Sorry for the rude way I said that, Brian. I really like your articles, but to me it came across like victim blaming. Thanks for changing it, I think it reads much better now.

        Sorry for the outrage! I think I was just appalled it happened at all.

        1. Brian Cohen says:

          Please do not apologize, John. I am glad that you brought what you said to my attention; and I thank you for that.

          I am usually pretty good at knowing when there is a troll and when someone legitimately takes me to task; and I sensed that you were being genuine about how you felt. I read what I wrote again and decided that you were correct — and at least two other readers agreed with your assessment. If your initial reaction was that strong, then there must have been something wrong with what I wrote.

          Rape is an extremely sensitive issue for those who are victimized by it; and I never want to give the impression that I am either minimizing the severity and trauma of it — nor do I especially want to appear that I am blaming the victim.

          I would much rather be helping people; and if this article helps to prevent even one more rape from happening, then it has served its purpose.

          In the meantime, I am just as appalled at the situation as you; and I hope that that flight attendant gets the justice she deserves and that the trauma is minimized as quickly as possibly for her — but sadly, that will take time…

    2. Ramsey says:

      Insensitive? WTF, Brian you were correct, do not apologize. John you are an ass if that is all you have to add to this story. Hope this is not TOO WILDLY INSENSITIVE for you.

  2. Lynn says:

    John I agree!

  3. Tri N says:

    Agree. Adds nothing of value.

  4. scott says:

    When I started as a flight attendant, the required age was 21 not 18(but maybe times have changed in 29 years) You have a lot of useful info though, and even I have seen crewmembers do stupid stuff. and this goes without saying…never announce your room nmbrs to your crew out loud, also when working a flight some pax (not wanting to do harm), but ya never know, will ask in conversation, so what hotel do you stay at here. never give them that information. give them a different hotel or just say I cant let you know. There was a flight attendant of ours raped and killed on a layover. don’t ever give out info, room nmbr, go out alone, like you said without mentioning to at least one crewmember, and yes also leaving a note in your room, with your plans. thx for the post. The young ones are excited and all, but u have to pay attention. Also I would like to add, whether a crewmember or not, to always check your room, with people around, b4 even closing the door, its something my airline instills in us, and I am one of those that ask my crewmembers to check while I wait and vice versa(usually we are near each other in hotels) be safe folks

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I am sorry to learn of the fate of that flight attendant colleague of yours, scott — how horrible.

      Not announcing your room number out loud is one excellent piece of advice about which I have not thought — simply because I never had a reason to announce my room number to another person. In the rare instance where a fellow guest whom I knew wanted to know my room number, I would either whisper or flash that room number discreetly to that person.

      Checking your room is another good piece of advice, as there are countless stories of guests assigned to the wrong room.

      Thank you, scott. I appreciate the additional information.

    2. Ramsey says:

      Scott as a fellow former F/A, let me just say, your grammar is an embarrassment to our Profession.

  5. DaninMCI says:

    14. Not stay at a Days Inn in Detroit.

    Seriously she likely had not choice of hotels and this could happen in a 5 star property but on average I think you are much more at risk in a lower standard hotel.

    1. Ramsey says:

      Choice of hotels? Airlines have contracts for X number of hotel rooms at a specific hotel in each city. Long layovers usually downtown, short layovers by the airport. Airlines and the Union negotiate the quality/location for each city.

    2. Brian Cohen says:

      Reading what you wrote caused me to realize something, DaninMCI

      …I have been to most of the major cities in the United States — and many more not-so-major cities — but I have never been to Detroit.

      I have been to Michigan — Grand Rapids and Traverse City, to name a couple of places — and I have been to Detroit Metropolitan Airport numerous times; but I have never stepped outside of the airport.

      I am sure that the flight attendant did not have a choice of hotels at which to stay; and yes, this incident could happen at any hotel in any country — but I cannot argue with your conclusion.

  6. EJ says:

    Brian, oftentimes in budget or limited service hotels, there is minimal security. Additionally, it is pretty easy to just walk in and act like you’re a hotel guest and head up the elevator or stairs and have access to nearly the entire hotel.

    Just something to consider, as you mentioned staying at hotels that only have secured access to the guest rooms. Much more an exception than a rule in my experience, though I rarely stay at high-end properties.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      You have a point, EJ; but hotel properties such as Hampton Inns and Fairfield Inns usually offer a fairly balanced combination of budget or limited service, in my opinion, while ensuring that all exits — other than the lobby itself, admittedly — have keyed access to the inside of the hotel…

      …and then, there are those low-budget properties with access to the room from outside where security is indeed diminished — especially when they are located in seedy areas…

  7. Ramsey says:

    WHAT CRAP AIRLINE PUTS IT’S CREW up at DAYS INN???? Gotta be a commuter airline.

    Hi Brian, When I read this story it brought back memories of laying over in Detroit. I go back to 1976, and TWA had a security policy (with the Union’s blessing) that ALL DTW layovers would be out by the airport rather than long layovers (over 16 hours) going downtown. This was the only city in the system that had security concerns for crew members, that I can recall. I cannot recall the name of the hotel we always stayed at in DTW because it changed names a few times but it was not one of the chains. Most of the other airlines put crew up there as well………………….Pretty sure she was from NWA, but F/A was murdered at his DTW hotel by someone who was waiting in staircase. From that day on when a crew gets to its hotel door, we put our bags against the door to hold it open, while the girls went in to check room was empty and nobody was under the bed. Must of been asked a 1000 times, please don’t go in your room until I check mine out…………….I agree that the 18 year old girl did not have experience on her side. DTW is a badass place for a lone female to be.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Your input is appreciated by me as always, Ramsey.

      Thank you for that information — although I am sorry to learn of the flight attendant who was murdered…

  8. Adam says:

    Recently at 1:30AM at the Buffalo Amherst DoubleTree while I was working, I heard a knock on the door saying room service. I stayed at my desk far away from the door and said ‘ I think you got the wrong room!’ The guy at the door said ‘wrong room?’ and walked away. Contacted the front desk but they never got back to me.

  9. Captain Kirk says:

    I hope they catch the POS that did it.

    If he was able to loiter around the hotel for extended periods and wasn’t a guest, that hotel needs to review its security protocols immediately.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I completely agree with you, Captain Kirk.

  10. scott says:

    Brian..thx for your condolences. I always appreciate your posts. However I need to respond to Ramsey now. I offered extra advice for whomever is on a layover, or even regular travellers. I would like to know what was wrong with my grammar that makes me an embarrassment to our profession. I don’t think u can say our profession since ur a former attendant, probably for Xtra Airways for all of two years. I was trying to be helpful, but since u are now a substitute English teacher, I bow down to you. Once again plz tell me my grammatical errors, or maybe you don’t understand the lingo for airline talk. enjoy your miserable life

  11. scott says:

    btw Ramsey, you would never be a better flight attendant as me, or should I say I. get your red pen out …start marking idiot

  12. scott says:

    also what is up with your pic? Drag queen im assuming at a dive bar. Man up MR Man, instead of spewing rhetoric. Sorry folks, even as a gay guy myself his pic is horrendous. never like to spread hate, but guess I just did. Not proud of it , but sometimes u have to put peeps (that means people Ramsey) in their place.

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