Published on : Friday, July 7, 2017
A woman traveller from Hawaii complained that United Airlines offered a standby customer about $1,000 seat that she had bought for her young son, compelling her to hold him on to her lap throughout the three-hour flight.
The woman named Shirley Yamauchi mentioned that she had observed something unusual when she had boarded the United flight in Houston last week. She was travelling with Taizo, her 27-month-old son while she was heading towards Boston from Hawaii.
She said that since the tickets were scanned without any incident, she did not sense that something might have been amiss.
But then, she said that once she and her son were seated on the plane, a passenger came along with a ticket for Taizo’s seat. She added that he was a standby passenger. And, when she let the flight attendant know the issue, she simply shrugged and told her that the flight was full.
This incident comes after the one in April 2017 when people on board a flight of United Airlines recorded their fellow passenger, David Dao being removed from his seat forcibly and dragged down the aisle after he refused to offer his seat to make space for the crew members of United.
Yamauchi said that she did not protest any further since she did not ‘want to cause a scene’.
She then confessed that recalling the other incidents of United, she feared for her son’s personal safety and therefore was scared to protest against it. Holding her 25-pound Taizo in her lap during the three hour flight caused her to lose feeling in her left arm and legs temporarily.
In its guidelines, Federal Aviation Administration mentions that the safest place to hold one’s child is inside a government-approved child safety restraint system and definitely not on the lap, especially since it is not possible to hold one’s child during turbulence.
However, the manual of United states that children who are aged below 2 are permitted to travel on an adult’s lap.
In a statement later, United mentioned that the boarding pass of Yamauchi’s son had been inappropriately scanned and this was the reason why the child’s seat was offered to another customer by mistake. But then, it added that they had refunded her the cost of the ticket besides offering her compensation. The statement finally offered an apology to the woman for her experience and promised that they would work with their employees to ensure that similar incidents are avoided in future.