United Airlines made headlines this past week after a woman accused the airline of forfeiting her first-class seat to congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, without authorization. United claims the passenger cancelled her reservation, which the passenger denies, and was placed in an economy seat instead, according to the Houston Chronicle per New York Daily News
The situation escalated after the outraged passenger, who has been identified as Jean-Marie Simon, took a photo of Jackson Lee in her seat as proof of what happened. As a result, staff threatened to remove her from the flight. The airline soon was forced to back-peddle on their actions after the story went viral.
According to a report by New York Daily News, United Airlines looked more into the matter. United apologized for how it panned out and has since issued a $500 travel voucher to the passenger, Jean-Marie Simon.
As for Jackson Lee, she has since defended herself and said she did not ask for anything “out of the ordinary” to overtake Simon’s seat and blames the fallout of the matter on racism.
As per Daily Mail, Jackson Lee made the following statement:
“Since this was not any fault of mine, the way the individual continued to act appeared to be, upon reflection, because I was an African American woman, seemingly an easy target along with the African American flight attendant who was very, very nice.”
Simon (the passenger), however, gave a different account and it seems unrelated to racism. She just simply felt wronged. She told the Houston Chronicle:
“It’s just impossible to suspend disbelief and swallow that story that I canceled my flight.”
Simon also gave her account of the incident on her Facebook page, as can be seen below:
Luckily, this has all been reviewed and in the end, the airline did the right thing and admitted fault. You can’t help to wonder, though, if Sheila Jackson Lee somehow connived her way into that seat. Afterall, there were several tweets that have come out and suggest this isn’t the first time Jackson Lee has been involved in something like this, per The Daily Mail.
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