In light of the disastrous UA3411 incident, it seems that people are a sensing an opportunity to take advantage of United Airlines. Or maybe United is still just tone deaf.
A married couple embarking on their honeymoon to Costa Rica was thrown off a United Airlines flight in Houston on Saturday. United 1737 from Houston (IAH) to Liberia, Costa Rica (LIR) was lightly filled, but the couple claimed upon boarding someone was occupying their seats.
Instead of waking the man, who allegedly was sleeping over three seats, the couple decided to move from row 24 to row 21. Row 24 is regular economy class while row 21 is an EconomyPlus exit row with a lot of additional legroom.
The groom stated, “We thought not a big deal, it’s not like we are trying to jump up into a first-class seat. We were simply in an economy row a few rows above our economy seat.”
A FA asked if the newlyweds if they were in their assigned seats and they said no. They were sent back to their assigned seats.
The couple claims they went back to their assigned seats without arguing and moments later an Air Marshall boarded the flight and removed them. The groom added, “They said that we were being disorderly and a hazard to the rest of the flight, to the safety of the other customers.”
United tells a different story. In a statement, the airline claims the couple repeatedly tried to self-upgrade to EconomyPlus–
We’re disappointed anytime a customer has an experience that doesn’t measure up to their expectations. These passengers repeatedly attempted to sit in upgraded seating which they did not purchase and they would not follow crew instructions to return to their assigned seats. We’ve been in touch with them and have rebooked them on flights tomorrow.
So Much Doesn’t Add Up
Many things do not add up here. First, who would be stretched out sleeping over three seats during boarding? Two, how stupid would United be to throw a couple off for moving to another economy class seat then moving back to their own seats?
But here’s the counterpunch — United threw me off for taking a picture of my seat and stopping immediately when a FA told me to…
Why — if the couple flouted FA instructions and was deemed a safety threat — were they rebooked on a flight the next morning? Indeed, United just rebooked them to a flight on Sunday (which they refused to take).
I’ll reserve judgement until other passengers come forward. I tend to side with United, but I should know better by now.