United Airlines vs. Dr. David Dao is STILL sparking controversy!
This time, a Hawaiian mother put up with an awful — and unsafe — seating arrangement because she didn’t want to end up like the famously beaten passenger.
Shirley Yamauchi says she was forced to hold her son on her lap for a three-hour flight last week after United sold his seat to a standby passenger.
The 42-year-old purchased two tickets for almost $1,000 each so she and her 27-month-old son Taizo could fly together from Hawaii to Boston.
But while sitting on the plane after a five-hour layover in Houston, Yamauchi said a standby passenger came into their row and showed his ticket — which had the same seat number as her son’s.
When the mother, who was flying to Boston for a teacher conference, told the flight attended about the issue, the United employee was no help at all. Yamauchi told HuffPost:
“She shrugged, said the flight was full. The whole transaction was very quick.”
No other flight attendants acknowledged the seating arrangement for the rest of the flight, even though it violated United’s own traveling with children policy. The airline requires passengers above the age of 2 to fly in their own seats.
As for why she didn’t press the flight staff to rectify the issue, Yamauchi said she was afraid of making a scene at the risk of ending up like Dr. David Dao, who was memorably left bloodied and beaten after refusing to leave his seat on a United flight earlier this year.
She explained to local press:
“I started remembering all those incidents with United on the news. 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.”
Yamauchi tried to file a formal complaint with the company after the flight, but only heard back after news outlets reported on her struggle.
United ultimately issued a formal apology and sent the mother a travel voucher for her son’s seat. Airline officials say employees had “inaccurately scanned” Taizo’s boarding pass, which effectively freed up his seat for another customer.
The airline said in a statement:
“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.”
Will United ever get its shit together?
[Image via Twitter.]