Another day, another scandal with one of the big airlines – or so it seems. This time, United Airlines has found itself in hot water after a Hawaii woman revealed how she was forced to hold her toddler on her lap for three hours after the airline greedily sold his seat to a standby passenger.
Like any sane parent of a young child who was about to embark on a very long journey together, 42-year-old Shirley Yamauchi shelled out the cash to pay for a seat for her 27-month-old son, Taizo. She paid nearly $1,000 per ticket to afford herself the extra comfort.
That’s why Yamauchi was mortified when she was approached by a man on her flight out of Houston who was holding a ticket for Taizo’s seat.
“He’s 25 pounds,” she told KHNL. “He’s half my height. I was very uncomfortable. My left arm was smashed up against the wall. I lost feeling in my legs and my left arm.”
Yamauchi was about to ask a flight attendant to help her resolve the problem when she flashed back to Dr. David Dao, the innocent man who was infamously beaten until he was bloody and dragged out of a United flight due to a seating problem. So she grinned and bore it.
In a statement, United blamed the mishap on workers who “inaccurately scanned the boarding pass of Ms. Yamauchi’s son.”
“As a result, her son’s seat appeared to be not checked in, and staff released his seat to another customer and Ms. Yamauchi held her son for the flight,” the shifty statement continued. “We deeply apologize to Ms. Yamauchi and her son for this experience.”
The ordeal earned Yamauchi a refund for Taizo’s ticket, as well as a travel voucher, but she’s still skeptical about flying United in the future.
“I had bought both of these tickets way in advance,” she said. “We did the two hour check-in time before boarding. I had my receipts. I had my boarding pass. Yet this happened.”