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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.
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.
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