The INSIDER Summary:
- A mom was forced to hold her two-year-old son during a 3.5-hour flight after his purchased seat was given away to a standby passenger.
- Shirley Yamauchi said she paid 1,000 for the seat.
- United has since refunded her son’s ticket.
United Airlines forced a mom to give up her two-year-old son’s airplane seat and hold him for a 3.5-hour flight, until her legs and arm went numb.
The flight, from Houston to Boston, was overbooked, and so an employee gave her son’s seat to a standby passenger without letting her know.
Yamauchi told KITV that when she notified the flight the attendant about the problem, the flight attendant just shrugged and said the flight was full.
— KITV4 (@KITV4) July 5, 2017
“I had to move my son onto my lap. He’s 25 pounds. He’s half my height. I was very uncomfortable. My hand, my left arm was smashed up against the wall. I lost feeling in my legs and left arm,” she said to Hawaii News Now.
Yet Yamauchi was afraid to protest and make a scene, remembering the recent coverage of violence on board United flights.
“I started remembering all those incidents with United on the news. The violence. Teeth being knocked out,” she said.
A series of negative stories involving United have come to light recently. In April, footage of a United passenger getting forcibly dragged off the plane went viral. In the months following, passengers were bitten by scorpions, couples claimed to have been kicked off flights to their honeymoon, planes were filmed leaking fuel, passengers were threatened with canceled flights for trying to film interactions with gate agents, and elderly men were shoved to the ground.
Five full days after the flight, United issued an apology. The airline said, “We deeply apologize to Ms. Yamauchi and her son for this experience. We are refunding her son’s ticket and providing a travel voucher. We are also working with our gate staff to prevent this from happening again.”
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