Why Did United Remove a Bride and Groom From a Flight to Their Wedding?

Apr 17, 2017

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

United sure didn’t need any more bad press, but another potential scandal emerged over the weekend: Reports say that a bride and groom were removed from a United flight this past Saturday afternoon. No one disputes that the couple was asked to leave the plane, but the airline and the pair disagree on the series of events that led to action — and who removed the couple.

The bride and groom told KHOU-TV in Houston that they had boarded United Flight 1737 from Houston (IAH) to Liberia, Costa Rica (LIR) on Saturday when they found a man lying asleep across the entire set of A, B and C seats of row 24 of the aircraft. Instead of waking him, the couple sat a few rows ahead in row 21, which was an Economy Plus row. When a flight attendant approached the pair and asked if they were in the correct seats, the couple says they explained they were not and asked if they could get an upgrade, but were told to return to their assigned seats. The couple claims they did as requested, but were then approached by a US Marshal and told to disembark without explanation.

Representatives from United, however, tell a different story. According to the airline, “These passengers repeatedly attempted to sit in upgraded seating which they did not purchase and they would not follow crew instructions to return to their assigned seats.” A United spokesman also told the Daily Mail that no US Marshal or police were involved in the incident and that the couple was rebooked on flights for Sunday.

IMG-ua-1737-seat-map
The seat map for United Flight 1737 — row 21 is both Economy Plus and an emergency exit row.

The couple’s story seems a bit odd in claiming that United asked them to leave for no reason other than sitting in the wrong seat (which according to the seat map for United 1737 is not only an Economy Plus row but an emergency exit row). But we won’t rush to judgment until we have more details. Undoubtedly, there are other passengers from the flight who will come forward to corroborate what actually happened and we’ll get a clearer picture of events. In the meantime, United can only hope that this week will be quieter on the news front than last week.

Featured image courtesy of Yuri Arcurs/Getty Images.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.