- 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
08:15 EST, 7 July 2013
15:06 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.
Another colleague reported that on a flight to Miami that same day, she saw Giambattista feeding a pet rat. Giambattista claims that the bread roll in a paper cup was not for feeding a rat but rather herself, and that the cup was to avoid looking unprofessional in front of passengers.
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.
Share or comment on this article
The comments below have not been moderated.
If she didn’t bring a rat or rats then the pilot and whoever else made the false allegations need to pay up. Their “prank” cost her to lose income. No rat found so either she was pranked or those witnesses need their eyes checked or have a mental evaluation. If they are seeing things that are not there, their eyesight may be faulty or they have mental issues.
Abuse of power, hostile work environment abuse of power come to mind…
booger county, u.s.a.,
“had her luggage searched for more than an hour, but the agents didn’t find any rats’. Hello, it’s not in the luggage its in her underwear. lol Too funny. :):)
Underwear???? Well, long international flight……perhaps the lady was looking for some action. :):)
55 years old? time to retire lol… Poor rat, he had to smell butt the whole flight…
Wizard of Oz
Tampa, United States,
1967 — young pretty stewardesses tend to your every need. 2013 — fifty-five year old with a rat in her pants.
– Jason , New York, 07/7/2013 21:38- Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha
NYC, United States,
sarasota, United States,
Does DM not know what a rat looks like!? two gerbils and a hamster pictured, those still learning their animals..
Woking, United Kingdom,
I’ve never seen such a short line at the American Airlines counter.
If they didn’t find anything on her then they owe her a huge apology!
The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.