A woman who booked a flight from Houston to Washington, D.C., accused United Airlines of giving her first-class seat to Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas — and later threatening to remove her after she complained and snapped a picture of the anti-Trump congresswoman, although the airline said it happened because the woman canceled her reservation on the airline’s app.
Jean-Marie Simon, who used 140,000 miles to buy first-class tickets to take her from Washington, D.C., to Guatemala and back home, described the experience as “so completely humiliating,” reports the Houston Chronicle.
When it was time to board the last leg of her flight home from George Bush International Airport on Dec. 18, the gate attendant told Simon that her paper ticket was not in United’s system and asked if she’d canceled her flight.
“No,” the 63-year-old attorney replied. “I just want to go home.”
Simon was told that her seat was taken, and United gave her a $500 voucher and reseated her in the Economy Plus section in row 11.
Later, Simon learned that Jackson Lee, who has been a vocal proponent of impeaching President Trump, was in the seat she’d purchased and has alleged that the congresswoman received preferential treatment, which United denies.
“We were concerned by this issue and took immediate steps to fully understand what happened. After thoroughly examining our electronic records, we found that upon receiving a notification that Flight 788 was delayed due to weather, the customer appears to have canceled her flight from Houston to Washington, D.C. within the United mobile app,” United said in a statement to Fox News. “As part of the normal pre-boarding process, gate agents began clearing standby and upgrade customers, including the first customer on the waitlist for an upgrade.”
Simon denied that she canceled her ticket. She did not comment further when contacted by Fox News.
Jackson Lee issued a statement on Saturday afternoon to the Chroncile, saying “I asked for nothing exceptional or out of the ordinary and received nothing exceptional or out of the ordinary.” The congresswoman’s office did not respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
Simon shared a screenshot of the United website that showed only one “inactive” reservation, which was a flight to Houston in August that she canceled because of Hurricane Harvey.