A mother is speaking out after United Airlines forced her son to sit on her lap on a flight into Boston, despite paying nearly $1,000 for it.
Shirley Yamauchi and her 2-year-old son had boarded their plane from Houston to Boston last week when she was told he would need to spend the three-hour flight on her lap.
Yamauchi was forced to hold her son during an over 3-hour flight traveling to Boston from Houston, even though she paid nearly $1,000 for the United Airlines ticket. The airline forced her to give up the seat to a standby passenger who shared the same seat number and purchased his seat for $75.
She complained to flight attendants, but Yamauchi said she was ignored and United did not apologize until five days later, claiming agents inaccurately scanned her toddler Taizo’s boarding pass.
“I had to move my son onto my lap. He’s 25 pounds. He’s half my height. I was very uncomfortable. My hand, my left arm was smashed up against the wall. I lost feeling in my legs and left arm,” she said. “I started remembering all those incidents with United on the news. The violence. Teeth getting knocked out. I’m Asian. I’m scared and I felt uncomfortable. I didn’t want those things to happen to me.”
“It was very shocking. I was confused. I told him, I bought both of these seats. The flight attendant came by, shrugs and says ‘flights full,’” she said.
Speaking to KITV Island News, she said: “I’m scared. I’m worried. I’m traveling with an infant. I didn’t want to get hurt. I didn’t want either of us to get hurt. I had him in all these contorted sleeping positions. In the end, very sadly, he was standing up between my knees.”
“What happened to my son was unsafe, uncomfortable and unfair,” Yamauchi stated.
Yamauchi complained to a flight attendant that she bought the seat three months ago, but the latter only shrugged and said the flight was full, then walked away.
United Airlines issued an apology five days later. Yamauchi said the airline gave her free upgrades and perks on her return trip back to Hawaii from Boston, but she felt the gestures were not genuine.
“We deeply apologize to Ms. Yamauchi and her son for this experience. We are refunding her son’s ticket and providing a travel voucher. We are also working with our gate staff to prevent this from happening again,” the airline stated.
United Airlines has been in hot water several times in recent months.
In April, the airline came under fire after a doctor was violently dragged off a flight to make room for airline employees.
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