The United Airlines has once again come under fire for its alleged mistreatment of a passenger on an overbooked flight.
As per the airline’s rules, children over 2 are required to have their own seat. Therefore, when Shirley Yamauchi, a middle school teacher from Hawaii, purchased the tickets to a conference in Boston three months ago, she also paid around $1,000 for her 27-month-old son Taizo’s seat.
However, after a five-hour layover in Houston, Texas, the mother and son were on a Boston-bound flight when a man with the same seat number as Taizo walked up to them and told Yamauchi he was a standby passenger.
“I told him that I bought both of these tickets and he tells me that he got the ticket on standby,” she told Hawaii News Now. “Then he proceeds to sit in the center.”
Yamauchi also reportedly informed a flight attendant about the confusion, but she merely shrugged off the complaint and walked away.
“I had to move my son onto my lap,” she continued. “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.”
The mother was forced to hold the toddler for the entire duration of the three-hour flight.
The reason she decided to stay quiet and not make a scene, as many would most likely do in a similar situation, was because she remembered the case of Dr. David Dao — the 69-year-old Vietnamese-American doctor who was dragged violently from a United Airlines flight to make space for four crew members back in April.
“I started remembering all those incidents with United on the news,” she explained. “The violence. Teeth getting knocked out. I'm Asian. I'm scared and I felt uncomfortable. I didn't want those things to happen to me.”
Meanwhile, the United Airlines blamed the gate agents for inaccurately scanning the toddler’s boarding pass. Apparently, the data showed Taizo was not on the flight, which is why staff released his seat to another passenger.
“We deeply apologize to Ms. Yamauchi and her son for this experience,” the company said in a statement. “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.”
United Airlines has made headlines lately for all the worst reasons.
In March, a woman named Jennifer Rafieyan was traveling with her 12-year-old from Newark, New Jersey, to Phoenix, when a “visibly drunk” man allegedly sexually harassed and groped her. However, when she complained about his behavior to the United staff, they reportedly responded by serving the already inebriated man more alcohol.
In another instance, an actual, live scorpion reportedly dropped into a passenger's hair during a United flight from Houston to Calgary, Canada, and later stung him.