United just can’t seem to catch a break. Today, news broke that an engaged couple, en route to their wedding in Costa Rica, were removed from a United Airlines flight. However, there is more to the story, and is nowhere the firestorm of outrage that was the previous United issue. Read on for more.
Engaged Couple & Passenger Viewpoint
The couple said a federal marshal escorted them off the flight, as they tried to pay for upgraded seating and were denied. They found another passenger sleeping across their seats when they boarded. They moved a few rows up but were denied their request to pay for economy plus, and instructed to return to their original seats.
According to the article, the male passenger responded as below:
“We thought not a big deal, it’s not like we are trying to jump up into a first-class seat,” Michael Hohl told KHOU. “We were simply in an economy row a few rows above our economy seat.”
I do not understand why they did not 1) inform any flight attendant of the issue (sleeping passenger on their seats) or 2) try to wake him up to take their seats. Nor do I understand why they thought moving a few rows up into nicer seats (economy plus versus economy) without the permission of flight attendants was allowed. They did try to pay for the upgrade, according to the couple, but were denied. Why would United not take advantage and upcharge them?
United issued a statement, denying the use or involvement of a marshal or other authorities. Most likely, United is desperately trying not to recreate the fiasco from earlier in the week.
According to United, the couple “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”. Additionally, the statement said that United offered the couple a discounted hotel rate, as well as rebooking them on a flight the next morning. That’s generous and a quick remedy, but little comfort to a couple on their way to their own wedding. Of course, you should always take corporate statements with a grain (or several) of salt. More as the story develops.
In conclusion, and I could be wrong, but this suspiciously smells like a plot. Perhaps these customers are trying to capitalize on United’s previous misfortune, by making a scene for fame or compensation. Overall, it seem quite fishy on both sides, United, and the engaged couple. Was the engaged couple trying to move within economy, or to economy plus without paying? If it’s the former, what’s the issue? If it’s the latter, and they wanted to pay, why didn’t United charge them? The article also says that the couple was the last to board the flight. If they spotted open seats earlier, why didn’t United accommodate (or re-accommodate) them without issue?
I am definitely curious about this resolution, and will follow the story.
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