United Airlines might be in hot water again for how they treat their passengers. The latest anecdote, out of Houston’s airport, involves flight attendants (and allegedly a US Marshal) removing a couple from a flight en route to Costa Rica — and their wedding. According to KHOU in Houston, the couple was connecting in Houston from Salt Lake City to Costa Rica, and upon boarding the plane near the end of the boarding process they discovered another passenger taking a nap across their assigned seats. Not wanting to disturb the passenger, they found other open seats on the half-full flight and sat in those. At that point Michael Hohl, the soon-to-be groom, said:
“We thought, ‘not a big deal,’ it’s not like we are trying to jump up into a first-class seat. We were simply in an economy row a few rows above our economy seat.”
Hohl said that as the flight attendants approached them, the couple explained the situation and asked to stay in their new seats, but were asked to move back to their original location. They did, yet shortly after a US Marshal boarded the plane and removed them from the flight based on the reasoning that the two “were being disorderly and a hazard to the rest of the flight, to the safety of the other customers.”
But this particular story might have two sides, and this time the couple may be in the wrong even though everyone automatically expects to make it United’s fault at this point. According to the airline, the couple had chosen seats in a different economy price range and rather than simply pay the difference in fare to stay in those particular seats they refused to move back to the normal economy area and refusing to follow instructions. At that point, attendants politely asked them to leave the flight and they complied with no further issues or interference from outside authorities.
Probably conscious of their current reputation, United gave the couple a free night at a nearby hotel and rebooked them on a next-day flight, managing the situation with more empathy than they’ve recently handled things. The couple, whether they were in the wrong or not, made out with respectful treatment by the airline and still managed to get to Costa Rica with plenty of time to spare before their big day.