Here’s an evergreen statement: United Airlines, ya done goofed.
United is back with its latest facepalm-inducing incident, which involves taking a seat away from a child.
On Wednesday, NBC News reported that Shirley Yamauchi, a Hawaii-based teacher, claimed she was forced to travel with her 25 pound toddler son on her lap for the duration of their three-and-a-half hour flight after United gave away his seat to a standby passenger.
In preparation for their trip from Hawaii to Boston, Yamauchi reportedly purchased a seat for herself and one for her 27-month-old son at around $1,000 each. However, after boarding the plane at their layover in Houston, Yamauchi claims she was approached by a United flight attendant checking to see if Yamauchi’s son was in his seat, which he was.
Yamauchi told NBC News that a man who had been a standby passenger then approached her to inform her that her son was in his seat, and when she brought the matter to a flight attendant she simply shrugged and said the flight was full.
“He’s tall child for a toddler. He comes up to my belly button. It was a three and a half hours flight.”
For the remainder of the flight, Yamauchi claimed she struggled to put her seatbelt over both her and her son and ended up standing and crouching in the aisle when she could no longer bear her son’s weight on top of her lap.
“He’s tall child for a toddler. He comes up to my belly button. It was a three and a half hours flight,” she told NBC News.
However, despite the inconvenience, it was reported that not one United staff member addressed the situation on the plane.
Though Yamauchi claimed she did not alert another flight attendant of the issue after taking off, due to her knowledge of past United controversies, she reportedly told several members of the United staff upon landing.
“I was told four different things from four agents,” she told NBC News. “It was unsafe, uncomfortable, and unfair. I couldn’t believe it was happening to me.”
According to the Travel Information guidelines on United’s very own website, “Once infants turn two years old, they are required to have a purchased ticket and occupy a seat.”
This means Yamauchi’s 27-month old son should definitely have been occupying his own seat during the flight.
Though United has yet to reply to Mashable’s request for comment, Jonathan Guerin, a spokesperson for the airline, provided NBC News with the following statement:
“On a recent flight from Houston to Boston, we 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. We deeply apologize to Ms. Yamauchi and her son for this experience.”
Yamauchi claimed there were several discrepancies with United’s explanation, but the airline reportedly contacted her on Tuesday saying she would be sent a travel voucher for the trouble and the cost of her son’s ticket would be refunded.
The airline has already had one hell of a year after banning leggings, reporting a high number of in-flight animal deaths, and violently removing a passenger from an overbooked flight, so this is just the latest in a string of horror stories. Most recently, another United controversy stemmed from a June lawsuit that revealed two-year-old footage of an employee pushing a 71-year-old passenger to the floor in an airport.
Enough is enough, United.
Mashable reached out to United for additional comment.