HOUSTON: A bride and groom headed for their wedding were booted from a United Airlines flight here after they relocated to empty seats three rows up without permission, the latest public relations a headache for the major American company.
Michael Hohl and Amber Maxwell boarded Flight 1737 on Saturday, from Houston to their wedding in Costa Rica, along with friends to find a napping man sprawled across their assigned seats, 24B and 24C, they were quoted as saying by the local TV KHOU.com.
They relocated to empty seats three rows up, 21B and 21C, with Hohl saying they were "simply in an economy row a few rows above our economy seat" on the apparently half-full flight.
Hohl said after complying with the flight attendant's demand to return to their assigned seats, a US Marshall came onto the plane and asked them to get off. They left the aircraft without incident, the report said.
United, however, offered a different account in a statement KHOU obtained.
"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," the airline said. "We've been in touch with them and have rebooked them."
"They said that we were being disorderly and a hazard to the rest of the flight, to the safety of the other customers," Hohl said.
They were rebooked for another flight the next morning, but Hohl said they won't be flying United again and described the whole situation as "quite strange."
"I think customer service and the airlines has gone real downhill," said Hohl. "The way United Airlines handled this was really absurd."
United Airlines recently made headlines and remains under scrutiny following its treatment to the Vietnamese-American passenger, David Dao, who was physically dragged off an "overbooked" flight when he refused to give up his seat for United crew members on a flight from Chicago to Louisville.